Myth Buster

Ford Cor­sair

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Contents - Richard Gunn

1IT WAS DE­SIGNED BY THE SAME BLOKE WHO DID THE ED­SEL

Roy Brown was the man be­hind the Ford Ed­sel, one of the great­est au­to­mo­bile flops of all time. Fol­low­ing that calamity, Roy found him­self ex­iled from Detroit to Da­gen­ham where he even­tu­ally re­deemed him­self as Ford’s UK head of de­sign. He’s of­ten cred­ited with pen­ning the Cor­sair, but that ac­co­lade be­longs to de­signer Charles Thomp­son, who re­worked a stretched Cortina tem­plate into a model that suc­cess­fully re­placed the clumsy Con­sul Clas­sic.

2IT WAS A BRI­TISH THUN­DER­BIRD

Yes, the Cor­sair does bear a dis­tinct re­sem­blance to the cigar­shaped third gen­er­a­tion Ford Thun­der­bird, which went out of pro­duc­tion in 1963, the year the Bri­tish Ford was launched. Thus this US cruiser is of­ten cited as the in­spi­ra­tion for the Cor­sair. Ex­cept, ac­cord­ing to Charles Thomp­son, it wasn’t con­scious. ‘If anything, it was more the Ger­man Taunus 17M,’ he says. ‘ There’s al­ways ideas in your head and, sedi­tiously, they get af­fected by what else is go­ing on. It did suc­cess­fully trans­late the Cortina up­mar­ket.’

3 COR­SAIR NAME IS A NOD TO LIVER­POOL

A 1963 launch press re­lease is to blame. The car was the first fresh model built at Ford’s new Hale­wood, Mersey­side, plant. ‘Much of Liver­pool’s pros­per­ity stemmed in­di­rectly from the cor­sairs, the proud, swash­buck­ling pi­rates of the Bar­bary Coast,’ wrote a mar­ket­ing per­son. ‘Now the Con­sul Cor­sair, as proud and tough as its name­sakes, will help bring a dif­fer­ent pros­per­ity to Liver­pool.’ In re­al­ity, the Ford was co­de­named Project Buc­ca­neer dur­ing its de­vel­op­ment and Cor­sair seemed a log­i­cal enough pro­gres­sion. Ford was very fond of the let­ter ‘C’ dur­ing the 1960s.

So, not an Ed­sel, or a Thun­der­bird, or a proud, swash­buck­ling pi­rate.

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