The motorways of the Sixties were very different to how they are today. The Ford Corsair sped down the empty roads and cut through the air with its American looks. Even more so today, the Corsair stands out from bland European boxes that queue in traffic jams. Kent engines and mini-Thunderbird looks proved the Corsair had style, sportiness and reliability all in one package. Bag yourself a good one now.
Ford Corsair 2 Litre
Torque 120lb ft@3000rpm
Top speed 100mph
Gearbox 4-speed manual
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Doors are particularly susceptible to rust, so it’s well worth having a look for bubbles and signs of corrosion. While you’re there remember to check rust in the boot floor and the sills as well, as these were often used as company cars and have had a hard life. Only Deluxe and GT models had brightwork, but some standard models may have had it added. Scratched chromework is common, but replacement parts on eBay come up regularly so it may be worth buying smaller parts rather than re-chroming them.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
The Corsair was available in 1.5, 1.7 and 2.0-litre engines, but they had a reputation for underwhelming performance, so it’s important to look out for modifications. Although some modifications like changing to Weber 32 DIF carbs can be useful, it’s worth examining any mods, to make sure they’re well maintained. Although the Corsair is generally quite reliable, maintenance is key. Engine oil should be changed every 5000 miles, and valve rocker clearances should be checked at the same interval. When checking the oil levels (recommended every 300 miles), if oil consumption reaches more than 1 pint per 300 miles cylinder bores or rings are worn and need replacing.
Disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear provide more than ample stopping power. 2.0-litre cars come with an additional boost to the hydraulic system by using the engine inlet manifold to provide greater braking power with less pedal effort. Rear brakes should be replaced every 5000 miles, but front discs can last up to 10,000. Watch out for excessive play in the steering, it could mean the track control arms need replacing. If the steering is particularly stiff this could be incorrect wheel alignment (a common fault.)
The Corsair lived up to its upmarket image by having luxuries like childproof rear door locks, built-in seat belt anchorages and a heater as standard. As the Cortina shared so much of its DNA with the Corsair it’s only normal parts should be interchangeable. Cortina seats and steering wheels are commonplace in Corsairs as they just bolt straight on. All cars from 1967 onwards came with a wood veneer dash, but many have been changed back to black vinyl from earlier models. It’s worth trying to stick with original parts to maximise your resell value.
A printed circuit board inside the instrument panel was proudly displayed by Ford, making it the first car to do so. It can come in handy when locating broken or faulty wires that can cause things like the fuel gauge to register incorrectly. Loose fan belts can result in batteries going flat as it can cause the dynamo to revolve too slowly, and therefore won’t provide enough energy to power the battery. Electrical problems tend to manifest themselves within the cabin, but can stretch to the engine, as there can be ignition problems caused by faulty wiring.
Do you want a classic Ford with American-influenced design, married to European road handling and build quality? The Corsair is the perfect coupling of Ford’s main interests, Europe and America. Our people may be different but Ford’s dominance in both markets shone through in the Corsair, making this middle market Ford anything from middle of the road.