Ford Consul Corsair & V4
|1963 to 1970|
|Manufacturer||Ford of Britain|
|Production||1964–1970 310,000 made|
|Assembly||Halewood, England (1964-1969) Dagenham, England (1969-1970)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon 2-door saloon 2-door convertible 5-door estate car|
|Engine||1,498 cc I4 (1964 - 1965), 1,663 cc V4 (1965 - 1971), 1,996 cc V4 (1965 - 1971)|
|Wheelbase||101.0 in (2,565 mm)|
|Length||176.75 in (4,489 mm)|
|Width||63.5 in (1,613 mm)|
|Height||55.5 in (1,410 mm)|
|Kerb weight||2,194 lb (995 kg)|
The Ford Consul Corsair, manufactured by Ford Motor Company in the United Kingdom, was a midsize car introduced at the London Motor Show in October 1963 and available as either a saloon or estate from 1964 until 1970. There was also a convertible version built by Crayford, which is now very rare and highly sought after as a classic. Two-door Corsair saloons are also rare, being built only to order in the UK, although volume two-door production continued for some export markets. Only one example of the fleet model, the Consul Corsair Standard, is known to exist.
The Corsair was one of the four model Consul range, and shared many of its mechanical components with the Cortina, Classic and Capri. The Corsair had unusual and quite bold styling for its day, with a sharp horizontal V-shaped crease at the very front of the car into which round headlights were inset. This gave the car an apparently aerodynamic shape. The jet-like styling extended to the rear where sharply pointed vertical light clusters hinted at fins. The overall styling was clearly inspired by the early 1960s Ford Thunderbird, though in transferring the look to a British family car, the overall effect is something of an acquired taste. This American styling cue had also been adapted by Ford, in Germany, for the (at the time controversially styled) 1960 Ford Taunus 17M.
An estate car by Abbott was added to the range on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966 and in 1967, the Corsair also underwent the Executive treatment like its smaller Cortina sibling, giving the 2000E model with dechromed flanks, which necessitated non styled-in door handles, special wheel trims, reversing lights, a vinyl roof and upgraded cabin fittings. The 2000E, priced at £1,008 in 1967, was positioned as a cut price alternative to the Rover 2000, the introduction of which had effectively defined a new market segment for four cylinder executive sedans in the UK three years earlier: the Corsair 2000E comfortably undercut the £1,357 Rover 2000 and, indeed, the less ambitiously priced Humber Sceptre then retailing at an advertised £1,047.
The Corsair's performance was good for a car of its type and period, with a top speed in its 2.0 L V4 version of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) as measured by the speedometer,and exceptional acceleration at full throttle resulting from the progressive 28/36mm twin-choke Weber downdraught carburettor ("progressive" in the sense that second carburettor would start to open only once the first was fully open). A popular story circulated that if the car were driven at speeds over 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), its wedge-shaped nose would generate sufficient lift to make the vehicle dangerously unstable. However, this story was shown to be an urban myth when Corsair set World records at Monza (see above), running at 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) for hour upon hour without the slightest apparent effect.
The Corsair was replaced by the Mk 3 Cortina in 1970, at which time the enlarged Cortina became Ford's midsized car, and a new smaller model, the Escort, had already filled in the size below. The new Ford Capri took on the performance and sporty aspirations of the company.
Over its six-year production, 310,000 Corsairs were built.
Ford Corsair in Heartbeat, TV Series