Diminishing Returns

The Cortina’s less talented big sister.

1963 Ford Corsair. Image: storm.oldcarmanualproject

The arrival of the Cortina in September 1962 was a seminal event for Ford of Britain. Here was a light and efficient family car that was designed to be simple and inexpensive, both to build and to run. It offered everything the average motorist and their family needed, and nothing they didn’t. The Cortina exemplified the value engineering approach to design and manufacture that would come to define Ford for the next thirty years.

The Cortina also made the rest of Ford’s UK range suddenly look outdated. This was a particular problem for the Consul Classic and Capri models, which had been launched just a year earlier. Their introduction had been delayed by a couple of years because the Anglia small car was such a runaway success that Ford’s Dagenham plant lacked the capacity to build them. Moreover, the cars’ American-influenced styling had been fixed in 1958, before the revolution that swept away baroque detailing and excessive brightwork in favour of much cleaner and simpler shapes. They were also complex and expensive to build and sold very poorly from the start.

A replacement was urgently needed for the Consul Classic saloon(1), and the Cortina would provide the perfect basis for this. The new car would use an extended version of the Cortina’s floorpan, with an extra 3” (76mm) inserted into the wheelbase. While much of the Cortina’s internal structure was retained, a completely new body was designed, which was 8½” (216mm) longer, 1” (25mm) wider, and the same amount lower than the Cortina.

Image: Veikl

The styling was strongly reminiscent of the 1961 US Ford Thunderbird, with its sheer, unadorned flanks, strong shoulder line and pointed nose. One particularly neat styling detail was the way the high-set exterior door handles were incorporated into the chrome trim that defined the shoulder line. It certainly looked quite different to its progenitor, but perhaps a little over-bodied because of its still relatively short wheelbase and, in particular, narrow front and rear tracks.

The new model, which would be named Corsair, shared most of its mechanical underpinnings with the Cortina, including its launch engine, a 1,498cc OHV inline-four, which was carried over from the Classic. This was available in two states of tune, a 59bhp (44kW) version for the standard and deluxe models and a 78bhp (58kW) version for the GT. The mechanical layout was resolutely conventional, with MacPherson strut front suspension and semi-elliptical leaf springs and dampers at the rear supporting a live axle.

The Corsair would be assembled at Ford’s new Halewood plant on Merseyside(2) which was opened in October 1963 to deliver additional production capacity for the company. The new plant cost £38.5 million and would ultimately employ 11,500 workers.

The Corsair was launched at the Earls Court London Motor Show in October 1963. A press launch event was organised for Killarney in the far south-west of Ireland. Ford planned to ship twenty-one new Corsairs to Ireland for the event, only to fall foul of Irish customs rules. At that time, Ireland charged swingeing import taxes on imports of fully assembled cars, in order to protect its nascent car assembly factories, so customs officers threatened to seize the cars pending payment of the duty.

1967 Ford Corsair 2000E Dashboard. Image: theclassictimes.com

Harry Calton, Ford’s PR executive organising the event, had to engage in tortuous negotiations to import the cars free of duty. Ford even had to incorporate a separate import company for the venture and provide a written undertaking that customs would be notified of any work carried out on the cars while in Ireland. For example, should a windscreen(3) need to be replaced, Ford had to promise to declare this and surrender the damaged screen to customs for destruction!

Small Car(4) magazine’s George Bishop was one of the journalists invited. His first impressions were not positive. Bishop found the Corsair to have “a poor driving position with a high-set wheel and a seat which would not move back enough [and was] too low and narrow for comfort”. He observed that “thick windscreen pillars obscured the driver’s vision, the steering was a thought (sic) vague, the suspension somewhat firm on rough roads”.

Countering this, the floor mounted(5) gear-shift was “a joy to use” and the GT model’s power-assisted brakes needed “much less prod” than the unassisted brakes on the standard version. The GT version’s “extra power made [the car] easier to balance and overcome the initial understeer”. Bishop’s comments seemed to indicate that the Corsair was underdeveloped, which is hardly surprising given the accelerated timetable that brought it to market.

