Beavering Away

Hard to believe now, but the 1968 Escort required an explanation. 

Image: silodrome

The 105E Anglia was not by any standards a bad car. In fact, it was rather a good one, especially by the reckoning of the time. It did however arrive at an inconvenient time. By this I mean a point when the tailfin was beginning its inexorable retreat into the history books, albeit one which would happen at considerably slower speed on this side of the Atlantic. Because not only did Europe arrive comparatively late to the tailfin party, it imbibed more sparingly and made its effects last longer; in same cases, well into the 1970s.

The Anglia’s appearance was also a somewhat inconvenient one for rivals, BMC, who were themselves releasing an inexpensive small car into the marketplace the same year, leading potential customers to draw comparisons which probably on balance benefited the blue oval.

However, by the close of the 1960s, Colin Neale’s styling, with its reflections of ’57 Thunderbird and Breezeaway Lincoln of the following year, appeared far more dated than the timescales might have suggested, illustrating just how quickly car design was evolving during this feverish period.

The 1968 Escort was the blue oval’s answer, an all-new (if technically similar) model; one developed as a pan-European offering, which the Anglia, with its nameplate rooted in olde Albion at least appeared not to be. Nevertheless, the name change was likely to have been rooted in Ford’s determination to broaden the model’s appeal beyond the narrow confines of the British Isles.

One of the striking aspects about the the print ad above, apart from the rather stark image of a basic-specification Escort is its laconic tone; Ford’s marketers crafting a deft piece of copywriting which outlines not only why the Anglia was being discontinued, but the rationale behind the name change. The lightness of touch is quite notable, as is the intimate, conversational style. Uncle Henry isn’t talking down to the customer, (à la Issigonis perhaps?), he is speaking directly to them.

The Ford Motor Company used to be quite adept at that.

o0O0o

The Escort received the DTW profile treatment in 2018.

The Anglia was documented alongside its Canley counterpart in 2019.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

7 thoughts on “Beavering Away”

  1. Good morning Eóin. The text of the advertisement is interesting, and very unusual. I cannot recall any other instance where a car manufacturer has felt the need to explain or apologise for the replacement of an existing model with a new one. I don’t think for one moment that Ford really believed that this was necessary, so the ‘apology’ is entirely a contrivance, used to promote the benefits of the Escort over the Anglia.

    There is, however, in the text of the advertisement a hint of the most compelling reason for he change:

    “And, as we went along, we simplified one or two working parts.”

    The Escort was undoubtedly a simpler (and cheaper) car to build than the Anglia, ergo more profitable for Ford. That’s not to say that there weren’t benefits for the customer too, like the longer service intervals, but the 1962 Cortina had taught Ford how to build simple and efficient vehicles, so the only surprise for me that it took another six years to apply the formula to the smaller model.

  2. The style of the advert is reminiscent of the style VW adopted a few years later isn’t it?

    1. Yes – that thought occurred to me, too. Ford’s film advertising of the time was similarly light-hearted.

  3. With the 1950s Ford 100E the Escort was the downmarket estate version of the Anglia.

    1. Not a lot of people know that, Bernard – nor that the de-luxe version of the 100E estate was a Squire. But did you know that it’s possible to fit a double-bass inside a 105E Anglia? The body goes up into the o/s rear corner with the neck between the front seats into the passenger footwell – there’s still room for driver, front seat passenger and another in the n/s rear. We travelled hundreds of miles like that….

  4. If ever there was a question that nobody asked, surely it would have been “why did they kill the (8 year old) Anglia?” in 1967? Not a bad premise for an ad though!

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