Archive for the ‘Ford’ Category

Fifty years ago Ford launched a car that they thought would take away some of the market share that BMC were stealing with their revolutionary Mini. Instead their brand-new ‘Consul Cortina’ created a marketplace all of its own which has pretty much endured to this day in the form of the current Mondeo and the multitude of similar-sized cars from most of the world’s manufacturers – all chasing the same market segment.

Their Cortina (still not sure why they insisted on using the ‘Consul’ moniker) appealed to the 2+2 family of post-war Britain that were hungry to escape the dark past of two world wars and were ravenously consuming the renaissance in music and design that was taking place during the 1960’s. Think Beatles, Mary Quant, Conran and the beautiful E-Type Jaguar as part of a tidal wave of newness that knocked the population off its feet.

The Cortina offered the family man in 1962 a car with clean, modern lines, (relatively) willing engines and performance for a reasonable amount of his hard-earned Pounds, Shillings and Pence – ‘new’ money didn’t come along along until the early 70’s. But there was more to come.

Ford had created a GT version of the Cortina with lowered suspension and – wait for it – 78 BHP over the standard 1500cc engined car which produced a weedy-sounding 60 BHP. Today of course we would expect more power from a sit-on lawnmower but in those days there were very few road cars that would achieve more than 100 BHP. Anything on offer to the general public producing more than that would have fallen very much into the ‘sports car’ category and was often far too expensive for ordinary folk. The Cortina did indeed put a smile on Family Guy’s face.

I had an uncle who once owned a Cortina GT and he drove it hard and fast. I blame that particular car for the love affair I developed later on in life for all things Ford including a Cortina 1600E, a 3.0S Capri in Daytona Yellow and a Scorpio Cosworth (sigh).

Four individuals were the catalyst for the birth of the Lotus Cortina – Colin Chapman, Harry Mundy, Walter Hayes and Keith Duckworth.

Colin Chapman owned Lotus with all of their chassis engineering expertise; Harry Mundy was an engine designer who joined Lotus from Coventry-Climax; Walter Hayes was head-honcho at Ford and Keith Duckworth a highly talented engine tuner (ex-Cosworth).

The four men created the cocktail of ingredients that created a true ‘sports saloon’ that distanced itself from its cousin the Cortina GT and its nearest rival the Mini Cooper. Press reviews were full of praise for the car’s handling and road-holding capabilities comparing it to the track-day Lotus 7 at the time.

On the track the Lotus Cortina inevitably blew everything else into the weeds and quickly became THE car to beat. The Ford Cortina-Lotus (as Ford preferred) is now firmly rooted in the folklore of saloon car racing and will still often make an appearance at classic car racing events today.

There was a simplicity in the approach that Ford took in the overall look of the car that is tasteful and pleasing to the eye. No fancy spoilers or wide arches just quarter-size bumpers, 5.5″ Wheels, Lotus badges and any colour you wanted as long as it was white with a green stripe. However, there is a story that one customer insisted on a blue stripe because he was superstitious about the colour green!

Today most Lotus Cortinas still running would have received an enormous amount of loving attention (and expense) to keep them on the road and their rarity value means that they are achieving high prices when they change hands. Figures in excess of £30000 would be readily paid for cars in top condition and concours examples could write their own cheques.

The forthcoming Baron’s auction on the 28th-29th May happens to feature a Lotus Cortina which has been described as follows:-

“This 1965 registered, Airflow model, Lotus Cortina,  underwent a full restoration in 2008/2009 meaning that GRO 28C is in very good order throughout. The car was produced in July of 1964 but was not sold and registered until March of 1965, Originally an “A frame” car, which was later converted to the more popular leaf spring set up, when used for group 2 historic rallying by the Ecurie Ten team from 1990.  Among the car’s six previous registered owners are the above mentioned Ecurie Ten team and well known and well respected  motoring journalist, Richard Hudson Evans. This car is known to the Lotus Cortina Register.”

The guide price is quoted as £30000 to £40000.

Click here for further details of the car that has been entered plus details of the auction

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Ford’s first global performance car will take centre stage next year with a starring role in new film blockbuster The Sweeney.