Rarity: Ford Corsair two-door. Image via Flickr

Autocar magazine subjected the Corsair to a full road test in early 1964 and was more impressed. The test car was a mid-range two-door(6) deluxe model, priced at £677 including purchase tax. The introductory comments praised the “modern high-efficiency engine” with “inherent mechanical quietness [and] smooth running” attributed to its five-bearing crankshaft and the “structural stiffness and efficient sound insulation of the body” which “combine to bring the Corsair into line with the best in Europe in these respects”. This resulted in “relaxed and untiring motoring that taxes neither the muscles nor the nerves”.

The engine was smooth and flexible, pulling cleanly from 20mph (32km/h) in top gear. The gear change was “beyond criticism for the efficiency of its synchromesh and the easy, short and precise lever movements”. 0 to 60mph (97km/h) was measured at “only 17.8 seconds [which was] not hanging about” and the Corsair would cruise comfortably at 70mph (113km/h) at which speed the engine was “so unobtrusive [that] opening a window slightly or turning up the radio virtually drowns it”.

Road noise was also subdued, and this was attributed to the body engineers “double-skinning the rear floor and propeller shaft tunnel”. There was, however, a noticeable vibration between 70 and 80mph (113 to 129km/h) attributed to out of balance wheels. Average fuel consumption over the course of the test was 28.6mpg (9.88L/100km).

The handling was described as “inherently safe [and] nicely balanced and stable [with a desirable] small degree of understeer”. The steering was a little heavier than the norm with strong self-centring and four turns from lock to lock. The turning circle was “no better than average” at 35’9” (10.9m). The interior was roomy, and the seats were comfortable, except for tall drivers, where the concave runners made the backrest too upright at the seat’s rearmost position. The steering wheel was closer than ideal to the driver’s chest.

In summary, the Corsair was described as “an excellent, up-to-date car, and well above the international average for its class in terms of mechanical refinement and quiet running in general”.

The differences between the two reviews are stark. Was Bishop being overly harsh, or Autocar too forgiving of the Corsair? There is another possibility: Bishop’s test car was a pre-production example, and Ford might have made many small improvements(7) to the production model that Autocar tested a few months later.

Lost in Space: the V4 in the Corsair’s engine bay. Image: cars-from-uk.com

Despite generally positive reviews, sales started quietly as the Corsair was overshadowed by its smaller stablemate, which was highly successful and became truly ubiquitous in the UK. The Cortina was heavily promoted and progressively upgraded, then replaced by a rebodied Mk2 model in 1966. The Corsair, meanwhile, was revised in September 1965 and given the new Essex V4 engine in 1,663cc and (a year later) in 1,996cc capacities.

The new engine was scant improvement. Although it developed decent low-down torque, 117 lb ft (159Nm) at 2,750rpm in the case of the larger version, it was rough-running and reluctant to rev much above 4,000rpm, where it became excessively harsh and noisy. Its key advantage was its compact size, but that was irrelevant in a car originally designed to accommodate an inline-four in its engine bay(8). So unrefined was the engine that it earned the car the unfortunate but apt nickname Coarser.

Ford Corsair Estate. Image: storm.oldcarmanualproject

British coachbuilding firm E D Abbott offered an estate car conversion from March 1966. This was attractive looking but was handicapped by the retention of the saloon’s high boot sill. Another coachbuilder, Crayford, offered a convertible version of the two-door saloon. Ford introduced a 2000E range-topping version in 1967, which was distinguished by a vinyl roof, wooden dashboard and deletion of the waistline chrome strip that had previously incorporated the door handles.

Ford Corsair V4. Image: Veikl

The Corsair limped on until 1970 when it was made redundant by the arrival of the enlarged Cortina Mk3, which had its wheelbase extended to match that of the Corsair at 101” (2,565mm). A total of 331,095 Corsairs were sold over its seven-year lifespan. Indifference and neglect resulted in the survival of only a few hundred, but these are now cherished by their owners, who appreciate their distinctive pint-sized Thunderbird styling, so redolent of early 1960’s America.

