Ford Consul Corsair, now known as Ford Corsair, is one of the classic cars manufactured by Ford Motor Company in the UK. On October 1963 it was introduced to the public at the London Motor Show. This midsize car was available in two forms: saloon and estate. Also, the car was available in a convertible version which is now considered to be the rarest. It is worth to mention that two-door saloon was briefly available in the UK, mainly it was produced for export, and that is why it is considered to be a rare model as well.
The career of Ford Corsair lasted for 7 years, from 1963 to 1970. There were four models in Consul range and the Corsair itself shared lots of its mechanical components with such famous models as the Cortina, Capri and Ford Classic.
The styling of the Ford Corsair, inspired by the Ford Thunderbird of the 1960s, was unusually bold for that period. At the front of the car, it was a sharp horizontal V-shaped crease with rounded headlights. Such solution was aimed to make the car look more aerodynamic and stylish. Though the Ford Corsair had something in common with American models and the Ford Taunus P3 manufactured in Germany, it was created as a classic British family car.
Initially, the car offered 60 bhp single carburetor and 1.5 L Kent engine. The engine was also used by Ford in such classic cars as smaller Ford Cortina, as well as the Ford Cortina GT. With such engine, 13 World Speed record was set by Tony and Michael Brookes’ team at Monza in Italy in 1964. In 1965 the engine was replaced by new V4. Still, this renovation did not make the car better. Instead, many say it spoiled the car as it became coarse on the road.
Initially, the V4 engines were available in 1663 cc form. Year later, in 1966, a larger 2.0 liter L version was introduced. It is interesting to know that there were two funny slogans for V4 engines: “The Car That Is Seen But Not Heard” and “I’ve got a V in my bonnet”.
The estate Ford Corsair was introduced in March 1966 and later in 1967. The 2000E model, as well as the Ford Cortina, underwent some renovations, including chromed flanks, non-styled-in door handles, Rostyle wheels, vinyl roof and upgraded cabin fittings. It was introduced to the UK market as an alternative to more expensive one, the Rover 2000 that previously defined a new market segment for 4-cylinder executive sedans.
Though there were enthusiasts who saw an increased performance of the car with new engine, its top speed, 95 mph (153 km/h), was not much faster than the original version of 1964. What is more, there was a popular myth that id the car reaches 80 mph (129 km/h), the vehicle will become unstable and dangerous because of its wedge-shaped nose. The myth exploded after the World records at Monza when the Ford Corsair reached its highest speed, 100 mph (160 km/h).
In 1970 the career of Ford Corsair stopped. The car was replaced by the midsized Ford Cortina Mk III, the newer and smaller model. What is more, Ford Escort was on the way to the fame. The production of Ford Corsair lasted for 6 years. During this period, about 310,000 cars were built in the UK.