Flying Squad detectives Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) and George Carter (Ben Drew aka Plan B) will lead a cast of crime-busting officers as they give chase to London’s criminals in black Ford Focus ST hot hatchbacks.

Thanks to the Ford Focus ST’s 2.0-litre 250PS four-cylinder EcoBoost engine and explosive acceleration, the criminals will always struggle to make a clean getaway.

The new Ford Focus ST, which goes on sale in 40 countries from next year, was shown in final production-ready form at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Anthony Ireson, Ford Britain marketing director, said:  “The new Focus ST is a hugely exciting car for Ford with terrific dynamic credibility.  It will be a car for real driving enthusiasts, so Regan and Carter won’t be disappointed.”

Last month special early-build Ford Focus ST models were secretly delivered to The Sweeney set, joining Ford Mondeos, Galaxys and Transits also being used as unmarked vehicles.

Director and co-writer Nick Love, whose prior films include The Football Factory and The Firm, said:  “It was important for me to collaborate with Ford on The Sweeney as their legacy with the original TV show is so strong – they’re the perfect partner.  I like the Ford Focus ST so much, I want one!”

Ford’s strong link with the 1970s Sweeney TV series saw Regan, Carter and their Flying Squad colleagues using a string of Ford Granadas, Consuls and Cortinas to make the streets of London a safer place.

Production company Vertigo has the use of six Ford Focus ST models during filming, which is continuing until Christmas.  Set in modern day England, The Sweeney movie also features Hayley Atwell (from Captain America), Damien Lewis (The Escapist), Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans) and Paul Anderson (The Firm).

Next year The Sweeney will be edited ahead of the Focus ST going on sale in the UK in the summer, followed by the film premiere in September.

“Da dah daah, da daah daaah”…wonder if they will stick to the original theme tune? 

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Five of Ford’s most memorable vehicles to feature on film and television have been brought together at Elstree Studios, London to celebrate 100 years of Ford of Britain.

The Ford Anglia 105E from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, lined up alongside the pink FAB1 from Thunderbirds, James Bond’s Ford Mondeo from the 2007 film Casino Royale, a Ford Granada as seen in The Sweeney TV series and Dr Who’s yellow Edwardian vintage car.

One of the most watched vehicles in film history is the turquoise Ford Anglia 105E seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

“I’d been involved with Ford Anglia clubs for 30 years when I was asked by the film makers to provide a car for the movie,” said owner John Colyer. “After that it just took off and I ended up supplying around 15.”

One of the most eye-catching vehicles at Elstree was the six-wheel Ford-badged FAB1, that starred in the 2004 live action film Thunderbirds. Famous for its multi-function ability on the road and in the air, FAB1 is, of course, road-legal and fully operational.

For Daniel Craig’s debut as James Bond, in Casino Royale, which debuted ahead of the launch of the production Ford Mondeo in 2007, he took to the wheel of a hand built prototype.  Following the film’s release, the car was donated by Ford to the Ian Fleming Foundation and can now be seen at the Bond exhibition at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.

On the small screen, Ford vehicles have featured in many series including two popular British programmes − gritty police drama The Sweeney and science-fiction drama Dr Who.  The familiar car chases of The Sweeney helped the Ford Consul GT and the Ford Granada achieve cult status with car fans − and are still loved 40 years on.

The canary yellow Edwardian vintage car with unique WHO 1 number plate and indicator ‘hand’ makes regular appearances at Dr Who conventions, and several Dr Who fans have used the car for weddings.

The summer’s Ford Centenary Tour covered a distance of over 2,200 miles across Britain, from Inverness to Southampton and Cardiff to London.

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It’s Ford’s 100th birthday and fans will find plenty to peruse, at this year’s Footman James Classic Motor Show when it returns to Birmingham’s NEC from 11-13 November.

There’s plenty of variety on the Mk1 Cortina Owners Club stand, with a 2-door Super, ‘woody’ Estate, Zetec-engined saloon, Lotus Cortina, and the club’s Supreme Champion, a 1200 ‘fleet’. Jim Scott’s superb 1200 won’t be on the club stand this year. It’s so good; it’s in the Meguiars display.

That fifties favourite, the 100E, has a broad appeal and the 100E Owners Club is embodying this by presenting a Popular, a Prefect, and the 300E Thames Van that appeared in the 1997 Heartbeat Xmas special. For fans of tuned classics, there’s a Pinto-powered 100E and a 2.8 V6 300E.

