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Thread: Thinking about rebuilding my Dad's old racing Cortina

  1. #1
    Meh
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    Thinking about rebuilding my Dad's old racing Cortina

    Looks at the photos of his old racing car in that thread nearly brought a tear to my eyes and I'd really like to do something big for him in his later years (he's 84) so I was thinking that if he could drive that old Cortina again he'd be so happy.
    We've got a Winnebago motorhome that's for sale and so have some cash .... I'd like to keep the budget to about ten grand if possible though.

    I've still got the engine here ..... well about 90% of it ... but nothing else. I had a poke around for Mk1 Cortinas last night and found what I think might be a suitable one within driving distance.
    It had a Ford top loader gearbox (close-ratio I think) and a narrowed Ford 9" diff. The rest was hand-made.
    From the various stories I've heard about it, the engine was set back as far as possible, to the point where most of the firewall was gone - Not so good for chassis rigidity (he didn't know about that stuff back then) and also made it a tad loud inside the cabin so I'd have to stiffen it up with a cage somehow and fit a proper exhaust to it. The radiator was a big one and sat horizontally in the boot, I guess it'd need a set of fans to keep the air blowing over it when the car is going fast. Though looking at the photos of it, it seems to have a radiator in the front ... ?

    He also didn't know much about suspension or care a lot about stopping so it had really crappy suspension and quite poor stoppers. That's largely fixable these days with more modern gear but it'd never handle well with that big lump up the front. It looks like he was running 13" wheels on the front and the same or maybe 14" on the back so huge brakes are out of the question, but it's never going to be seriously raced so whatever brakes fit into a 13" wheel would be enough.

    I can tell him that you guys are interested in finding out more about it and so ask him some more details about it so we can piece together how it was made to reproduce it as best I can.

    Okay with the engine I've got the block, heads & gear, pistons, rods, cam, inlet manifold & carby, and some other bits & pieces here. They've been sitting around for decades so I don't know how good they are; The pistons should be fine but I think the rods might have too much surface rust to be re-usable and also the bores of the block. They got a protective coating on them many years back but again I think they might need to be bored a touch to clean them up enough to be usable .... this means the existing pistons can't be used so it'd have to be either bore the block and get new pistons or get a good block, dunno which would be cheaper. It's pretty much just a hotted-up road engine that makes about 450 hp or so, so getting parts for it should be pretty easy.

    I guess the top loader gearbox should be pretty easy to get?
    No idea about the narrowed 9" diff, guess not too difficult either?

    It'd need a reasonable cage to tie what's left of the body together.









    I'm prepared to put my other projects back in the queue to do this.

    So what do you guys reckon?

  2. #2
    Chrome bumper cunts! Soopy's Avatar
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    Do it. If I were closer I'd help out.

    A 9" should be easy enough. A mate of mine just got one of a facebook group for $200 already cut down to suit a VL Commodore, sans centre.
    Last edited by Soopy; 26-08-14 at 08:05 AM.
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    anyone? MRMOPARMAN's Avatar
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    Emissions Friendly VW Sloth's Avatar
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    easily do able mate. plenty of cortys about.

  5. #5
    arboreal bukkake briney's Avatar
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    go for it bill. what happened to the original?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by briney View Post
    go for it bill. what happened to the original?
    He pulled it apart with the intention of putting the mechanicals into a Capri, as with the longer wheelbase it'd handle better. But that was in the early 70's and he started to build our huge house at Benowa so racing was given away to do that. The shell of the Cortina sat out the back of the yard and rusted away. I can't remember what happened to it but I guess it was cut-up and dumped. For a while I can remember the big rear wing and extractors being around the house, but they are gone now as well.

  7. #7
    Chopped BigMuz's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good plan Bill.
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  8. #8
    Hungry Hungry Hippo Tripper's Avatar
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    I say do it, and i'm interested in hearing more about how he built and done various things, no doubt some of them would be dodgy by todays standard and others being the right way to do things even till this day.
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  9. #9
    "The bitches, are wet" Sketchy's Avatar
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    Absolutely do it, but if possible do it so that it can actually be used for something other than just having the old boy do a lap of the block.

    I think it would be an even better present to him if you can enjoy it long after he is unable too.
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  10. #10
    Non Compos Mentos Gammaboy's Avatar
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    Do it - I wouldn't improve it much over what it originally was though - otherwise it becomes a homage, instead of a replica...
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  11. #11
    Slanted big_pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post
    Absolutely do it, but if possible do it so that it can actually be used for something other than just having the old boy do a lap of the block.

    I think it would be an even better present to him if you can enjoy it long after he is unable too.
    x2

    Would love to see the build too

  12. #12
    Registered User dat2kman's Avatar
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    It'd be a Sports Sedan?
    I reckon its too modified to be Appendix J ( group N touring)!
    Then, maybe, do a period restoration,, CAMS has a category called Group U, this is for Historic Sports Sedans up until December 1985.
    All you need to do is present the car in whatever form it was, at a race meet up until that date.
    I have a fully resto'd Group U RX7, it represents a November 1985 spec as it was when it raced at Lakeside.

    Give it whatever it needs, to be as competitive as it can be.
    HRCC Qld accepts entries for Group U cars, at its Historic meetings, as does the clubs in SA and Tas, NSW and Vic are a bit slow in accepting Group U.

    Here's the fun bit,,,, Group U have to run with Group C and A Touring cars !

