Many readers may think Ford Prefect is the character Ix from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse who disguised himself as an out of work actor after getting stuck on planet Earth for 15 years while visiting the Earth to update the Guide in either the radio comedy, tv series, book, radio adaption of the books or film ‘The Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy.
In fact a Ford Prefect, note not “PERFECT” as many have incorrectly read and or heard the second word, is a motor car which Ix mistook for a superior form of life when visiting earth in the Sci Fi comedy.
The Ford Prefect was in production from 1938 to 1959 in four distinct evolutions.
With the front wings incorporated into the overall 3 box design of the body we can say for sure this is a series 3 or 4 car.
The absence of a rakish small chrome strip from the front of the existing chrome waste strip down to the wheel arch further suggests this is an earlier 100E Series 3 car which was in production from 1953 to 1959.
The tax disc in the front window of this car suggested that it had stopped being used as a daily driver in 1979 which seems strangely at odds with what looks like a vehicle that is more than capable of passing an MOT (a safety inspection required in the UK before a vehicle can be taxed) when I saw it at the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum where many of the cars are regular runners.
Powered by a 1172 cc / 71.5 cui 4 cylinder side valve engine mated to a 3 speed manual gearbox the Series 3 Prefect was tested as being capable of accelerating from rest to 60 mph in 32.2 seconds and having a top speed of 71 mph.
The four door version of the otherwise visually similar Ford Popular and Anglia models was also built under license in Latvia where it was sold as the Ford-Vairogs Junior.
There was an estate / station wagon of the Ford Prefect known as the Squire while the estate / station wagon version of the similar Ford Anglia was know as the Ford Escort. For reasons long forgotten in the mists of time the French and Greek translations, among others, of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy incorrectly give the name chosen by Ix while staying on earth as Ford Escort, though Ix probably chose that name for the same reasons as he chose Ford Prefect in the English version, and most other translations of the book, namely to an alien it probably looks like cars are the most intelligent species on the planet.
Thanks for joining me on this Hitchhikers Guide edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be trading in Science Fiction for a big Voyager. Don’t forget to come back now !