 

(1) The Consul Capri would also cease production in 1963 and would not be replaced until 1969 when a new Cortina-based coupé reprising the name was launched.

(2) The engines for the Corsair were shipped over 200 miles (323km) from Ford’s Dagenham plant on special trains running on the public rail network.

(3) Incidentally, this particular item was identical to that on the Mk1 Cortina, so sourcing one would not be a problem.

(4) The publication that became Car Magazine in July 1965.

(5) The Corsair also came with the option of a column gearshift and bench front seat.

(6) This was unusual as the two-door was only available to special order in the UK.

(7) Autocar mentioned that the seat runners had been extended, which addressed one of Bishop’s criticisms.

(8) A popular conversion was to install an Essex V6 in place of the V4.

Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

59 thoughts on “Diminishing Returns”

  1. Three things. One, the Ford habit of naming engines after places is very charming. An Essex, Kent or Cologne engine gives the car some anchorage to geography, culture and history. I´m not too keen on fat watches but for the first time a pricey watch caught my attention merely by identifying it with the region of Saxony. An engine named Essex is a more human thing than a YB-series unit. Which reminds me that just the other night I heard a familiar engine sound; it was dark and I saw a car roll by without identifying it; sure enough when it passed again it turned out to be a circa 00s 307 Peugeot estate. Third thing: the side profile of the Corsair has subtle convergence lines which, if exptrapollated, would meet somwhere behind the car – here´s an example of a simple form given one clear accent. It is effective and satisfying. And the second thing is that this item has provoked a flashback to my year lodging in Billericay in 2000. Nearby the lodgings of Ms Miggins (as I called her) there was a Corsair rusting behind a hedge on the road near the railway station. The car´s distinctive lamps indentified it. I haven´t thought about that for a long time.
    Call me slow (it´s only 0800 o´clock here): the Corsair was a model sitting between the Cortina and Zephyr. It was replaced by the Consul which was also the same body as the Granada. I think a diagram is called for. I notice this practice of different names for similar bodies is not prevalent any more.

    1. Good morning Richard. I think that the Corsair was effectively made obsolete by the growth in size of the Cortina, in particular the 3″ (75mm) stretch in wheelbase of the Mk3 model to match that of the Corsair.

      The Consul and and Granada directly replaced the Mk4 Zephyr and Zodiac respectively, which also shared the same body and were simply low and high-trim versions of the same car. As you say, that practice has died out and I’m struggling to think of a current vehicle that uses two different model names to distinguish levels of trim on the same body.

      Yes, naming engines after places certainly gives them more character than some obscure alphanumeric code.

    2. The engine naming reminds somehow of how Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad chose names for his furniture, as it was easier for him to remember than codes because of his dyslexia. Ford probably had different reasons to do so.

  2. To me, it will always be the car that Lord Lucan borrowed to make his escape. Odd what one remembers.

    Here a (rather substantial) promotional film for the Corsair:

    1. Hi Charles. I had completely forgotten aboug the Lord Lucan connection, so thanks for reminding me. The promotional film is brilliant! It has the feel of an early sixties spy thriller (or an early episode of the Avengers, before it became a bit camp). Its opening is all rather sinister, especially when she puts the revolver in the glove box! Presumably, such films were made to amuse and fire up dealers, and weren’t shown to the wider public.

  3. I like the styling of the Corsair, but it looks its best when you’re fairly close to the car and the lines flow in perspective. From a distance it stills looks good from the side, but from the front the sharp nose flattens out and the rear looks too bulky. No matter, the inline 1500 Corsair has most of the good qualities of the early Cortina without being as tiring to drive over a long distance.

    1. Good morning Susan, and welcome to DTW. You obviously have personal experience of the Corsair, so please do tell us more!

      Here’s a nice period photo of the Corsair 2000E:

      I notice the indicator lenses on this version were changed from amber to clear (with amber bulbs behind). This must be a very early example of something that became commonplace later. I wonder if it’s the first?

