David Jeggo’s quest for a rust-free old Ford to rebuild lead him to the restore this rare 1973 Taunus TC. Naturally he couldn’t resist adding a few upgrades, too…
Having owned many old Fords, including various Cortinas, David Jeggo knew how badly they can rust. “I’d had lots of Fords until family and buying a house took priority, now I was looking to get an old car again,” remembers David. “Mainly one that was solid — I no longer want to spend months welding in new floors. I saw this 1973 Taunus TC 1600L saloon for sale in 2015 and thought it looked interesting and rust free, plus the Mk3 is the only Cortina I’d never owned so it sort of scratched that itch, too.”
The Taunus had a low starting price but David was the only person to bid. “It was half an hour away so I went over with a trailer thinking if it did turn out to be rotten I’d leave it. I got a pleasant surprise because after crawling all over, the only rust all I could find was minor rot on the outer rear arches and a small patch on one sill.” There were a few bits missing but it appeared the 44,000 km on the clock was genuine. “Sadly there was no history with the car; the guy was selling it on behalf of his friend. It had no paperwork either, but the DVLA and the Mk3 Cortina Owners’ Club couldn’t have been more helpful with sorting out a V5 and age-related ’plate.”
The Taunus then sat for a couple of years while David collected parts and worked out his restoration plan. “It ran and had a good engine, although the brakes didn’t work. I had to find some missing chrome trim, a front grille and interior parts. My idea was to restore it completely standard, until I realised long-term I was inevitably going to upgrade a few things. I used to grasstrack race so I had various stuff under my workbench including a 2-litre Pinto. I built that into a lightened and balanced 2093cc with big valves, high-compression pistons and a competition Kent cam.
“I’d intended using bits from my grass-tracking days, but in the end used mostly new parts. I had to fit an RS2000 bellhousing and sump for clearance since it’s left-hand drive. The exhaust is a new-old-stock Mk4 Cortina Janspeed system with a four-branch Escort manifold I lengthened.”
“I had the entire car apart although I probably didn’t have to,” continues David. “The body needed very little, I bought a couple of Mk4 Cortina two-door repair panels and replaced the rusty back arches, then stripped the body to bare metal. I knocked out a few minor parking dents before coating it in epoxy primer. Then Paul at Anglia Resprays did a great job prepping and painting it in the original colour, which I believe is Sapphire Blue.
“We used truck bedliner underneath and even painted up inside the chassis rails, I wanted it nice but I also needed to get the car back on the road. There were a couple of small kinks from where it had been jacked up and I could have cut the floor open and knocked them out, but they are part of the history and that floor is rust-free. To be honest I didn’t intend doing it as nice as this, but once it had great paint I became a little bit precious. I’d had a Mk2 Cortina years back I’d put a V6 into then went overboard on, by the time that was done it was too nice to drive — so I held back a bit with this Taunus. I was very lucky since most of the parts weren’t in bad shape, the bumpers aren’t perfect but they’re shiny and usable. There’s no point in throwing away an original 95 per cent decent part for a 100 per cent one, especially since the quality of repro bits really varies.
“The rear axle was stripped, sandblasted and rebuilt, I added uprated Rally Design springs with GAZ dampers and it now sits an inch lower than stock. Being a 1600 it’s the Koln axle but I have an Atlas with an LSD to fit in the future.
“Up front I added vented Capri discs and callipers and polybushes, and when I stripped the wishbones I found the ‘17 10 73’ manufacture date still stamped in them. Most bits I needed such as trim and window rubbers were sourced through Harrie Drenth of Classic Ford Parts in The Netherlands, although the brake master cylinder was spotted on French eBay.”
The interior had sun-bleached seat backs and was largely beige. “The seat stuffing turned to dust so I bought a black vinyl pre-facelift rear seat. The fronts are, I believe, from a 1970s Porsche. They almost look like the Ford Tombstones but are more comfortable, I’d previously tried MX-5 seats but they were too small. I also put in a new headlining and found some retro Sharp speakers for the parcel shelf — usually the first change I made to cars back in the day. The only issue currently is I want to fit a rev counter but the 1.6 Taunus didn’t come with one, the 2-litres had a V6 and the Cortina version has different wiring.”
The Taunus was back on the road in May. “Thanks to the lockdown I had more free time on the car which encouraged me to get it finished,” admits David. “I’ve since done about 200 miles. The first change I made was to pull out the straight-cut gearbox I’d installed — too noisy for normal driving so the standard four-speed went back in.
“I was also having an issue with the 44 IDF downdraught carbs, after using the laser thermometer from my pizza oven I determined cylinders two and four were firing intermittently. I ended up cleaning the carbs four times and it still needs a rolling road session to get them perfect. Probably the most worthwhile change was to a Bestek electronic ignition I was really impressed with that. I’ve added aftermarket clear rear lenses since the originals were scuffed and I expected people to hate the wheels but, so far, no one has. I have some Rostyles ready to go on if I change my mind.
“My kids love the Taunus, it’s good fun to drive and very involving compared to a modern. It’s just what I wanted — a car I rebuilt and only had to do the nice jobs on. Next I really fancy getting a Mk1 or Mk2 Granada two-door.”
Photos Matt Woods
See more photos and get the full spec on David’s Taunus TC Coupe in the October issue
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