Key to my Heart

The in's and out's of keys for the (early) Anglia, Prefect, Popular and Thames

By Dean Kirsten

To operate most any early English Ford, you need only one key. That key works in the driver's side (locking) door handle, as well as the ignition, rear door on a Thames panel, and the rear trunk (or boot) on the Anglia or Prefect (but not on a Popular, as it used a "church" key). Starting in 1932, Ford began to use what is called an "MRN" series key, which has codes ranging from 01 to 50. These codes were used through 1949, but as automotive production increased, they needed more codes to go around. So, beginning in 1949, Ford moved over to a "FA" code, which features codes from 501-625. These codes were widely used from 1949 until August 1959. In November 1955, another key code appeared, this time a "FP" code, which saw numbers ranging from 626-750. So for the most part, the early Anglia used either the MRN or FA keys, and depending on when your car was actually built will determine which key code series was likely to be used. Ford Populars generally used either the FA or FP keys depending on their age.

Key codes can be found either on the face of the igition switch, stem of the door handle, or on the lock tumbler itself. Just keep in mind that tumblers, door handles or even ignition switches, could have been changed to another era key code at any time. Having a duplicate key made today is possible, as long as you can find the correct key blank to start with. Keys using the MRN code need a #62DM blank, while the FA series uses a #62DG blank, and FP keys want the #62DP blank, which are all still available, if you know where to look. Original keys were made by Union, Wilmot Breeden, Nobby, Elmo, Edmonds, and today, we see Taylor and Ilco.

Within the early Anglia, Prefect and Thames, there are about four different lock tumblers used; driver's door, ignition, trunk, and rear door on the Thames. Each tumbler is different in length and overall design, but they do share the same keys. I've shown you how to R&R the tumblers from a door handle and trunk T-handle within this story. Taking apart an Anglia locking door handle car be a rear bear! I had to modify a snap-ring pliers to accomplish this feat, since the snap ring/groove is so narrow (.080-inch). You will also need a small, thin punch to knock-out the brass retainer pin which holds the tumbler in place. Just keep in mind, if you plan to re-chrome your handles, you should take them apart first, then once back redone, clean and lube the tumbler well, and reassemble. Enjoy driving your EnFo!

Repair shops all over England (used to) have rings of keys like this to open just about any old car they want!

The required key code is stamped right on the front of the ignition switch, for "everyone" to see!

Key code is stamped on the side of most tumblers. This one uses a FA 519 key.

Ford key tumblers from left to right; trunk T-handle, door handle, ignition.

Two new key blanks for the MRN and FA codes.

My modified snap-ring pliers.

To remove the tumbler, you need to hold the handle firmly in place (with a padded vise), and remove the thin snap-ring clip.

Once your have raised the clip away from the tumbler groove, use a small screw driver to raise the clip out.

With clip removed, the escutcheon, spring and brass shim will lift out of place.

Take a small thin punch and knock-out the brass retainer pin located on the side of the tumbler drum.

The tumbler assembly will (normally) fall right out of the handle. Otherwise, try tapping the handle on a piece of wood.

 If you remove the brass retainer pin on the T-handle, the tumbler and this locking slider will come out.