  4. What would Mr. Bishop make of today’s massive RSJ windscreen pillars?
    I always liked the Corsair’s shape. I remember the Deputy Headteacher (later Headteacher) at my Junior school had one in grey. Must have been one of the early ones, thinking back. I did used to wonder why the occasional one had twin headlights; later I realised those were Ford Thunderbirds!
    While the sales were a fraction of the Cortina’s the development costs couldn’t have been that great either. The visual update on the 2000E was smart too, even if it did require a new set of door handles.

    1. Good morning Bernard. Here’s a lovely example of the 1961 Thunderbird:

      Its influence on the Corsair is obvious.

  5. Good morning Daniel. As you know, I’m of the generation who will always associate Fords with vacuum wipers and transverse leave suspension (the brash Bristol Fawn & Dorchester Grey Zephyr Zodiac that lived down our street being the rare exception which proved the rule). Our prejudices were somewhat shaken by the 105E Anglia and the marque rapidly gained its market leader status, the Cortina being, as you rightly note, the principal leader.
    The Corsair should have done so much better than it did. So much of the styling detail is ‘right’, and yet…. a neighbour once once tried to lessen the ‘over-bodied’ effect of his pale metallic blue example by painting the lower, slightly inset sill area matt black, to match the roof; it worked quite well until your eye reached the rear overhang, which suddenly grew into something like Kenny Everett’s impersonation of Rod Stewart…

    1. I´m of the generation that saw Ford go from making straightforward motor-cars for a modest price to making DCDQ car for reasonable amounts of money: they looked good inside and out, drove very well and dodged irritating class labelling. When I look at the record I see that often Ford offerred DCDQ with the Granada of the early 80s and specialist versions of the Escort and Sierra also provided convincing examples of value-for-money driving which entertained.

    2. Apparently it stands for Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire. I’m not making this up. Google told me so.

    3. I’d go for: Dependable, contemporary, driving, quality. It was a development initiative which Ford introduced 10 years or so ago. The aim was to involve purchasing more fully in engineering and development processes to save money, while increasing product diversity.

  6. Hello Daniel. The Corsair’s designer Charles Thompson is a bit shy about the Thunderbird influence, he says they had the Taunus P3 in mind when they designed the car. The Corsair does look something like a P3 sharpened up. I have a Corsair 1500 GT, it’s a good car for holiday driving, and like most of the Sixties British Fords it’s economical to run and simple to fix. My family also had a Corsair 1500 Deluxe and a couple of Mark 1 Cortinas, but the Cortina 1500 was better as a city runabout, it seem strained on long highway journeys.

    1. Hi Susan. Well done for keeping the Corsair alive and well. It must make for an interesting sight on the road, nostalgic for people of my age, intriguing for those too young to remember it.

      You’re right, there is a distinct resemblance to the Taunus P3:

    2. Hi Susan, I found this quote which fails to mention the designer credited for the P3, Uwe Bahnsen. Perhaps you can help further unwind the mystery?

      “Two men were involved with all three of the aforementioned cars [1960 Taunus P3, 1961 Lincoln Continental, 1961 Thunderbird]; Elwood Engel and Wes Dahlberg of Ford Styling. Elwood was responsible for the Lincoln and had considerable influence over the Thunderbird. Wes had seen early development models of the Lincoln and Thunderbird before his transfer to Ford Cologne where his work on the 17M P3 was observed closely by Elwood.”

      https://autouniversum.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/suddenly-its-1960/

    3. Here’s a photo showing a proposal from Dearborn, and in the background a car that bears characteristics of the one year only body design for the full sized 1960 US Ford.

