A Little History
The Ford Popular 100E was one of our first retro rebuild projects. Bought at auction the classic car shell arrived dirty and unloved.
Our design brief was to build a car suitable for a 17 year old new driver, with modern safety features, economical to use, cheap/simple to maintain and reliable. We also wanted to include all the things a young person would want as far as latest in car entertainment, sat/nav, Bluetooth phone and great ‘retro-looks’.
The body shell was a good basis to start with, although neglected for many years the car had stood the test of time well and the heavy gage steel panels were all in good shape with little or no rot anywhere. Our first job was to decide what running gear we should utilise, the old side valve engine, three speed crash gearbox, vacuum operated wipers, drum brakes and narrow wheels were from a different age and not suited to today’s motoring rigors let alone one to be driven by an inexperienced 17 year old!!
We decided on using the drive train/running gear, sub frame, front up rights with disc brakes, rear axle and suspension from a MK2 escort 1300 and the steering column with air bag steering wheel, pedal box, switch gear, wiring loom, radiator, header tank , rad fan and heater with controls from a Mark 6 escort. The Mk2 escort anti-roll bars were fitted and the MK6 escort servo and brake fluid reservoir were also utilised. All were either refurbished or reconditioned with new parts, with the engine and gearbox receiving some serious work.
- New mild road cam for smooth running, mild power curve for mid range economy.
- Cylinder head set up for unleaded fuel, with bigger valves and polished ports to aid efficiency rather than performance, topped off with new alloy rocker cover.
- Crankshaft reground with new shells and balanced. Block re-bored with new flat top pistons and rings.
- New inlet manifold with weber manual choke carburettor and K&N air filter.
- Electronic ignition.
- Balanced four branch exhaust manifold.
- Fully reconditioned four speed gearbox with new clutch, starter motor and balance fly wheel.
All other running gear and drive train benefited from all new bushes, bearings and seals, with all original parts being shot blasted and painted first. The rear axle received new springs with modified mounts to suit the slightly wider track and position of the shock absorbers and spring hangers.
The bodywork was modified to accommodate both the front suspension mounts, the escort sub-frame and engine mounts, as well as altering the gearbox tunnel to suit the escort four speed box. We also flared the rear wheel arches to allow fitment of the wide alloy wheels and slightly wider track.
The interior was complimented with re-trimmed recaro seats with the seat belt pretensioners from the MK6 escort to fit the wiring loom so that the air bag would work. The steering column switch gear was integrated and a new after market electric wiper motor mechanism fitted. The rear seats were also an old pair of recaro’s, but with the frames welded together to form one rear ‘bucketed’ seat and trimmed again in black perforated leather with pink trim. A new headlining was installed; new door and rear quarter cards with rear parcel shelf were made and trimmed in leather and Alcan Tara with pink piping. There were also new carpets all through with pink foot mats sewn into the front floor mats. A centre console was fabricated and incorporated into the old dash board which was all trimmed in alcanterra. At the same time we incorporated the MK6 escort heater and switch gear, the digital clock, a garmin sat/nav system with Bluetooth hands free phone and ipod compatibility, with a cd radio player. In addition to all the entertainment ‘gizmo’s’ we utilised a ‘digidash’ unit which gave all the functions required. Not only can the oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, voltage, rpm, speed, mileage be seen digitally, but also several warning lights, handbrake, low brake fluid, indicators, hazards, main beam and headlights are visible. It is also possible to use the dash for digital timing and data logging purposes, with gear change indicator and digital gearbox display showing which gear is currently engaged.
Apart from the air bag steering wheel, other safety features included the MK6 collapsible steering column, inertia reel seat belts, front head rests, side impact bars in the doors, soft padded dash, engine immobiliser, rear fog light, reversing light and halogen headlights were added.
Finally, the paintwork was a two tone affair, with the top half in black pearlescent with red metal flake and the bottom half in white pearlescent with pink metal flake giving a very ‘glittery’ finish. Door mirrors were added along with a full set of wide alloy wheels a chrome ‘SORTED DELUXE’ badge on the boot, twin chrome exhaust tail pipes and chromed bumpers finished the overall ‘retro’ look.