When it comes to com­plet­ing show-wor­thy project cars, the Ebbs fam­ily have got it sussed, with a con­stant stream of clas­sics com­ing out of their home garage. Here’s how they do it.

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS -

Meet the Ebbs’ sta­ble of stun­ners.

You know how the of­ten-overused say­ing goes: if you want a thing done well, do it your­self. Well, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, that’s not quite true. We’ve seen more than a few clas­sic Ford projects over the mag­a­zine’s 21-year his­tory, and the most-suc­cess­ful — the ones that are fin­ished — have al­most al­ways been put to­gether with the help and sup­port of friends, and most-im­por­tantly fam­ily.

The Ebbs — in­clud­ing Dad Tom, and sons, Tom and Matt know all about this. For the last eight years they’ve been turn­ing out a steady stream of crack­ing re­builds from their mod­est, home­built garage, and they are all the re­sult of work­ing to­gether — and play­ing to each other’s strengths. “Dad’s the best at weld­ing, while I’m good with wiring and the EFi stuff,” reck­ons Matt who works as an aero­space en­gi­neer. “Tom can turn his hand to most things, but is par­tic­u­larly good at prob­lem solv­ing. Be­tween us, there isn’t a lot we can’t do.”

The proof in the pud­ding lies be­fore you. The Ebbs have a fine sta­ble of clas­sic Fords, with two cur­rently on the road and the re­main­der in progress, and they’re all con­stantly evolv­ing, too — but al­ways with a plan be­hind them. Which, the Ebbs re­veal, is one of their se­crets to com­plet­ing a project.

So, if you’ve ever opened the garage door, took one look at that longterm project gath­er­ing dust and felt like shut­ting the door again, take a leaf out of the Ebbs’ book, get the teas on the go, get ev­ery­one stuck in, and we’ll see the re­sults at next year’s Clas­sic Ford Show.

In the mean­time, take a look at the Ebbs’ cur­rent col­lec­tion of projects, and get in­spired..


Alan’s Mk1 Cortina

This Mk1 has a spe­cial place in the Ebbs house­hold, in part be­cause it helped kick­start the fam­ily’s pas­sion for turn­ing out project car af­ter project car, but Alan’s in­ter­est in Fords goes back way be­fore this one came on the scene.

“My el­dest brother, Peter was a few years older than me, and when he was 17, he started buy­ing and sell­ing cars to earn a bit of beer money. This was in the early ’70s and so they would quite of­ten be Mk1 and Mk2 Corti­nas and Anglias. He had a dif­fer­ent car ev­ery week­end, and I started help­ing him re­pair them. One re­ally stood out, though — a four-door Mk1 GT. It was red with a gold stripe and it was lovely — that’s what got me hooked on Mk1s.”

Life then got in the way, but in the early ’90s, Alan came across this Cortina. “I’m a lorry driver and be­ing so high up in the cab, I’m al­ways see­ing in­ter­est­ing stuff be­hind hedges, like this 1200 Deluxe which was Good­wood Green at the time. I knocked on the door, and the owner told me it wouldn’t start. I towed it home and found out why — the en­gine had no com­pres­sion, you could spin it over by hand. I got hold of an­other 1200 and ran around in the car for a year, but then blew that one up, and with so much work to do on the house, I parked it up in the gar­den. But I al­ways knew I wanted to do it up prop­erly when the time was right.”

That time came in the late ’90s when the clas­sic Ford scene as we know it now was just tak­ing off. “You couldn’t buy the pan­els that eas­ily then, so I ended up mak­ing them. The floors, wings, in­ner wings, rear chas­sis rails and boot floor were all rot­ten — I knew it was never go­ing to be orig­i­nal again, so I thought I might as well make the car how I wanted it.”

Alan’s wants list in­cluded us­ing the Cos­worth 24-valve V6 en­gine.

“Ev­ery­one said it wouldn’t fit, and well, that was like a red rag to a bull to me. I bought an ex-po­lice Granada Scor­pio for £400 and took the en­gine out of that — and I made it fit. I couldn’t af­ford to buy a lot of off-the-shelf parts so I made or adapted my own — the swirl pot for the fuel sys­tem, for ex­am­ple, is a cut-down fire ex­tin­guisher, and the fuel filler is from a Har­ley-David­son. I’ve al­ways been able to weld, so I just worked it all out and did it.” Un­sur­pris­ingly, the Type-9 five-speed that Alan orig­i­nally bolted up be­hind the 24-valve en­gine didn’t last long, so there’s an MT75 ’box in its place, and he now has a su­per-re­li­able pack­age that’s proved per­fect for road runs and track days that the Cortina gets used for.

“I’d like to put an­other ECU and get it mapped prop­erly at some point, but I’m happy with it as it is — for now...”

