::: Jim's 1969 1600E:::
My obsession with Cortinas began when I was 17, and stumbled across a decomposing MK1 which I bought and restored to some degree of road worthiness. I'd always been a fan of the Mk1 'tina, with its 60s styling and amazingly cool back lights. I never really liked the MK2 and always thought it was very plain and boxy in comparison. However, as I became more of a Cortina anorak, the prospect of owning a MK2 1600E seemed ever more appealing, after all as far as Cortinas are concerned it is without doubt, the puppies plums. Having driven the MK1 for about two years, it eventually met its fate, when a blond bird in a nova lost concentration, and ploughed in to me.
When I got the insurance money through, I knew I had no choice but to track down a 1600E. I wanted one which ideally hadn't been ragged to death, by some toothless simpleton, boy racer. Eventually I found one belonging to an elderly gentleman up in Bridlington. The beauty of this car was that it had never been tampered with, it even had its plastic washer bag and had operated washer pump. For £900 the car was mine and after promptly loosing the 'Dog is for Christmas' sticker, and comedy 70s tinted windscreen strip, I was in business.
To be fair, it didn't look like much initially, since the old man, for reasons best known to himself, had brush painted the car with household emulsion. Luckily the body was practically perfect, with no rust or filler, so after replacing the bonnet (which was a bit dodgy), I wasted no time sorting out a new paint job. When the car was returned to me, it looked stunning, with tonnes of gleaming lacquer, I couldn't believe it was the same car.
I have done little by way of modification. I lowered the suspension about one inch all round using MK1 Escort RS2000 springs, and lowering blocks, with re-tempered springs at the back. The car is pretty nippy as standard, even by today's standards, it gives as good as it gets.
I have several things lined up on my 'things to do' list: replace the
dynamo with an alternator, Fit a servo to the braking system, fit a 5
speed sierra gear box, fit a K&N air filter. None of these are
radical mods, but I reckon each would be significant improvements to the
car, with the exception of the air filter, but lets be fair, have you
seen the standard one? The 1600E is a great car to own and drive. Most
of the population seem to have owned a MK2 Cortina at some point, but
the fact that there are very few left, makes them real head turners, for
those exhibitionists amongst us. They exude urban chic with those clean
cut lines, subtle curves and elegant yet sporty interior. It is without
doubt, more of a classic than people give it credit for. You certainly
wouldn't catch me trading it in for an E-type .....erm, then again!
More photos to follow!