The Harry Potter movie series is one of the more remarkable pop culture phenomena of recent years. A series of 8 movies based on the enormously popular fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling, they are much loved by millions of fans worldwide. For this week’s blog, I decided to focus on the second film of the series: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was released in November 2002. Directed by Chris Columbus and starring Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (as Ron Weasley), the film is about Harry Potter’s adventures during his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a smash hit with movie-going audiences, grossing more than $800,000,000 worldwide.
Although I never became a Harry Potter fan myself, I was surprised and delighted to learn that a car played a notable role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I was even more delighted to learn that it was a car endowed with magical properties. In the course of the film Harry Potter spent a significant amount of time travelling in an enchanted vintage car: a Ford Anglia 105E.
First introduced at the 1959 London Motor Show, the Anglia 105E was small economy car built by Ford of England. It was Ford of England’s direct response to the energy crisis brought on the by the closure of the Suez Canal in 1956. A thoroughly conventional economy sedan, the Anglia 105E rode on a 90.5-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 997 cc (61 cubic-inch) inline-four engine, which was good for 41 horsepower. Outwardly, it was clothed with a striking-looking body displaying American styling influences, including a downward-sloped nose, a reverse-angled rear window, and tail fins. Performance-wise, the Anglia 105E was claimed to be capable of a top speed of 75-77 miles per hour and gas mileage of up to 43 miles per gallon. The Anglia 105E was well-received by the British motoring public and went on to have a long and successful production run, with more than 1.1 million examples being built between 1959 and 1968.
The car portrayed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a light-blue and white Ford Anglia 105E. Enchanted by Ron Weasley’s father Arthur, the car was blessed with magical properties one can only dream of, including the ability to fly, to become invisible, and to run without ever running out of fuel. The Weasleys’ Anglia figured prominently in three key scenes of the movie. Early in the film, the car was used to rescue Harry Potter from the home of his Uncle Vernon Dursley. A short time later, Harry and Ron Weasley used it to travel to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where they crashed it into the Whomping Willow. In the latter stages of the movie, the Anglia rescued Harry and Ron from Aragog and his family in the Forbidden Forest.
At least 15 Ford Anglia 105E’s were used in the production of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 14 cars were destroyed in the shooting of the scene in which Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow. One car, a 1966 model, is known to have survived production of the movie and is now on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England.
The Completely New Anglia, The World’s Most Exciting Light Car: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1947-1959, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.
Covello, Mike, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-2002; Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 2002, p. 321-324.
The World’s Most Exciting Light Car: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1960-1966, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.
The World’s most exciting light car, The Completely New Anglia: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1947-1959, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.
Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.