Ford’s Corsair is one of those cars that has somehow managed to move under the radar, not garnering the huge sales success of the Cortina or the Escort yet not attracting the imagination of those after the larger Ford product either. Back in the day Ford didn’t know this though and it was very keen to plug a gap in its range. The Cortina was the mainstream model and the Zodiac/Zephyr was the higher end model, yet there was nothing in between.
Enter the Corsair. It was unashamedly based on the best-selling Cortina but with a longer wheelbase and a bigger boot along with some futuristic styling cues. However, unlike the Cortina it struggled in the marketplace, not offering quite enough pizzazz to tempt buyers out of their Cortinas. Initially it didn’t offer much in the way of additional performance and while it was certainly commodious the equivalent Cortina was both cheaper and not much smaller, either.
Moves were made to take the Crosier upmarket, especially given the success of Triumph’s 2000 and Rover’s P6 and as a result the Corsair gained a new 2.0-lite V4 engine and a host of upgrades to create the Corsair 2000E, with the E standing for Executive. With plenty of plush accoutrements it was a Ford for a new generation of upmarket buyers but crucially was still cheaper than the Triumph and the Rover by a significant margin.
Even in 2000E guise the Corsair didn’t sell in significant numbers and the range-topping model is a rare sight on our roads today. Despite this it’s still a machine with a bit of a cult following, offering a very roomy and plush cockpit, a huge boot and pretty decent performance.
This particular Corsair 2000E was purchased around 10 years ago by the current owner at an Anglia Car Auctions sale and has been the subject of much expenditure in the intervening years.
The mileage of 38,573 is believed to be genuine and the current owner has spent a significant sum of money on replacing the headlining and carrying out a body restoration. It now presents in excellent condition and would be suitable for anyone who is keen on running one of Ford’s forgotten 1960s icons either as part of a collection or as an everyday classic.
Sadly the paper trail with this Corsair is no longer present and the owner doesn’t have a set of receipts to accompany its restoration.
A V5C is present in the owner’s name as is an MOT certificate dating from 2013.
The Corsair 2000E was the top of the range model back when it was new and today this example really does have a fantastic cockpit. The black vinyl seats are in excellent condition and while they might feel a little soft to sit in it would appear that this is how they were when new with Motor magazine arguing that the seats were one of the car’s weak points when new.
The door trim panels are in good order with the correct window winders and door handles, with just the offside rear door exhibiting some signs of wear to the grab handle. The dashboard presents very well with the wood finish looking recently varnished while the instruments look great and all appear to be functional.
For a car that’s over 50 years old the interior really is in exceptional condition with the headlining appearing to be in good condition and overall it exhibits a wonderful period ambiance.
The bodywork of this Corsair has undergone a restoration in the years since the current owner bought the car at considerable cost. For the most part the exterior paint presents very well and it’s only under very close examination that the few minor blemishes can be seen.
Overall the paintwork is in good condition with just the odd age-related blemish. The chrome is similarly in good order with just some very minor pitting visible on some of the chrome work.
The vinyl roof is in fine fettle although it could do with a deep clean while the majority of the screen rubbers and window surrounds also appear to be in decent condition with the odd blemish here and there. Overall the car’s exterior looks great for a 54-year-old machine with just a few small blemishes that prevent it from being viewed as a concours type vehicle.
The boot is in great order with the spare wheel and tool kit being correctly located on the nearside of the car while the boot floor and the fuel tank also appear to be in excellent order, as do the rear strut tops which can be seen within the boot. The unique 2000E wheel trims are also all present and correct.
Equipped with the largest version of Ford’s V4 the 2.0-litre engine in the Corsair 2000E seems to run very well while the car was manoeuvred for photography. The car is currently SORN so we were unable to take it for a test drive but the car’s automatic gearbox seems to operate well, selecting forward and reverse gears on the steering column change.
Under the bonnet the V4 looks to be in fine fettle and in good original condition as befits the low mileage which is believed to be genuine.
Perhaps the greatest appeal of this Corsair is its rarity value – when was the last time you saw one on the road? And if you can remember seeing one, did it look anywhere near as fine as this example? Despite Ford manufacturing over 300,000 Corsairs it’s one of those cars that seems to have fallen by the wayside with virtually all models having disappeared.
You’ll be hard pushed to find another 2000E in this sort of condition with a fine mechanical makeup and an interior that’s in quite such good condition. That the exterior presents so well is the icing on the cake. In its day it was a futuristic looking design and even now, over 50 years later, it still cuts quite a dash and would make an excellent everyday classic or one to be squirrelled away and cherished – the choice is yours.
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