TAUNUS TC TWO-DOOR

Like a Mk3 Cortina, only it’s not....

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words Daniel Be­vis Pho­tos Adrian Bran­nan

The idea of build­ing a ‘world car’ — that is, one that will sell and func­tion ad­e­quately in near-enough all global mar­kets — is a tricky one. Ford at­tempted to tackle this head-on in the early-’90s with the Mon­deo; the clue was right there in the name, ‘Monde’ mean­ing ‘world’ (although it’s fair to say that the US mar­ket only paid lip service to the idea — their ‘Con­tour’ ver­sion shared lit­tle with ours be­yond the door han­dles and some win­dows). The Mon­deo is gen­er­ally cred­ited as be­ing Ford’s se­cond crack at a world car, with the first be­ing the Mk3 Escort of 1980… but per­haps pos­ter­ity is miss­ing a trick here. You see, the TC­gen­er­a­tion Taunus tried to throw its chips on the global-dom­i­na­tion Risk board way back in 1970. De­vel­oped un­der the watch­ful eye of former Gen­eral Mo­tors king­pin turned Ford Mo­tor Com­pany (US) pres­i­dent, Se­mon Knud­sen, it was en­gi­neered along­side its tech­ni­cal sib­ling, the Mk3 Cortina, to work on both sides of the At­lantic as a prac­ti­cal, de­sir­able and af­ford­able mid-size. En­thu­si­asts call the Ger­man-mar­ket cars ‘Knud­sen Taunus’, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

The fun part for UK Ford fans is to revel in the dou­ble-take: there’s a lot of cross­over across the board with the Fords of Bri­tain and those of Ger­many, ev­i­denced by the fuel-in­jected V6s found in 2.8i Capris and the Cologne-built Granadas that cruised Bri­tain’s boule­vards through­out the ’70s and ’80s — but for the sea­soned Bri­tish fan, a trip to a car meet in West­ern Europe can be a bit of an eye-opener, see­ing Fords that were never com­mer­cially avail­able in the UK. The de­sign lan­guage is fa­mil­iar, the driv­e­trains and switchgear all ring a bell, and yet… their clas­sic Ford scene seems some­how like look­ing at our own in a cracked and dis­torted mirror. And cen­tral to this be­fud­dle­ment is the Taunus TC. The crux of it is that, as you can see, the fa­mil­iar body is ac­tu­ally re­ally quite dif­fer­ent in cer­tain key ar­eas. Fur­ther­more, it was avail­able as a rak­ish coupé, which our own Mk3 Cortina was not; Ford of Bri­tain con­sid­ered that niche to be ad­e­quately filled by the Capri, but our Teu­tonic cousins felt that a big­ger, per­haps more up­mar­ket coupé could sit in the model range, too. So they

scythed the back off the Taunus and turned it into a fast­back. But the con­fu­sion con­tin­ues when you look at the two-door sa­loon — pic­ture a two-door Cortina, then over­lay that im­age across the Taunus you see here. Same, but dif­fer­ent. Bit of a mind-ben­der, isn’t it?

TC time

All of this is grist to Timo Jung­michel’s mill, the owner of this sil­ver TC hav­ing been an ob­ses­sive fan of both Corti­nas and Taunuses from day one. “I’ve been nuts about them since I got my driv­ing li­cence,” he grins. “Well, my first car was a Re­nault 4, but I think my friends have for­given me that! I re­placed it with a Mk4 Cortina, which I low­ered and fit­ted with a 2.8i V6. And af­ter I rolled that on a mo­tor­way exit, I bought my first Knud­sen Taunus…”

The ac­ci­dent turned out to be a bless­ing in disguise, par­tic­u­larly if the TC model is your own pre­ferred tip­ple, as the sit­u­a­tion flour­ished and bloomed into a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship for Timo. That first TC was a Day­tona Yel­low ex­am­ple, which he low­ered and fit­ted with a set of time­less 7x13 inch RS four-spokes. A strong look for such a crisply-styled sa­loon, and it clearly marked him out as a con­nois­seur, as while he was out and about driv­ing it in 1993 some­body of­fered him the chance to buy an­other Knud­sen Taunus. A 1975 1300L, to be ex­act, which just so hap­pened to be a one-owner car, it’s el­derly cus­to­dian feel­ing that she should pass it on to an­other car­ing owner. And that car is the very one you see here — although, inevitably, things have changed just a lit­tle bit over the last quar­ter-cen­tury.

