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Homepage. This page: Join Dagenham's Executive class with this restoration-project 1600E Cortina.

Case No.9
Make: Ford
Model: Cortina Mk2 1600E
Year: 1970

Sold on: eBay
Category: Classic Cars
Amber Gold 1600E Cortina on eBay
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Project description.

Since people began collecting and restoring early examples of Ford's Cortina, the Mk2 has tended to languish in the shadow of the previous Mk1, its boxy lines no match for the rakish Thunderbird-inspired styling, rounded off by a pair of "ban the bomb" rear lights, of the first Cortinas. Standing out, and raising the profile of the Mk2 then and now, are three key models - the Cortina-Lotus, the "daddy" of the range in terms of collectability, then a rung or three further down the ladder, the sporting GT and the "Executive" 1600E. The 1600E was to the 1960s range of mid-sized Fords as the "Ghia" spec cars would be to the cars of the 1980s, acting as an aspirational motor to the sales reps that thrashed base-level Mk2s up and down the length of the UK's fledgling motorway network. A vinyl roof, Rostyle wheels, sports steering wheel and smart wooden dash were just some of the identifying features that differentiated the 1600E from its more plebian in-house relations.
Whereas exec-grade cars of today tend to have galvanised bodies and, as a result, find themselves fit for scrap when their complex electronics rather than their shiny suits disintegrate, with Fords and most other cars of the 1960s, it would be terminal body corrosion that would see off most of their number. This particular 1600E, in Amber Gold, sports its fair share of crumbling coachwork, but perhaps the metal moth has not yet taken a full hold, and is - for now - a very restorable motor-car. From thirty feet away it probably looks in decent condition, but the photos and the text of the listing combined, highlight the key areas that - in the vendor's view - will need rectification.
The door bottoms and the outer sills are beginning to bubble up, and the rear arches - which it says have been cobbled up in the past - are corroding away merrily and will undoubtably look pretty grim once the paint and filler (if applicable) have been ground away. Fortunately the corroding corners of the car's bodywork haven't been treated to a tub of Isopon and a quick blow-over prior to sale, so the buyer should have a good idea of what they're getting into. Sill assemblies, door skins, valances and rear arches at the very least will need swift surgery, not surprising really for a car of this age. Trickier to do a good job of I'd imagine are the windscreen pillars, running down to the scuttle area on both sides. At the very least this repair will require the screen to come out, and some nifty re-construction work - not an easy job, especially as the screen and new rubber will need to fit back into the aperture perfectly post-repair. If the visible tinwork in this area is bubbling up badly, it might suggest that the out-of-sight areas of the screen surround are probably worse still.
Established corrosion in seams where panels join up, can be a pig to fully eradicate. One photo shows the slender trim that bridges the join between the vinyl-covered roof, and the rear wing. Rust bubbling up here means that, at the very least, the trim will need removing and the affected steel, depending on how bad it is once the grot has been removed, treated and most likely replaced with hand-formed repair sections. The heat involved with welding in this area could well lead to the vinyl roof needing replacement. Whether one or both sides are similarly-affected isn't clear. What is clear though is that, despite the car having been taxed within recent memory, this isn't going to be a quick restoration. This Ford's buyer will need suitable under-cover accommodation in which to dismantle and work on the car, especially as it will require some of the windows to be removed while repairs are effected.
The interior is in reasonable order, although it's a shame that the 1600E seats are splitting in places. Some research into re-covering them, or replacing them with better examples, will probably be needed as the splits aren't on "natural" joins in the covering. The front inner door trims have also been cut about at some point in the past to accommodate stereo speakers, which is a shame as otherwise they'd probably be re-usable.
Unfortunately there are no under-bonnet shots, so the plated suspension strut tops referred to in the listing cannot be seen, but as it says, factor in repair work on both sides to make things right. The mechanical condition of the car is also unknown, the vendor hasn't had it running, so question marks hover over the condition of the engine, gearbox, back axle in addition to the steering and suspension. The mechanical side of this project though should perhaps be the last thing to worry about, of prime importance IMHO is the bodywork (weighed up against the availability of replacement new or used parts), followed closely by the interior trim if an A1 job is to be made of this car's rebuild.
Happily the car hasn't been subjected to a failed restoration attempt. It's complete, appears to be un-messed with, and wears its condition on its sleeve, warts and all. I'm no Cortina expert (or expert in anything for that matter), but on the face of it for anyone wanting a 1600E that isn't terminally rotten, this one has a fair bit going for it. Try finding a 42 year-old Ford Ka, Fiesta or Puma in years to come that is still in restorable order. Did this Cortina end up being restored?
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