Mods and Consequences
Ford Cortina MkIV/ V
‘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.