“I started to use this Taunus as my win­ter car, to save the yel­low one from the harsh­ness of the weather,” Timo re­calls. But he found him­self grow­ing more and more at­tached to the 1300; “Even­tu­ally I sold the yel­low one and this be­came my main Ford,” he laughs.

Be­fore long, the va­garies of age started to set in un­til, in order to pass the TÜV (Ger­many’s equiv­a­lent of an MoT), it was nec­es­sary to ad­dress some of the tin­worm. Timo fit­ted a new set of front wings and re­placed the rear arches to get it all le­git, and the act of rolling up his sleeves

“AF­TER I ROLLED MY MK4 CORTINA ON A MO­TOR­WAY EXIT, I BOUGHT MY FIRST KNUD­SEN TAUNUS AND THE REST IS HIS­TORY...”

and get­ting stuck into the met­al­work in­spired him to make a few up­grades, too. “I fit­ted a black in­te­rior with Re­caro seats,” he says, “and I also re­placed the en­gine with a 2-litre Pinto, along with the five-speed gear­box from a Sierra.” Starter’s or­ders A new lease of life then, although this turned out to be just the be­gin­ning. Timo’s not ex­actly one to rush into things, but when he gets an idea into his head he likes to see it through prop­erly. Hav­ing smoked about in the TC for an­other 10 years (and re­ally, what’s a decade be­tween friends?), he de­cided to take it off the road, strip it back to bare metal, and build it up from first prin­ci­ples as the dream TC he’d al­ways han­kered for. The stripped shell was per­fected with ev­ery trace el­e­ment of rot chased away be­fore be­ing reshot in the taste­ful shade of me­tal­lic sil­ver you see here. Once it was ready for re­fit­ting, Timo found him­self a full, stock in­te­rior and had it trimmed in blue, which is an in­ef­fa­bly cool fin­ish per­fectly com­ple­mented by the glo­ri­ous blue dash and steer­ing wheel.

Looks like a mag­nif­i­cent venue for boule­vard cruis­ing, doesn’t it?

Don’t go think­ing that this is some se­date boule­vardier though; look in­side that pris­tine en­gine bay and you’ll find that the 2-litre has en­joyed a few al­ter­ations… the ex­pert fin­ger­tips of Gerd Brauneiser have re­built it as a fast-road screamer, boast­ing a sportier cam, a Stage 2 head, and twin 44 IDF carbs, all snarling through a cus­tom stain­less ex­haust and sur­pris­ing peo­ple who are fooled by the Taunus’s rel­a­tively sober ap­pear­ance. In­deed, this is the car’s trump card: aside from the banded steels and sub­tly hun­kered-down stance, there’s lit­tle to give away its dark heart. Most peo­ple as­sume it’s sim­ply a well-looked-af­ter clas­sic. But Timo’s been around this block a few times. This isn’t just a resto — it’s the cul­mi­na­tion of decades of pas­sion.

Same but dif­fer­ent

And how did the Mk3 Cortina/Taunus TC work as a world car? Well, de­spite Knud­sen’s early in­ten­tions it never ac­tu­ally broke Amer­ica… although the plat­form was avail­able in Canada, and the do­mes­tic mar­kets of South Africa, Aus­tralia and even Ja­pan all had their own unique and sub­tly dif­fer­ent ver­sions. But wher­ever you look, you’d be hard pushed to find an­other quite as cool as Timo’s — it’s a less-is-more show­case of pas­sion and crafts­man­ship. A per­fect ex­am­ple of a Cortina, that isn’t ac­tu­ally a Cortina at all.

“ASIDE FROM THE BANDED STEELS AND HUNKEREDDOWN STANCE, THERE’S LIT­TLE TO GIVE AWAY ITS DARK HEART”

The in­te­rior looks pleas­ingly stan­dard, but Timo’s used a mix of fac­tory blue trim and re­cov­ered seats to get this dis­tinc­tively ’70s look.

The TCs front end looks very Mk3 Cortina, but com­pare them side by side and they’re ac­tu­ally quite dif­fer­ent.

Orig­i­nally pow­ered by a 1300 Pinto, there’s now a worked 2-litre in the bay.

The en­gine bay bris­tles with some neat touches like this spun al­loy catch tank.

TC’s rear end styling is very dif­fer­ent to the Mk3 Cortina.

7x13 inch steel with caps are the per­fect look for Timo’s TC.

Timo’s neatly colour-coded the af­ter­mar­ket gauge pod to make it look part of the orig­i­nal in­te­rior.

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