146bhp 1966 Anglia 105E

146bhp 1966 Anglia 105E

Built for the B-road, David Gilbert’s Anglia packs an old-school pushrod punch with some special suspension upgrades.

Words Simon Woolley

Photos Adrian Brannan


Built for the B-road with trick touches.

Even if classic Fords are your sole automotive passion and have been since you started driving, you can’t deny that we share a huge amount in common with car modifiers at large — regardless of the age or even marque involved.

1966 Anglia 105E

David Gilbert is the first to admit that his love of modified old Fords is a fairly recent one, but he’s no less passionate about them. In fact, he’s used his extensive knowledge and experience of mucking around with things on both two and four wheels — both new and old — to put into all his projects, including his latest; this superb Anglia 105E packing some new-school tricks but with a distinctive old-school flavour.


“Thanks to my dad, who I joined in the motor trade, I’ve been into bikes then cars since year dot,” admits David. “He used to race Capri-based Super Rods back in the day, then got into drag racing, then sprints and hillclimbs and I would follow him around, helping out. I used to ride trials bikes at a pro level as a teenager, and that was my thing, but then I had a break for a while due to a back injury and kind of fell out of love with it, and got into cars instead. My first was anE30-shape BMW 3-Series modified with loads of Alpina bits, then I got into hot hatches and eventually modern exotic stuff but great though they are, you can’t tinker with them, and when they go wrong it gets expensive. I needed to go back to the old stuff.”

146bhp 1966 Anglia 105E

In search of space

“I’d always wanted to do an Anglia after seeing Dave Bunn’s spaceframed example some years ago — that car is perfect,” reckons David. “I actually bought another project prior to this one to do up. It had a rock-solid shell and I’d planned to drop in an ST170 engine and Escort suspension, but with two very young kids I just couldn’t devote the time to it, so I sold it on.”

146bhp 1966 Anglia 105E - engine

Keen to still keep the 105E flame alive, David kept his eye out for cars for sale and spotted this one. “I didn’t have the time to go and look at it, so I asked my Dad if he could, and he ended up buying it for himself!”

The car was already extensively modified — “It’s basically a road-legal Spedeworth hot rod” — and complete and running, and David’s dad immediately pressed it into service, even doing a couple of sprints and hillclimbs. But on the last event it came home with a top end rattle so the Crossflow engine was pulled out for investigation, and there the car sat for a while. “In the meantime, I’d bought a Pro Street 100E from David Mott and I loved it, but he decided he wanted it back, so I ended up selling it back to him and buying the Anglia off my dad – still in bits!” David knew exactly what he wanted from the Anglia — more of the same, only turned up a notch. “The car had been built very well, but quite a while ago and was starting to look tired,” David reveals.

Pushrod performance

Although David had turned to more modern 16-valve power on the previous Anglia project, this one was staying pushrod powered, and so the dismantled engine was taken to Crossflow guru, Phil Price at Connaught who went to town on it with a brief to build a tractable but potent road engine. The 711M block was bored to take +90 thou’ pistons, with the decked bottom end lightened and balanced including the clutch assembly, while Phil also installed a classic 234 cam. The head’s now heavily ported and fitted with bigger valves, the twin 40s mounted on a port-matched inlet. The custom 4-into-1 mild steel exhaust manifold and system had come with the car and was deemed more than up to the job, so was reused in the build, though David had it ceramic-coated prior to refitting. The end result is a very usable 145 bhp, and according to David, “It revs like a chainsaw”.

While the engine was away, David cracked on with the rest of the car, which became a welcome respite from a stressful house build. “The car was stripped down to a rolling shell and taken over to my mate, Mike who runs a bodyshop for a respray. Mike bare-metalled the shell and luckily didn’t find any horrors — the car had previously been restored and built very well.”

With the bodyshell in a naked state, David could assess all the fabrication work done to the car, and it was extensive. The bulkhead and inner wings have been refabricated, both to move the engine back for better weight distribution, and to house the Escort-based front suspension retaining the correct geometry. There’s also a decent amount of bracing and strengthening, in part to replace some of the strength lost by the fitment of full GRP outer panels. The rear has been extensively reworked too, with Group 4-style turrets added and link boxes, along with lateral bracing for a Panhard rod.

Mike prepped the metalwork ready for paint and tidied up some of the panel gaps before laying on coats of a custom mix of white. “It’s a cross between Diamond White and Ermine White,” reckons David, “and was as close a shade to the original colour as we could get. I’ve actually parked up next to an Ermine White car and it’s not that different — it just pops a little bit more.”

New gear

Meanwhile David busied himself cleaning up, painting and powdercoating the parts prior to refitting — and sourcing all-news fasteners and fixings. The choice of parts used in the build is top-notch and includes proper Group 4-spec Bilstein coil-overs and compression struts up front, with Avo coil-overs at the rear with Rose joints throughout. “It’s superdirect to drive,” confirms David. The five-linked axle currently runs a 3.7:1 ratio open diff but David’s planning on installing an LSD and Atlas-spec shafts in the future. Take a peek through the roll cage bars into the interior and you’ll find it all stripped out, though a pair of VTR seats (mounted on custom frames) help put some of the comfort back in. “It had originally been built with a big sound system, but we left all of that out and I redid the door panels in alloy but covered in vinyl. And if you’re wondering why the steering wheel is burgundy, I’d planned to have the roof painted to match but changed my mind at the last minute. I’ll recover it at some point along with flocking a few other areas.”