      It seems to me that the front end of the 1961 Thunderbird (and the Lincoln as well) came from the German or possibly the British contingent, because the image below is said to be the Thunderbird proposal that became the Continental, its front end design strongly resembling Elwood Engel’s later work with Chrysler. I suppose it is then possible that Mr. Thompson’s further refinement on the theme for the Corsair made its way back to Dearborn…

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/tC9ujEDYILhy4F3hMPrfD6Pc3zs6iOEZIBtONVRtGvvxLNlqZPCkhHexY0XOdm0AJV5ltqG8EkcMlb_83czvUrZ5aw

    4. Here’s a better image to replace the one above which didn’t display inline…

  7. As a native North American, I always found the pre-Cortina European Fords to be trying much too hard; pretending to be just like their jazzy North American big brothers, just shrunken to a somewhat ridiculous degree. In my experience they were only bought by Brits.

    Since the parentage of the magnificent 1961 Lincoln and T-bird has come up, please may we all note the spelling of he who is usually credited, Elwood P. Engel. Thank you. Also, that the Industrial Design Institute presented an award to the Lincoln designers, namely Eugene Bordinat, Don DeLaRossa, Gail Halderman, John Najjar, Robert Thomas, George Walker, and the great Mr. Engel.

    1. Hello David. Thank you, noted and duly corrected.

      In fairness to gooddog, he was quoting a third-party so the error originated elsewhere.

    2. Hello Gooddog, I’ve heard that the Taunus P3 was an Uwe Bahnsen design, but I have no idea how much input came from Dearborn. All I can say is the P3 looks very German, and has an uncompromised artistic quality that suggests it was the product of a very focused team. Perhaps Dahlberg let Bahnsen do his thing, but since Dahlberg was the guy overseeing the project, he got the credit.

  8. Well, I am watching the film above, it is superb. Spotted details. The column gear-shift lever, I have never used one, could somebody explain how it works, please? The lady in red, carries a revolver than a more modern style of weapon, wears a large hat inside the car, that needs plenty of head room.

    1. Hi gpant. It’s a very long time ago when I drove a Cortina Mk1 with a column shift, but I recall that it was pretty similar to a floor mounted gear shift, with up/down and forward/back movements. Can’t remember where reverse was, though!

    2. I’m glad you enjoyed the film – Ford Heritage has some good stuff.

      Here’s a column change in action in a ‘50s Morris Oxford.

    3. And here’s a (slightly blurred) still image from Charles’s video showing the different gear positions:

  9. The styling of the Corsair looks like it belongs on a US production version of the Ford Cardinal project that became the Taunus P4, prefer the less radical 1960 Ford Corsair prototype.
    1960 Ford Corsair Prototype Press Photo - England

    Unfortunately for the Corsair besides the styling it was also hindered by the Essex V4 engines, when it basically needed a 1.6/1.7-2.0-litre Bigger Block Kent-half relation and possibly a V6 displacing 2.0-2.5-litres (if not a 3-litre as was done by Crayford Engineering).

    One thing that is not quite clear would be the exact relationship between the Corsair and Capri (that were both derived from the mk1-mk2 Cortina) with the later mk3-mk5 Cortina, obviously the latter was larger compared to the mk1-mk2 Cortina and featured the same wheelbase as the Corsair yet was the platform all-new or significantly carried over much from the previous engines (apart from the Pinto units)?

    1. Hi Bob. I might be wrong, but I believe it was merely coincidental that the Corsair and Cortina Mk3 shared the same 101″ wheelbase, as the platform for the latter was an all-new design and substantially wider than the Mk2.

      That Corsair prototype in the image you posted, although pleasant looking, appears to use the doors from the Cortina unaltered, so was probably considered too similar to the latter to command a higher price.

    2. That 120E looks like an attempt at a Falcon / Fairlane relationship for the mid-size UK Fords.

    3. Daniel O’Callaghan

      Understand.

      Looking back it seems Ford did not really know what they had with the Corsair, as its roughly “2-litre Compact Executive” size (comparable to the Rover P6 and Triumph 2000/2500) together with the potential for larger engines (e.g. Crayford Corsair V6) meant they possessed something that could have made the mk3-4 Zephyr / Zodiac completely redundant (short of the latter being equipped with a V8 as was said to have been designed and tested).

