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My Ford Corsair

Ford Consul Corsair.

No, not the late eighties version Ford foisted on the public. That was a badge engineered Nissan Pintara and is something which ought to be forgotten. I'm talking about the real deal from 1963. When it was released in the UK the original Corsair was positioned in the market above the new Cortina Mark 1 and below the existing Zephyr/Zodiac range.

Ford enticed Formula one champion Jim Clarke to front advertisements for the Corsair, particularly the two door "GT" version. The Corsair styling was clearly inspired by the 1961 Ford Thunderbird, especially the tapered front end. The side view reflects the T'Bird's distinctive bullet shape.

Although the Corsair shared many of its inner structure and mechanical parts with the Cortina its wheelbase is about 8cm longer. The extra space meant more rear leg room. The range was initially offered with the 60 bhp, single carburettor, 1.5 litre four cylinder Kent engine. In 1965 the range adopted the new 1.7 litre V4 engine. A 2.0 litre version was offered in 1966 as an option.

Over 300,000 Corsairs were built during its production run. There was also a convertible version built by Crayford. These are quite rare and sought after today. The Corsair survived through until 1970 when it was replaced by the enlarged Cortina Mk III. 

Corsairs were never officially sold in Australia, so those that are here are private imports. It's estimated there are less than twenty in this country and Newcastle's David Fotheringham owns one of them.

He's also President of the Hunter Valley British Ford Group. "I heard about it from a club member just as it was due to be taken to the crusher, so I bought it. It is drivable and goes well", he says. It's a 2 litre V4 automatic and went down the production line in 1966.

"The body is sound and the mechanicals are OK, so I will use it as a fun car for club outings. The point I want to make is that you do not have to spend thousands of dollars restoring a car. I want to use the Corsair, not be continually working on it."

David Burrell is the editor of Retroautos