“I’m a serial modifier at heart so even though the car’s effectively finished, there’ll always be something I want to do to it,” he continues. “I’ve built a few K-Series engines in the past and I love them — they’re very light and make good power — so at some point I may well go down this route with the Anglia but for now I just want to get out and have some fun with it. It’s so good to drive — much like an Escort, obviously, but a lot like my dad’s MGB race car, too.”

So, is there some competition use on the horizon? “I don’t live too far from Lydden Hill circuit,” he admits, “so while it’s tempting, and I may well do some track days there, I think I’ll pass. It was originally built as a B-road blaster, and that’s the way I think it should stay.”

Tech Spec 1960s ANGLIA 105E for the B-road

  • Body 1966 Anglia 105E, extensively modified and strengthened, bulkhead and inner wings all made to suit Escort geometry, front turret strengthening and front end bracing to allow use of full glass fibre front end, glass fibre bonnet and bootlid, large transmission tunnel and diff tunnel along with turrets and link boxes, shell stitch welded and fitted with full multi-point roll cage incorporating extensive door bars, exhaust recessed into the underside to aid ground clearance.
  • Paint: custom white
  • Engine Connaught Competition Engines 1700 Crossflow, +0.090 thou’ overbore, Hepolite pistons, 10.5:1 CR with decked block, lightened and balanced, crank, conrods, pistons, flywheel and clutch assembly, polished con-rods, Kent Cams 234 camshaft, duplex timing chain and adjustable vernier pulley, alloy bottom crank pulley, big-valve head fully ported and matched to ported inlet manifold and exhaust manifold, double valve springs, big-wing baffled sump, twin 40 DCOEs, electronic ignition, bespoke 4-into-1 manifold and single box exhaust system, all ceramic coated, Colin Reay alloy radiator and breather catch tank.
  • Power: 145 bhp
  • Transmission Type-9 five-speed, uprated clutch, English axle with 3.7:1 diff
  • Suspension Front: Escort Group 4 big-piston Bilstein coil-overs, compression struts, adjustable bottom arms, alloy top mounts, steering rack. Rear: Avo coil-overs, five-linked with Panhard rod. Rose joints throughout
  • Brakes Front: spaced M16 callipers, vented discs. Rear: Anglia 1200 drums Dual remote master cylinders with line lock and bias adjustment, Sierra pedal box
  • Wheels and tyres 6x14 inch Peugeot 106 Rallye Series 2 Michelin steels (painted Ford Silver Fox) with 175/50R14 tyres
  • Interior Retrimmed, deep dish steering wheel, extra gauges mounted and fuse box mounted centre console, Citroen VTR seats with bespoke mounts, four-point harnesses, alloy door panels trimmed in black vinyl, alloy fuel tank and wheel jack built into boot, battery, spare wheel and washer bottle where rear seats would be to aid weight distribution
  • Thanks Phil Price at Connaught Competition Engines for the engine build, Mike Sellar at MAS Car & Commercial for the paint job, Colin Reay at Creative Aluminium Fabrications for the alloy fabrication, Ian Collins at Colour Finishing for the chrome plating, my Dad, Stuart for all his help and advice (even if I don’t pay any attention)(, and my better half, Jodie for her understanding of my obsession with anything petrol powered!

No room for the kids: rear seat area dominated by the 106 Rallye steel.




Lotus 5.5x13 steels are still a hugely-popular old-school mod for Anglias, and there’s no denying they look great. For this build though, the choice of wheel was a little different yet still keeping to the old-school steel ethos. And while 15 inch Peugeot steels are now a familiar sight on classic Fords, these are in fact 14 inch versions, specifically from the 106 Rallye. “They’re actually the wider 6 inch ones found on the Series 2 cars,” confirms David, “and they’re very light – they actually weight less than a typical 13 inch alloy!” With 106 Rallyes now seriously collectible and survivors undergoing restoration back to standard, these wheels are much in demand. “I’ve had a couple of people come up to me asking about them, but they’re not for sale,” says David. “I may switch to a set of split-rims or 15 inch Minilites at a later date, but these are definitely staying with the car.”

Built by Connaught, the 1700 Crossflow is a peach — packing a very usable 145 bhp. Note reworked inner wings for Escort geometry. Interior is stripped and caged, though VTR seats retain some comfort. Burgundy wheel meant to match roof… David reckons the Anglia is great to drive, with the Escort set-up making a big difference.

Doors originally housed big speakers, though David (below)

wisely removed them and made his own door cards. Glass fibre front outer bodywork is superbly finished. Drilled panel is a neat touch.

Article type:
Lee Hunter 1 month ago #

Love the wheels, may go down that route myself, hard to find now though.

Drives TODAY use cookie