Mods and Con­se­quences

Ford Cortina MkIV/ V

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Richard Dredge

‘You can t a Zetec or Du­ratec en­gine straight out of a Mon­deo’

The Cortina MkIV ar­rived in Septem­ber 1976 with a choice of 1.3-, 1.6- or 2.0-litre four-cylin­der en­gines, in sa­loon or es­tate con­fig­u­ra­tions. The car looked all-new but it was ef­fec­tively a facelifted Cortina MkIII, with the me­chan­i­cals car­ried over.

A year later a 2.3-litre Cologne V6 joined the range, with power steer­ing and firmer sus­pen­sion. A facelift in Au­gust 1979 led to Ford an­nounc­ing a new Cortina (MkV) but the changes were only cos­metic – there were no me­chan­i­cal up­dates at all.

While the 1.6- and 2.0-litre cars have over­head cam Pinto en­gines the 1.3-litre is the over­head valve Kent unit. Most sur­viv­ing Corti­nas have a 1300 or 1600 en­gine, but there are some V6s around. All have tun­ing po­ten­tial, and be­cause the Cortina’s en­gine bay is so spa­cious you can fit pretty much any­thing you like.

Using a 1.6- or 2.0-litre unit as your start point makes sense, es­pe­cially the lat­ter. You can then tune this in all sorts of ways (ex­haust, fu­elling, tweaked cylin­der head, etc) – or you could fit a Cos­worth YB Turbo pow­er­plant which you can tune to just about what­ever out­put you want.

If you’re start­ing with a 2.3 V6 it’s easy enough to fit a 2.8i unit in­stead – although it makes more sense to just go for the later 2.9i lump, which in 24-valve Cos­worth form gives you 195bhp with­out any tweaks. Al­ter­na­tively you can fit a Zetec or Du­ratec en­gine straight out of a Mon­deo – the bits are read­ily avail­able to con­vert it from front- to rear-wheel drive, too.

In terms of trans­mis­sions you can eas­ily fit a Type 9, MT75 or Borg­Warner T5 gear­box and there’s a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­en­tial ra­tios avail­able. If you’re go­ing for power over­load, it’s worth opt­ing for a lim­ited-slip unit for about £800. You can in­stall the in­ter­nals from a Capri unit into your Cortina back axle, but as the cas­ings aren’t the same you can’t just fit the Capri item whole­sale.

FULL OF FUEL The 2.0’s twin-choke We­ber car­bu­ret­tor works well, but the VV carb on the 1.3- and 1.6-litre en­gines is un­re­li­able. Most have al­ready been con­verted but you can sim­ply fit the in­jec­tion sys­tem from a Sierra or Granada en­gine. BrEATHE FrEE None of the Cortina’s var­i­ous en­gines breathe that freely. A tubu­lar man­i­fold and up­rated air fil­ter are eas­ily and cheaply fit­ted but if your pock­ets are deeper it’s worth go­ing for a mod­i­fied cylin­der head. BrAKE UP Capri 2.8i ven­ti­lated front disc brakes bolt straight on. There are lots of af­ter­mar­ket op­tions, with prices right up to £1000. You can fit a rear disc con­ver­sion with­out much dif­fi­culty – not that it’s re­ally needed. inTO GEAr The clas­sic five-speed con­ver­sion – a Type 9 trans­mis­sion from a Sierra, Capri or Granada – is a straight swap on the 2.0-litre. You’ll need a 2.0-litre clutch, prop­shaft plus an au­to­matic gear­box cross­mem­ber. GET As­sis­TAnCE Fancy power as­sisted steer­ing? You’ll have to use the parts from a Cortina V6 be­cause Granada bits won’t fit, and those V6 parts are get­ting very hard to find. A used rack costs £150, or £300 re­con­di­tioned. sUs­PEnD BE­LiEF If you’re on a bud­get fo­cus more on the dampers than the springs. A pair of Gaz dampers costs £120; Spax items are £90 apiece. A pair of new springs costs just £30-35, with var­i­ous op­tions to lower the car and stiffen things up. BUsH TriAL £200+ £50+ £300+ £300+ £300-£500 £240+ £350 Fit­ting polyurethane bushes re­ally tight­ens up the steer­ing and sus­pen­sion. The orig­i­nals will be in poor con­di­tion by now and poly items are far eas­ier to get hold of than the orig­i­nal fac­to­ry­fit­ted rub­ber items.

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