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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR #Ford-Cortina-GT / #Ford-Cortina / #Ford

    Year of manufacture #1964
    Recorded mileage 38,199
    Asking price £23,500
    Vendor Lenham Sports Cars, Harrietsham, Kent; tel: 01622 851309;  http://lenhamsportscars.com

    WHEN IT WAS NEW

    Price £767
    Max power 75bhp
    Max torque 90lb ft
    0-60mph 12.2 secs
    Top speed 92mph
    Mpg 27


    This Cortina was restored from a rot-free 1500GT into a replica of David Seigle-Morris’ 1964-season rally cars. Since completion three years ago, it’s been the property of Lenham owner and keen rallyist Andrew Actman. It has all the right bits but isn’t over the top: lumpier cam, twin Weber 40s and 2000E ratios, plus redrilled front cross member for a little negative camber, and M16 front calipers. The wheels are Lotus Cortina steels with decent and newish Goodyear GT2 rubber with lots of tread. Inside, it has period buckets, with eyes for harnesses but no belts were fitted. The vinyl is all good, bar a couple of tiny holes in the headlining.

    There’s a twin-binnacle dash like the works cars, a Nardi wheel, Paddy Hopkirk throttle-pedal extension and two tripmeters, but the Halda isn’t connected. Twin fuel tanks, the second from an estate, are fitted as on the original cars, plus concave Cibié H4s. The ’screen is laminated, sporting a PhilipYoung tribute sticker – a nice nod to a sadly missed old mate. The pre-crossflow motor is tidy with period-type catch tanks and gauze air cleaners. Its oil is golden and near maximum, while the coolant is full and clear. There’s a heavy-duty alternator and an Ashley exhaust.

    It starts first go, spits though the carbs a little until it’s warm, and is sorted to drive, pulling strongly to 6000rpm with excellent gearchanges and firm brakes. The ride is taut thanks to Polybushes and the car’s a little ‘pointy’, feeling very alive though with no play in the steering. Oil pressure is 55psi at 4000rpm, warm, and the temperature needle, in typical Ford style, rests at the bottom end of ‘N’. It’s probably quicker than an Escort Mexico and more entertaining. Great stuff, and perfect for road rallies. The Cortina will be sold with a huge history file detailing the build and bills, owner’s handbook, lots of literature relating to the original car, plus homologation papers for the GT model and an MoT until May.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Rot-free; good paint and chrome
    INTERIOR Full of period extras
    MECHANICALS Exceptionally well sorted
    VALUE+++++++
    For No issues; ready to enjoy
    Against Beware the Lotus Cortina reshellers, though it’s probably not an issue at this price

    SHOULD I BUYIT?
    You’ve seen where Mexico values are going, so this looks a more affordable alternative – and it’s eligible for pre-’1966 motorsport, too.
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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    STAGE CRAFT

    A specially built life-size model of a #Ford Cortina stars in the West End stage version of the film Made in Dagenham. Martin Gurdon goes behind the scenes to find out more.

    Angel of the north sculptor Anthony Gormley often uses casts of his own body when making his famous statues. Simon Kenny did much the same thing to a Mk2 #Ford-Cortina . Kenny's Souvenir Studios makes sets and props for film, TV and theatre, and was commissioned to work on the Made in Dagenham musical, starring Jemma Arterton, and now running at London's Adel phi Theatre.

    Much of the late-1960s plot takes place in a stylised Dagenham factory, and required a period Cortina. Kenny's search for a rust-free example took him from Crawley to Dumfries. He eventually paid £5500 cash to a man in Kettering, and drove his car back to London, completing the last 15 rush-hour miles stuck in second gear.

    'The vendor parted company with the car with a tear in his eye and said "Look after her". Little did he know!'
    The bodywork was waxed and a full mould taken, then the Mk2 was stripped so that castings of the seats, trim, mechanical parts and running gear could be made. 'Throughout the process we were busy sourcing trims, handles, seven steering wheels and other items' says Kenny. 'It was our intention to keep the car in reasonable condition to sell on.'

    He also had access to spares cleared from the Kettering man's shed, 'to make room for his large Staffordshire Bull terrier'.

    Many of the cast parts were incorporated into giant steel-framed backdrops that resembled Airfix kits. 'The Air fix thing is obviously fun, and all boys of a certain age know about it' says set and costume designer Bunny Christie, who came up with the idea.

    The Adelphi's stage is surprisingly small, with very little space in the wings for storage. Watching the musical, I was gobsmacked at how a fast-moving, 30-strong cast shared it with a whirling selection of ever-changing backdrops, industrial sewing machines on trolleys, bumper cars, a #1947 #CJ27 #Willys-Jeep , what at first sight looks like a spinning Cortina Crayford convertible, and a dancing Harold Wilson - all without bumping into each other.

    'Stages can be dangerous, often dark, noisy places with lots of moving, heavy machinery' says Christie. 'The production becomes like a machine, with everyone moving in exactly the same way, night after night.'

    Top and left. That steering wheel is one of seven that were required for the production; the #Ford-Cortina-Mk2 is a plastic model cast from the real thing; backdrop resembles a giant Airfix kit.

    On close inspection the Cortina is a clever plastic fake. It took four months to build, using the mould taken from the donor car. The door frames are original, but with glassfibre skins, and the seats, steering wheel and switchgear are genuine. Under the floor, hydraulics lower a turntable so the car can spin on its own axis.

    'The Cortina needed to drive on, hit a point on the stage and revolve, then a girl jump out of the boot. It had to take her weight and that of the people in the car when it was revolving, then drive off by itself, and be light enough so it didn't go through the stage' says Christie.

    During one rehearsal the actor piloting it failed to raise the turntable, and found himself stuck, wheels spinning. 'He didn't forget after that' says Christie, for whom the Made In Dagenham project started about a year before the show opened, and involved two or three months of intensive activity in between other work. 'You're designing right up to the deadline' she says.

    You'd expect 3D computer animation to be used, but time constraints mean Christie employs computers, hands-on design and model-making. 'As soon as something's hot off the desk it goes straight to the builders.' Given that a West End theatre that isn't open isn't making money, the workload is intense.

    The stage area itself is gutted to allow bespoke tracks to go in to move the sets and other props, which all had to be craned into the theatre through a small, high, warehouse door that, with the plastic-bodied fake Cortina, was the source of some anxiety. Interestingly, one of Bunny Christie's favourite props is the jeep.

    'With its original plain colour and markings, that's a really lovely thing,' says Christie. 'As the heart of the story is the factory, there's something about having multiples of stuff. It doesn't work unless all the bits work together. That's what it's like to work on a show, and it was a fun thing to get to grips with.'

    As for the dismembered car that made all this possible: 'What was left of the original Cortina body and a medium-sized van of parts has been sold to a family in West Yorkshire, to be restored once again' says Simon Kenny.
    So, apparently, no Ford Cortinas were hurt in the making of this musical.

    Above, left and below. Creating the giant 'Airfix' kits off-site ready for the production - and the plastic Cortina too; the donor car came from Kettering after months of searching nationwide.
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