Around 1.3 million Anglias and variants were made, and quite a few will be on the Anglia 105E Owners Club stand. Well 8 actually! The club is exhibiting two highly-tuned saloons, a Standard saloon, two Deluxe versions, a Super, a Van, and a Standard Estate, which, like its saloon counterpart, truly defines no-frills motoring!

The MkIII Zephyr and Zodiac Owners Club has chosen four models from this capable and capacious range, namely a Zephyr 4, Zephyr 6, Zodiac, and Zodiac Estate. The featured Zephyr 6 was passed from father to son and the immaculately-restored Zodiac saloon has been in the same family for 28 years.

Much loved by families and fleet managers, the Mk3 took the Cortina into the 1970s. The Mark Three Cortina Owners Club is showcasing a Savage V6 replica, Crayford Convertible, Estate, 1300L, and a 1600 Basic. And there’s a twist! Each car will be occupied by life-size and suitably-attired manikins.

It’s ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ for the AVO Owners Club with one half of the stand set out to represent a rally stage, complete with two muddy Mexicos, mud, grass, and hay. Sideways to victory! The other half is a showroom with pristine sale cars.

The Corsair always cut a dash and the Ford Corsair Owners Club is bringing along some of the very best, including a 1500 Deluxe, a fully-restored 2000E, a 3-litre V6-engined 2000E and a Cosworth-engined Estate.

Amongst the seven cars on the Ford Granada Mk1 & Mk2 Drivers Guild’s stand will be a Granada Mk2 hearse, ‘sans’ coffin but with a wonderful collection of scale-model Granadas laid out instead! There’ll also be a Coleman Milne-converted Granada Mk1 Minster, the only example currently on the road.

The 1600E is plush, perky, nimble, and much sought after. Which is why the Cortina MkII and 1600E Owners Club is presenting two stunning examples. They’ll be accompanied by a modified Estate, a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. Swift but subtle!

The Footman James Classic Motor Show is open from 10am until 7pm on Friday, 9am until 7pm on Saturday, and 9am until 5.30pm on Sunday. Ticket prices range from £17.50 when purchased in advance, or £20.50 on the door. For more information visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com. For informat ion on Footman James , visit www.footmanjames.co.uk

Fords don’t get old they just get faster as my old Dad used to say!!

Ford revive a strong presence at Goodwood with the largest-ever vehicle cavalcade at the historic West Sussex circuit, in celebration of Fords UK centenary and signalling the end of the Ford of Britain Centenary Tour.

The Ford of Britain Centenary Parade will be flagged-off by Ford’s chief financial officer, Lewis Booth, with Ford of Britain chairman Joe Greenwell in the lead car.  The parade will consist of over 100 Fords, circling the track from 11:05 on Friday morning, 11:10 on Saturday and 11:25am on Sunday.

The line-up includes the famous Ford Anglia 105E used in the film “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”; the 1966 Le Mans 24-hour race-winning Ford GT Mk II; the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup rally-winning Ford Escort Mk I; and the 1912 all-Ford-race winner at Brooklands: the 1911 UK-built Ford Model T – “The Golden Ford.”

As well as the Ford of Britain Centenary Parade, the two GT40 course cars will be in action between the races as usual.  There will also be a Ford exhibition in the ‘Earls Court Motorshow’ area showcasing a number of vehicles including a 1960s Ford Corsair, a 1960s replica of Henry Ford’s Quadricycle and a new Ford Focus and Grand C-MAX.

The Ford exhibition area will be decorated with a Ford in Britain 100-year timeline and allow public use of a 1962 Rock-ola Empress Jukebox and the opportunity to have a period-style picture taken alongside a new Ford Focus.

Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman, said: “Ford is delighted to be at Goodwood Revival in such strength this year.  The Ford Centenary Tour of the UK has been a great success and with an exciting range of Ford vehicles to be showcased at Goodwood, we’re hoping to end our Ford of Britain Centenary celebrations with a bang!”

The Ford Centenary Tour, which got underway in London in August runs until September 18, finishing at the Goodwood Revival in Chichester, West Sussex.

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