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The two-door Cortina Estate concept has never quite looked right in Gavin’s eyes so he enters the digital realm to help rework the radical Mk1’s profile.

two-door cortina estate

My two-door Cortina estate was introduced back in the August 2016 issue and since then it’s just languished in the garage while my life got complicated. My intention had been to throw together a quick, albeit slightly rough, car to have fun with but there was one problem to overcome first.

You may remember that it was a Custom Car magazine project and they’d described the conversion to two-door, but what they’d neglected to mention was the issue with the differing roof lines. The estate not only has a higher roof profile above the gutter but the gutter line is also higher – the B post is taller than that of a saloon.  So the two-door B-posts that had been used weren’t really tall enough. This also meant that there was a gap at the top of the door frame. Additionally there was the issue of working out how to fit a window where the back door used to be.  Solving all of that was not going to be quick and easy.

Artist’s rendition

There’s a guy called Benny Maxwell (known as Axesent on Instagram), who does some pretty cool auto illustrations. Over the years he has produced a number of images for me testing out ideas I’ve had for Cortinas.  Some have been successful, some not so, but one idea that did work was modifying the window openings. What I wanted to do was thicken up the frames while introducing a softer rounder profile. Axesent’s image showed this worked well so I intended to solve the B-post height, front window frame and improve the frame proportions all at the same time. Just one problem – this work was well beyond my simple skills.

two-door cortina estate

In the metal

The next step was a chat with Rich Bishop at Bishop’s Bespoke Builds, a skilled fabricator and no stranger to these pages. Luckily, he’s local and was up for realising my dreams in metal! What we’ve done is weld metal in to the perimeter of the side windows, profiled to a small radius together with a flange over which a traditional window rubber will slide. This trim extends along the bottom of all the window openings including the front doors which was fashioned around a Mini Metro window seal!  Another key element was the radius, rather than mitre, to the corners, further softening the appearance. At the rear the new trim was welding to the D-post so that it was parallel with the rear most edge thereby avoiding the tapper the original had, there seemed no logic to this and a slightly fatter base compliments the fatter window frames all around.

Moving on

The two-door Cortina Estate is now at home patiently waiting for us to move house before I set out on the next stage, at which point I can update you on a few other things that happened while Trig was wielding his welder.

Words and Photos Gavin Hutton

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