Ford Prefect saloons.
The E93A, 1938-1949The first Prefect had the model code of E93A, confusingly a title that was also given to the 10hp sidevalve engine that appeared in many sidevalve Fords (103E, E83W for example). The new car featured styling that would be very familiar to owners of the 7W, at least from the screen backwards, but differed greatly up front. Gone was the centrally hinged bonnet and 3 slot grille of the 7W, and in was a rear-hinged 'alligator' type bonnet, mating up to a curvy wraparound grille, as can be seen in the photo of the maroon E93A Prefect shown alongside.
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As mentioned, the E93A Prefect appeared a year or so before the outbreak of WW2. These early cars are identifiable from post-war Prefects thanks to their 17" diameter wheels, and front wings that did not have a beaded edge (for strength, something that was introduced post-WW2). Pre-war and early post-war cars had painted grille slats. Production of the E93A continued after the war much as before, although they now came fitted with 16" rims, revised interior fittings including a bakelite dashboard, and, from 1947 onwards, chromium plating applied to the grille slats. Although tourers were available, few were sold, and the vast majority of Prefects, in the UK at least, were standard 4 door saloons. Production of the E93A Ford Prefect lasted until 1949, by which time a newly-revised version was ready to roll along Dagenham's production lines. |
Australia had its own locally-built version, known as the E03A, from 1939 to 1945, followed by the A53A in 1946.
The E493A, 1948-1953The new Prefect was again an evolution of the outgoing car. Once more it was propelled by the familiar 10hp sidevalve engine, displacing 1172cc as before, although now the front end had been updated, to freshen up the design once again. Headlamps were now blended in to the front wings, and a new vertically-slatted chrome grille was fitted, bringing the styling into line with that seen on the larger V8 Pilot. Only a 4 door version was marketed in the UK. Australia again has its own version, code A493A, where a ute (or pickup) was also available.
Other changes over the E93A were in detail only, beneath the skin things were as-before by and large - sidevalve engine, 3 speed gearbox, vacuum wipers, 16" rims. The Prefect still felt very much like a pre-war car, this at a time when rivals BMC were up and running with up-to-date designs like the Minor, which had a 4 speed 'box, OHV engine, electric wipers, and altogether more modern feel. Production of the upright E493A soldiered on until 1953, by which time its replacement was ready to take over.
The 100E Prefect, 1953-1959Finally, Ford had a brand new design to sell alongside the larger Consuls, Zephyrs and Zodiacs in their dealerships. The 100E was a 3-box design, available in a variety of models, trim levels and bodystyles. The 100E Prefect debuted a couple of months after the first 100E Anglia rolled down the line. Under the bonnet was a sidevalve engine (again), of 1172cc (again). Despite initial impressions, the engine was in fact quite different to that seen in earlier Prefects, although the fact that again it was a sidevalve rather than overhead valve was a little surprising.
This incarnation of the Prefect was, as before, a 4 door saloon, aimed a notch or two above more basic Anglias and Populars. Trim levels were also improved, and more chrome parts were fitted up front, including headlamp surrounds and vertically-slatted grille. Early examples made do with pull-up windows in the rear doors, but these were soon ditched in 1954, wind-up mechanisms being installed from then on.
Late in 1955 the 100E Prefect range was split in two , thanks to the addition of a Prefect De-Luxe which came with improved trim levels, and a new dashboard to differentiate it from the 'original' Prefect, which was down-spec'd at the same time to separate the two variants more within the sales brochure for 1956. In 1957 a further batch of revisions were made across the 100E range, side trims changed yet again, and a usefully larger rear window now featured in the otherwise-unchanged bodyshell. Production of the 100E Prefect continued until 1959, by which time the 105E Anglia was ready to go to market. The 105E was a 2 door car only, which led to a stop-gap 4 door model being required..
The 107E Prefect, 1959-1961With the 100E out of production, and the new 2 door OHV 105E selling well, it was obvious to Ford that they would be missing out on sales of small 4 door saloons, something that the 100E range had covered previously. Their solution was to re-work the 100E bodyshell, and incorporate the new OHV Kent engine into the old car's 4 door shell. Visually things were much as before, although shortly into 107E production the car gained a front 'dog leg' trim fitted to the front wing, as can be seen fitted to the car in the photograph. The 107E Prefect continued until 1961 by which time the new 4 door Consul Classic was ready for sale, and took over the reins.
I've owned a number of old Fords, most of which were powered by the E93A sidevalve engine. The E493A Prefect I had drove nicely, although had a vintage feel to it (not altogether a bad thing now!) and somehow I never really got on with these engines. I briefly owned a 107E and that was a cracking little car. It went well, handled and drove very nicely, and could easily have been a 'daily use' classic had I not had other projects and cars to look after. Compare to the 100E it was significantly more fun to drive (in my opinion) and is definitely the 'cream' of the Prefect saloon crop, if regular use is a consideration. For rarity, I'd plump for a pre-war E93A or one of the Australian pickup/ute versions.
Running a Prefect today shouldn't cause too many headaches, so long as you do some research and find out who the spare parts specialists are, which clubs support the ownership of these cars, and research their known weakspots prior to purchasing an example to preserve.
This website will be updated with more Prefect information in future.