  10. The bit I am not clear on is the Consul which was either a fancier version of a mid-sizer, or a basic version of a larger car. The name hopped around the Ford range a bit. I made a timeline of the Ford range which some of my colleagues at DTW are inspecting as we speak.

    1. Hi Richard. I’m looking at your diagram as I write and will reply to your e-mail. The Consul name is confusing as it popped up all over the place as a prefix, for example, ‘Consul Classic’, ‘Consul Capri’ and even ‘Consul Cortina’ for the first two years the Cortina was on the market.

    2. I think the “Consul” prefix was intended to distinguish Ford of Britain’s products from the German “Taunus” cars when they were competing for sales in countries like Italy. There was no reason to use the naming on the home market, though.

  11. Part of the reason for the rapid attrition of Corsairs was the desirabil1ty of certain parts to amateur Escort and Anglia modifiers; the three-rail 2000E gearbox was strong and had close ratios, Weber carburettors, various suspension and brake parts were also sought after. The V4 engines – complete or cylinder heads only – were often used to keep hard-worked Transits alive.

    Unfortunately. owing to non-existent security and the ‘dodginess’ of some modifiers and motor-sport hopefuls, many Corsairs gave up these parts long before the ends of their natural lifespans.

    1. The Corsair 1500 Deluxe had Cortina GT mechanicals underneath, so I’m not surprised that they were cannibalised. I knew someone who wrecked a perfectly servicable two-door Corsair GT to hot up his awful 1340cc Consul Capri. The rotter!

  12. Charles, thank you, it was really interesting, and, yes I enjoyed the film. Nice music, also. Was it shown on TV or in the cinemas? The film has maybe some subplots targeted to the era and the country. I could not understand the use of the pistol subplot, and the actor who appears to be the housband of the red lady accompagnies his friend, the guy who flies the green aeroplane, wearing special protective clothing, maybe pilot’s clothes, but he never flies. If the couple happen to be the owners of this great house, with servants!, they should be wealthy enough to have a garage with 5 cars, not just this. The sailing ship is lovely, wooden, they do not built like this any more. Great outdoor scenery. The beginning is great, atmospheric, the scenes around the port as the red lady approaches the car, and when she hides the revolver in the box. It is a real film, not an advertisement, and with Ford doing all this effort should have been rewarded with good sales.

    1. Hi gpant. You’re right: that obviously wealthy family don’t look like the sort of people who would aspire to own a Ford Consul. Of course that’s the thing about advertising: it’s designed to appeal not to who we are, but to who we aspire to be!

    2. Gpant, I was seriously getting an “Eyes Wide Shut” vibe initially from that social gathering. The big plot twist of course is that the firearm was merely a cap-gun (remember those?) to add authenticity to her cowgirl fancy dress.

  13. Daniel thank you, it is clear in the diagram that the change from 1st to 2nd is up->down, and I thought that the 1 to 2 gear axis was front to back, like an ordinary floor gearshift. Something that I find very confusing, please note that I have never driven a UK spec car, right hand drive, is the gear shift pattern on the floor shifter. I think that the 1st is right to the front, close to the driver, and 2nd is right and behind, while 3rd and 4th are left, away from the driver. Like a mirror of the left wing drive position, the 1st and second are always the closest to the driver. Therefore, the lhd gearbox would be modified to work as rhd. Is it likewise? The cluch pedal that is under the left foot, brake in the middle and the accelerator under the right, is reversed in the right hand drive configuration, the cluch is in the right?

    1. Hi gpant. Actually no. The gearchange and pedal layout is exactly the same on RHD and LHD cars. First gear is still top-left and the clutch pedal is still on the left.

      If the layouts were mirror-images of each other, it would be really difficult to switch from one to the other, because your feet are ‘trained’ differently to manage the clutch (left foot) and brake and accelerator (right foot),

      Before Covid, I used to drive LHD cars three or four times a year, and switching sides is far easier than remembering to use the clutch and manually change gear (because our cars are both automatic!)

    2. If you intend driving a RHD car, read this before you do!
      The pedals are just the same as LHD, as is the gearchange. In the past the indicators were on the right but not any longer (except on a Japanese market car).