Matt’s Mk1 Fi­esta

Not many of us can claim to still own their first car — most died a death due to tin­worm, crash-dam­age or be­ing thrashed mer­ci­lessly not long af­ter we got them. But Matt is still proud to own his, and like Alan’s Cortina, it’s be­come very much part of the Ebbs fam­ily.

“It was my to­tally-stan­dard daily-driver while I was at sixth form,” says Matt, “then I got an ap­pren­tice­ship which was too far to com­mute with­out killing the 1.1, so I bought some­thing else and this be­came a project. I’d al­ways wanted a Mk1 af­ter see­ing so many of them at the Clas­sic Ford Show.”

“The first mod was a set of Su­per­sport rims, but as I started earn­ing more money, I got car­ried away,” he con­tin­ues. “Af­ter a cou­ple of months I bought a com­plete Mon­deo for £800 and took the 1800 Zetec out of it, and with the help of Tom and Dad, fit­ted it along with the stan­dard in­jec­tion. It wasn’t quite pokey enough though, so there’s a 2-litre in there now on Yamaha R1 throt­tle bodies with a Me­gaSquirt ECU. The en­gine’s based around the ST170 bot­tom end with a ported Black Top head — it took three-and-a-half tanks of fuel to map it, but it goes like the clap­pers.”

Nat­u­rally, Matt’s up­graded the sus­pen­sion and brakes to suit (based around GAZ and XR2 com­po­nents), and those gold/an­thracite Com­po­mo­tive CXs are a re­cent ad­di­tion. “I was go­ing to re­paint them grey, but the colour’s grown on me.”

Orig­i­nally a Bravo II, a pre­vi­ous owner had sprayed the once-sil­ver bot­tom half to repli­cate the Car­di­nal Red top and re­moved the de­cals, but the Mk1 does still have its unique Bravo in­te­rior trim, and in great shape too. “I’m kind of happy with the Fi­esta with how it is right now, but I’m plan­ning to re­wire the en­gine bay over the win­ter and once the bulk of the work on the Cor­sair is done, the Fi­esta will be re­sprayed — I’ve al­ready sourced a pair of good doors to re­place the orig­i­nals which are start­ing to go. I also need to pull the gear­box out this week­end — it’s a diesel IB5 one which I fit­ted with an RS Turbo vis­cous LSD, which I bought un­known and it’s not quite right. It never stops, does it?”

Tom’s Pop 100E

Of all the Ebbs’ projects, it’s Tom’s Pop which has taken the long­est — eight years and count­ing — and there­fore is the sub­ject of much rib­bing from Alan and Matt.

“I bought this when I was 18 af­ter cut­ting my teeth on karts and then Mi­nis,” says Tom. “It was to­tally stan­dard and com­plete, but wear­ing the same coat of red ox­ide primer it has now, when I got it. I spent half a day on get­ting it ready for an MoT, and used it as my daily for five months. Then one night, five-up and com­ing home from a night­club in the early hours, the en­gine de­vel­oped the death rat­tle, so I took it to bits...”

With the side­valve en­gine out, Tom mea­sured up a 1300 Cross­flow but not want­ing to notch the bulk­head to fit it, cut the orig­i­nal one out and moved it back in­stead to re­tain a fac­tory look — fit­ting a 105E axle and Es­cort front sus­pen­sion at the same time.

As time went on, the plans changed though, and af­ter weigh­ing up both Zetec and Du­ratec en­gines, he’s go­ing to use the Lo­tus twin-cam (“The guy in the work­shop next to me builds them”), with the ex­te­rior look equally clas­sic — blood red paint and Lo­tus steels.

With Tom re­cently start­ing his own clas­sic race car prepa­ra­tion out­fit (Ebbs Clas­sic & Com­pe­ti­tion) mainly build­ing Lo­tus Elans, the Pop project has stalled while he con­cen­trates on the de­mand­ing busi­ness, but with a space in the cor­ner of his work­shop re­cently open­ing up, there’s talk of putting the Pop there, and work­ing on it in-be­tween other jobs. “It’s go­ing to hap­pen, it’s just the fin­ish date has moved!”

Alan’s Anglia 105E

Shin­ing like a Bel­isha Bea­con on the drive­way is Alan’s re­cently-painted An­gle­box, fin­ished in a VW orange with a con­trast­ing black roof, and 6 inch Rev­o­lu­tion four-spokes. “I bought that as an un­fin­ished project,” says Alan. “It was a rolling shell with ev­ery­thing off it in boxes, along with the run­ning gear from a Capri 2.8i, but I didn’t want that so was able to sell it on and re­coup some of the cost.”

