We noticed that the Milwaukee “World of Wheels” (www.worldofwheels.com) is coming up again on Feb. 20-22. We have a thing for oddball British cars, which may be why we noticed the Dollar-A-Day car at last year’s show.
Actually, the black 1959 Anglia at the World of Wheels was one of three English Ford models that were advertised as costing a dollar a day to buy in that era. The others were the Prefect and the Escort.
“Your trade-in may fully cover the down payment that starts you on the $1-a-day plan,” Ford advertised. “Imagine a factory-fresh sedan for $1,561.. . . with terms as low as one dollar per day.” How would you like to be able to buy a new car for that price today? Especially a car that gets 35 mpg.
The Anglia was 150 inches long, but it could seat four adults and it offered 50 percent more trunk space than its two nearest competitors. A curved windshield and rear window offered 20 percent better vision than direct competitors, too.
Now Ford wasn’t the only American carmaker pushing imported models in 1959. Other companies did the same thing after a recession in 1956-1957 got car buyers more interested in smaller cars with tiny engines and better fuel economy. As most car enthusiasts know, Volkswagen was the car that really took off in this era thanks to some clever advertising that actually poked fun at small cars.
We don’t have an Anglia, Prefect or Escorts. We don’t have any of the other English Fords, either. These included the Consul, the Zephyr, the Zodiac and the Thames van. What we do own is a 1957 MG Magnette ZB sedan that we’d love to get back on the road again.
Right now the lovable “Zed-B” is in pieces. If it had a frame it would be called a “frame off,” but it is actually a unit body car. It uses the same 1500 cc four-cylinder engine as a Nash Metro, except that it carries dual SU carburetors. The neat thing about the Magnette is its very handsome wooden dashboard and its genuine leather seats.