  14. Oh really it is the same? I feel confused. I am used to grab the stick towards me to engage the 1st, while in a RHD car I should push it away. The feet issue seems more logical as you describe it. Thank you, Daniel. A guy who drives motorcycles, explained that both hands and feet are engaged in pushing and grabbing levers. Left hand activates the cluch, right hand the accelerator, left foot the gears, using a lever that rotates up and down, right foot the rear brake. Ah yes, the front brake is at the right hand, there are five controls. I feel physically and perhaps, mentally unable to drive such a configuration, thank you.

  15. Good evening Daniel
    I had never been quite sure where and indeed why the Corsair fitted into the scheme of things, there not being a gap between the Cortina and Granada subsequently, but now all is revealed. Also, the few Corsairs that I’ve seen at shows have been the V4 (except for one that had been persuaded to accept a Nissan diesel, but we won’t go there) so I was somewhat surprised to learn of an inline four as well. I can only surmise that the slightly bigger V4 was intended to bring the car a little further upmarket and to differentiate it from the Cortina.

    1. I think that was the intention, but switching to those under-developed V4 engines was a stumble that spoilt the Corsair’s reputation. The problems had mostly been ironed out by the time the 2000E was released, but it too late and sales dropped off. In hindsight, it would have been better if Ford had given the basic car the 1500 GT engine and brakes as they did on the Swedish and Austrian markets, and just upgraded the dashboard and ventilation.

  16. In my opinion, consul was the name of Ford UK for medium-sized vehicles
    In the 1950s, six cylinder Zephyr / Zodiac and four cylinder consul shared the shell, but wheelbase and front end were lengthened to accept the larger straight-6 engine,
    Vauxhall Wyvern / Velox / Cresta and Morris Oxford / Six used the same way
    Vauxhall launched victor in 1957 to separate four cylinder and six cylinder models.
    Ford achieved this by Consul Classic. Since the previous generation of Consul was still in use, the suffix of classic was added to distinguish. Corsair was originally also called Consul Corsair
    As for Corsair’s successor, I think it should be Consul.
    Granada’s wheelbase is 8 inches shorter than Zephyr / Zodiac MKIV, and its market positioning is lower.
    Zodiac executive price had entered the territory of XJ6, and Granada Ghia was much Cheaper
    If the German perspective is introduced, it can be better understood
    The size of classic and Taunus P3 in the same period was similar
    the size of p3-p5-p7-granada maintains continuity

    1. Hmm…

      April 1971:

      Jaguar XJ6 2.8 – £2398
      Ford Executive – £2082

      The Jaguar is the base model with plastic seat facings – the de luxe is £2513, to which add £104 for automatic, standard on the Ford. All largely academic at the time as XJs were all but unobtainable – two year old examples were being offered at more than the new list price.

      Moving on…

      September 1974:

      Jaguar XJ6 4.2 – £4325 (automatic £4358)
      Granada Ghia – £3094

      We’re into the Series 3 era, and the unloved and troublesome 2.8 is long gone.

      What does this demonstrate? Probably that Jaguars were always too damn cheap in those days. in 1974 the price of an XJ6 would get you a BMW 2500 (£4614) or Mercedes Benz 250 2.8 (£4417).

    2. Well, let’s change the way we compare

      1967
      Ford Anglia £535
      Ford Corsair 2000E £1,039
      Ford Executive £1,567

      1976
      Ford ESCORT POPULAR £1,599
      Ford GRANADA Ghia 3000S £3,601

      the top Corsair was 1.94 times to Anglia
      Executive was 2.93 times to Anglia
      GRANADA Ghia was 2.25 times to ESCORT POPULAR

  17. Good morning Oliver and thank you for your comment. Regarding the Corsair’s replacement, I have respectfully to disagree. The Corsair was discontinued in 1970, the same year the Cortina Mk3 was introduced, whereas the Consul/Granada was not introduced until 1972. The Cortina Mk3 has the same 101″ (2,565mm) as the Corsair.