    To do the CAMS Historic logbook, and COD ( certificate of description) you need photographic evidence, race meeting prorgrams, time sheets, race result sheets, its old logbooks.
    For just one meeting. The Proof pics often had dates on them, that will coincide with race dates in the logbook.
    Happy to assist and guide in the process, have done a few others.

    Other benefit, it becomes a genuine bit of Australian history, documented, and it may result from an increase in value.
    if you get this far after reading the above, good on you!
    If i make spelling mistakes, syntax errors, or just mss letters in words, it is because i am lw vision/vision impaired.
    Dont drive or race no more. Bit of a cunt of a thing.
    I cant see what keys my fingers hit when i type.
    Its called Cone and Rod Dystrophy, un fixable, i get worse, its a hereditary cunt f a thing.

  13. #13
    Registered User dat2kman's Avatar
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    And, i'm sure you told me, a few years ago, at Mt Cootha Historic Hillclimb, that your dad still had that rusty old remains of that racing car, under a tarp, put the back of the chookshed, for all these years,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Waiting for a rebuild,,,,,,
    if you get this far after reading the above, good on you!
    If i make spelling mistakes, syntax errors, or just mss letters in words, it is because i am lw vision/vision impaired.
    Dont drive or race no more. Bit of a cunt of a thing.
    I cant see what keys my fingers hit when i type.
    Its called Cone and Rod Dystrophy, un fixable, i get worse, its a hereditary cunt f a thing.

  14. #14
    Registered User MartyRX2's Avatar
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    Maybe farm out various parts of the build to other guys on here? Fortnightly working bee/BBQ/pissup?

  15. #15
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    Do it! Small aside here; I reckon that Torana at rear of 3rd shot is one R.Johnson in what I think was the first of his many Torrys........

  16. #16
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    Yep do it - have access to plenty of Mk 1 parts if you need anything, glass, panels, interior etc.
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  17. #17
    Registered User dave1600's Avatar
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    Do it, and do it NOW !

    A few years back, I had plans of taking one of my Datto Sports over to dad's place and building a Group S racer in his garage. Dad would have only been able to sit and watch / offer advice / chat etc due to old age, the idea was more to give him an interest and spend time with him.

    I never found the time to do it.

    Dad is in a nursing home with dementia now.

    I wish I had made the time.
    Last edited by dave1600; 26-08-14 at 11:06 AM.

  18. #18
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    build it, don't tell him you are building it.

  19. #19
    Moderator Cal's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Excessive NOx Emitter Mr Flibberty Gibbets's Avatar
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    Subscribing.

    I think it's a great idea. The journey will outweigh the cost.

    All the best with it.

  21. #21
    Still Rotating... Eeyore's Avatar
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    Do it! I'll offer my help if you want a working bee of people as the project progresses. It would help keep costs down too. A decent cage would be essential to help stiffen everything up. Steel wheels can easily be widened so that will make the rolling stock quite affordable. There must be numerous off the shelf brake upgrades for the front to suit smaller rims as these cars have such a global cult following. You could probably retain the big 9" drums again to keep costs down.
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    shit cunt if you dont
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  23. #23
    BEEEEEEEEES! Skompa's Avatar
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    Can help out with cage if it comes near Vic at all

  24. #24
    Registered User Falc&Send's Avatar
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    Regarding the rusty rods, they should clean up as good as new after a pickle acid bath at your local engine shop. I used to work at a brake shop andwe'd have to source second-hand brake drums for odball cars that come in and some drums look like they had been sitting in a sheep paddock for 20 years and after putting them in the next door engine shop's pickle acid overnight they came out looking near new. Obviously then you would need to machine them to suit whatever size bearings you were going to use.
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  25. #25
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    Wow! Thanks blokes.
    Once I can get a reasonable shell it's all go-ahead with it I reckon. Dad's birthday is the 28th of April so with a shitload of work it might be possible to get it going by then. I'd really like to sit him on the back patio, tell him to say there then go down to the workshop and drive it up to watch his face when he sees it.
    I guess I can start looking at engine & drivetrain bit soon, and suspension/brakes as well. The shell will come when it comes.

    More as I think of it ....

  26. #26
    anyone? MRMOPARMAN's Avatar
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    instant ban if you dont
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  27. #27
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    I was going to say he'd fall off his chair, but that is quite easy to do with your outdoor furniture.

  28. #28
    weirdo F|sh's Avatar
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    Sounds good bill actually fantastic.

  29. #29
    Grumpy prick SteveL's Avatar
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    Look here...

    http://www.corner-carvers.com/forums...t=43283&page=2

    Yeah, it's a Capri, but should give you some ideas on extending the engine bay of a Cortina...
    Last edited by SteveL; 26-08-14 at 02:50 PM. Reason: correcting the page I wanted Bill to see...
    SteveL

  30. #30
    Non Compos Mentos Gammaboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveL View Post
    Look here...

    http://www.corner-carvers.com/forums...t=43283&page=3

    Yeah, it's a Capri, but should give you some ideas on extending the engine bay of a Cortina...
    I love that thing!
    "Where can we get hold of a Vincent Black Shadow?" "Whats that?" "A fantastic bike," I said. "The new model is something like two thousand cubic inches, developing two hundred brake-horsepower at four thousand revolutions per minute on a magnesium frame with two styrofoam seats and a total curb weight of exactly two hundred pounds."

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