It’s Coming Together – Project ‘65

3

By Chris Pollitt

In our last update, which was somewhat shockingly, six months ago, we were shouting with glee about the Cortina having paint on it. As well all know, painting a car is a huge step, as from that point on it’s simply a case of building the car back up. All the horrible, dirty, messy jobs are filed firmly in the past once the paint goes on. From that point on, it’s easy. Just a nice spread of clean, shiny and new parts to be carefully bolted back on. Like a big Airfix kit or something. 

 

Sadly for us, it wasn’t quite that simple. We had hoped that by now the car would be up, running and well into the testing stage. There was even a tentative plan to have at least one or two races under its belt by now. But alas, the global spread of Covid-19 and the consequent lock down and associated restrictions have put paid to that plan. If we’re lucky, we might get some late season testing in before the year is out, but in reality, it’s going to be 2021 before our freshly built Cortina turns a wheel in anger. Better late than never, though. Right? 

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

Anyway, before we dust off our bash hat, there is the small matter of finishing the Cortina to attend to. Happily, with the restrictions around Covid easing, the incredibly talented team at Norfolk Premier Coachworks have once again been able to pick up the tools. As such, the Cortina is now more than just a pretty, freshly painted shell. Instead, it now looks like… well, it looks like a car again. 

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

The engine, which has been completely rebuilt and bench-tested by Joe at Throbnozzle Racing is now in the car, as is the transmission. The new suspension has been fitted, as have the brakes, wheels and tyres. As such, it’s once again a rolling car. We say rolling, rather than driving, because there is still some work to do. Which we’ll get to in a moment. 

Other bits fitted include the glass, the Safety Device roll cage, the lights, body trim, fuel tank and other finishing items like grille and badges, etc. It looks like a Cortina again, and we’re now in love with it that little bit more. 

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

So what needs to be done? Still quite a lot, to be honest. The biggest issue is the wiring. We’re having a new loom made for it. This makes sense, as the car was stripped right back, so it gave the opportunity to do it. Plus, it’s just safer, especially in a competition car. The loom is in the car, but it’s not connected up yet. There is still some trimming, clipping and attaching to be done. The most notable challenge being the dash, which is still free of any switches or clocks, so we need to get all that hooked up. Then the guys need to sort the wiring for the lights etc, and of course, the engine, including cut-offs and the like for safety. 

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

After that, it’ll be bumpers, seats and harnesses. Everything else is there. The seats – two Sparco Evo II items – will keep the FIA happy, as the old seats were well out of date. We need to fabricate mounts though, and then of course, we need to fit the new five-point harnesses. 

Ford, Cortina, Ford Cortina, Cortina GT, rally car, race car, project car, classic Ford, retro Ford, motorsport, classic motorsport, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

Once all that’s done though, we can get to the fun stuff. And by that, we mean we can actually drive the thing. While it is MOT exempt, we’ll still get a fresh test on it for peace of mind, and then we can hit the road and the track. Given that this is a complete, fresh, ground-up build, there will no doubt be teething things to sort as well as the obligatory setup adjustments – because race car – but once we get it dialled in, we can start looking at what events we can enter it into. Exciting times ahead. 

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