    I think that the Zephyr/Zodiac Mk4’s wheelbase is the cause of some confusion here. At 115″ (2,921mm) it was an enormous 8″ (2o3mm) longer than the Mk3 models, but this was a result of the absurdly long bonnet and was largely dead space ahead of the front bulkhead:

    The passenger and luggage accommodation wasn’t significantly greater than in the Mk3. When the Consul/Granada was introduced in 1972 as a direct replacement for the Zephyr/Zodiac, the cars proportions were returned to something more normal and the wheelbase reduced to 107″ (2718mm) which was exactly the same as the Mk3 Zephyr/Zodiac:

    As regards pricing, pitching the Zodiac Executive against the Jaguar XJ6 was, I suspect, wishful thinking on Ford’s part!

    1. If you think MKIVZephyr/Zodiac was the exception, please look forward
      1956 Zephyr/Zephyr and 1972 Granada have similar wheelbase and length.
      Considering the development of 16 years, do you think this is normal?

      If you think Zodiac executive’s pricing is wishful thinking, please consider another fact.
      Vaxuhall Viscount’s price was equivalent, and Austin 3liter was slightly lower, but not far

      Let’s introduce more contrast
      1961 Classic 99”
      1961 Victor 100” 1967 Victor 102” 1972 Victor 105”
      1960 Rekord P2 100” 1965 Rekord B 104” 1972 Rekord D 105”
      1960 Taunus P3 103” 1965 Taunus P5 106” 1972 Granada 107”

      There is no doubt that Granada was a competitor for Rekord
      The Rekord D shared the same floorpan with the Victor
      And the development of the three vehicles has continued to be consistent
      I thought Granada was the successor to both Consul(Classic, Corsair) and Zephyr / Zodiac

    2. Hi Oliver. A valid and well argued viewpoint, thank you. We will have to agree to disagree on this occasion! 🙂

    3. Good research, Oliver. Thank you!
      That white car is a Zephyr/Zodiac. It´s very generic, isn´t it? Smalll details make the Granada distinctive. I notice the boot is slightly higher than the bonnet line. Designers find it very hard to resist the urge to do this.

    4. Hi Richard. Yes, the (old English) white car is a Mk4 Zephyr/Zodiac. I think it would look a lot better proportioned, if even more generic, with a chunk taken out of the body between the door and front wheel arch.

      The loooong bonnet was the bright idea of chief engineer Harley Copp, who thought it gave the car greater presence and prestige. It was his idea to put the spare wheel ahead of the engine, to fill what would otherwise have been fresh air. This had a negative effect on weight distribution and handling, negating the theoretical benefits of the semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension.

      Here’s the V4 engine (lost) in the Zephyr Mk4’s engine bay:

      Actually, the Mk4 Zephyr/Zodiac can fairly be described as front mid-engined, just like many exotic cars!

    5. If I ever saw a Zephyr I walked past it. Perhaps some were parked up at field-meets I might have been at in England in the late 90s. It is that kind of a car – if you said it was an Opel I might be tempted to agree for a moment but I´d then think it lacked any Opel identifiers. It is the kind of anonymous car used in an advert when you don´t want to pick out any particular brand. And yes, the engine is lost in the bay. You could put an in-line 8 in there or at least an in-line 6 which is what Opel did with its Rekords and Senators.

  18. One of my many Fords over the years was a 1968 Corsair deluxe. I think that I found via a friend in a lockup in Ipswich back in 1986 if memory serves. Absolutely perfect, no rust in a dark green, had ally cat alloys on when I pulled her out, was not expecting what was under the bonnet, Essex 3.1 rs. Needless to say it was superb, the Savage that never was .

    1. Hi Matt. That was quite some find! Do you have any photos to share?

    2. Will have a search,was along time ago.ive found Crayford mk2 cortina,lotus mk2 cortina,2 door 1600 e,so many over the years lost cout after 200 plus

    3. To many .now in my 60s I’m still building and enjoying my cars but much slower the building and modifying not the driving

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