In­stead, Alan’s go­ing in a more tra­di­tional di­rec­tion. “I’ve al­ways wanted a clas­sic-spec road

car, and I got lucky when I met a guy while out in the Cortina who told me about a Lo­tus twin-cam bot­tom end in his shed.” Sure enough, that ended up in the Ebbs’ garage and af­ter a re­fresh has gone into the Anglia with a worked 1500 Pre-Cross­flow head, along with a 2000E gear­box. Mk2 Cortina struts (con­verted to coil-overs) re­place the drum brake-equipped orig­i­nals, along with ad­justable track con­trol arms, while at the rear Alan’s keep­ing the lever arm dampers.

Alan’s about to make a start of the in­te­rior, not that there will be much of it. “I’ll fit some low­back buck­ets, but there wont be a rear seat — I don’t like pas­sen­gers!”

Matt’s Cor­sair


“With the Fi­esta back on the road, I wanted some­thing new to re­store, and prefer­ably from the ’60s,” says Matt. He’s al­ways liked the shape of the Cor­sair, so the hunt was one for a suit­able project, with Matt even­tu­ally buy­ing this one as a more-or-less com­plete car from Grimsby. “It’s a 1700 auto Deluxe, but I didn’t want the run­ning gear, so the seller sold the Es­sex V4 and ’box on sep­a­rately, sav­ing me some money.”

Matt was keen to im­prove his weld­ing and fab­ri­ca­tion skills too, and for­tu­nately this Cor­sair has proved ideal for that, be­ing rusty in all the usual places, and some un­usual ones, too — prob­a­bly due to its pre­vi­ous home by the sea. “As soon as we got it home I stripped it down and sent the shell off to be shot­blasted,” says Matt, “and it came back with more rot than I was ex­pect­ing. There were two over­sills cover­ing up the orig­i­nals, and the front floor­pans had gone. I’ve re­placed those and with win­ter on the way, will be able to spend more time in the garage work­ing through the trick­ier bits. I’m find­ing it dif­fi­cult sourc­ing some of the pan­els, so a lot of the sec­tions we’ve ended up mak­ing, but we sold an en­gine to a guy in Glas­gow re­cently, and it turns out he’s into his Cor­sairs, and he’s hope­fully go­ing to help us track down some of them.”

You may well have guessed that Matt isn’t plan­ning to re­store it back to stan­dard. “I’ll let in Capri strut tops so that we can run a rack set-up,” says Matt. “And Dad has a cou­ple of spare 24-valve en­gines in the cor­ner of the garage so I toyed with the idea of us­ing one, but then I got of­fered a 1600 Eco­Boost. The plan is to get that in and run­ning with an RX8 six-speed be­hind it. And the colour? “It was ma­roon which I liked, but there’s a Range Rover shade, a bit like Cherry Red, that I think will work re­ally well. Along with gun­metal grey steels, it’ll look the busi­ness.” The Ebbs fam­ily would like to thank Mark Vasper, Des and Dan at Pit­stop, and Stu­art Mar­tin at SWM Paint­work for all their help with the projects.


Words Si­mon Wool­ley Pho­tos Dan Sher­wood

In­te­rior is a clas­sic mix of pe­riod orig­i­nal and parts from later Fords, like the seats which are more suited to track days.

De­spite be­ing told it wouldn’t fit, Alan dropped the 24-valve V6 in the Cortina’s en­gine bay, and with min­i­mall cut­ting, too.

Orig­i­nal fuel tank re­placed by a larger Capri item mounted over the axle for bet­ter trac­tion. Swirl pot is a cut-down fire-ex­tin­guisher...

Fi­esta still re­tains its Bravo in­te­rior, with a few ex­tras.

Cus­tom tailpipes exit from the cen­tre of the valance.

Com­po­mo­tive wheels aside, Matt’s kept the Mk1’s ex­te­rior fairly sub­tle. A full re­spray is the next job.

2-litre Zetec is Matt’s lat­est en­gine of choice, fu­elled by Yamaha throt­tle bodies, with a Me­gaSquirt ECU.

The Pop has be­come a longterm project for Tom, but he has a plan and is adamant it will get back on the road.

Dif­fer­ent an­gle... Tom planned to run a Cross­flow in the 100E, but is now hell­bent on us­ing a Lo­tus twin-cam.

VW orange shade re­ally sets off the Anglia’s clas­sic lines.

The shot­blasted Cor­sair shell has proved ideal for im­prov­ing Matt’s weld­ing and fab­ri­ca­tion skills.

There’s rot in the Cor­sair where you’d ex­pect, but like most old Fords, in a few odd places like the lower rear bulk­head.

Matt’s weighed up a few en­gines, and is go­ing Eco­Boost.

1500 Pre-Cross­flow is based on a Lo­tus bot­tom end.

Alan’s mak­ing a start on fit­ting up the Anglia’s in­te­rior.

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