Ford Corsair

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Ford Corsair
Ford Corsair 1965
Automotive industryFord of Britain
Production1964–1970
310,000 made
SuccessorFord Cortina Mk III
Car body style4-door Sedan (car), 2-door saloon, convertible, estate car.
Internal combustion engine1498 cc Straight-4 (1964 - 1965),
1663 cc V-4 (1965 - 1971),
1996 cc V-4 (1965 - 1971)
Wheelbase101.0 in (2565 mm)
Length176.75 in (4489 mm)
Width63.5 in (1613 mm)
Height55.5 in (1410 mm)
Curb weight2,194 lb (995 kg)
Fuel capacityConvert/LoffAonDbSoffImp

The Ford Corsair, manufactured by Ford Motor Company in the United Kingdom, was a Midsize car available as either a Sedan (car) or Station wagon from 1964 until 1970. (the early model had styling cues from the 61/62 Ford Thunderbird.) There was also a Convertible version built by Crayford Engineering, which is now very rare and highly sought after as a classic. The saloon was available briefly as a 2-door model in some export markets.

The Corsair was designed around a lengthened Cortina Mark 1 floor pan, and shared many of its mechanical and body components with the Cortina. 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.

Ford Corsair V4 2 door convertible 1967
The car was initially offered with the larger 60 bhp (45 kW), single carburettor, 1.5 L Kent engine that was also used in the smaller Ford Cortina, in standard and GT form. In 1964 twins Tony and Michael Brookes' team in a Kent engined (straight four) Corsair GT set 13 World Speed records at Monza in Italy averaging over 99 mph (159 km/h) for 15,000 miles (24,000 km) in the under 1500 cc class. The range was revised in 1965, adopting new V4 engines that many say spoiled rather than enhanced the car, as it was rough at idle and coarse on the road. This was available in 1663 cc form at first, but later in 1966, a larger 2.0 litre L version was offered alongside. The marketing tag line for the V4 models was "The Car That Is Seen But Not Heard", which was a real stretch of the ad man's puff, given the inherent characteristics of the engine!

An estate car by Abbott Coachbuilders was added to the range in 1966 and in 1967, the Corsair also underwent the Executive treatment like its smaller Cortina sibling, giving the 2000E model with dechromed flanks, unique wheel covers, a vinyl roof and upgraded cabin fittings.

The Corsair's performance was underwhelming, with a top speed in its 2.0 L V4 version of about 95 mph (153 km/h). While enthusiasts sought increased performance, a popular story circulated that if the car were driven at speeds over 80 mph (129 km/h), its wedge-shaped nose would generate sufficient lift to make the vehicle dangerously unstable. It is more than likely this story is an Urban myth. Indeed, the myth was seemingly laid to rest when Corsair set World records at Monza (see above), running at 100 mph (160 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 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.


Australia


Between 1989 and 1992, the Corsair name was used by Ford in Australia for a restyled version of the Nissan Pintara (known in development as 'Project Waltzing Matilda'), under a model-sharing scheme known as the Button Plan. Available as a sedan or hatchback, it was intended to replace the Mazda 626-based Ford Telstar, which was imported from Japan. The two were sold side-by-side in the Ford range for a few years, with the Telstar only available as the high-performance TX5 hatchback. When Nissan closed its Australian plant in 1992, the Corsair was dropped and the imported Telstar once again became Ford's offering in the medium size segment, until being replaced by the Mondeo in 1995. The Corsair was available in a 2.0L model (CA20E) and a 2.4L model (KA24E) in GL and Ghia forms.

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