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The two-door Cosworth Cortina project gets some attention this month as Gavin sorts the front suspension and steering set-up for an easier, neater life.

This month is all about refinement! There were a few bits on my two-door which I was painfully aware should be labelled ‘could do better’, and now was the time to sort them.

cosworth cortina project

The rack conversion I’m using is one of Old Ford Auto Services, which uses Escort parts hence utilises Escort geometry. The standard mod is to extend the opening in the inner wing to allow the strut tops to sit closer together, which results in an elongated circle shape opening. I’m not a fan of this and wanted it to look more considered. While new metal was being welded in I figured that it would be silly to not try and make it look standard, so new plates have been let in to accept adjustable camber plates supplied by GAZ. They don’t supply them specifically for the Mk1 Cortina, but given the welding being done this wasn’t a problem. I think the result looks great and will help, along with the adjustable TCAs, the setting up of the front end.

cosworth cortina project

Next on the list were the engine mounts. Included in the Old Ford Auto Services kit is an Escort crossmember modified to bolt straight into the Cortina. So the YB in the engine bay was simply bolted in with RS2000 engine mounts, but it just didn’t seem like a great idea to rely on ’80s rubber engine mounts to keep a Cosworth in check. So the crossmember has been changed for one without engine mounts (again modded by OFAS) and chassis mounts were welded in to keep the engine in exactly the same place as it had been. It would have been nice to take the opportunity to set it back a little but given that the tunnel, gearbox mounts and prop were already sorted, I thought better of it.

cosworth cortina project

Modded column

The next job on the welding lists was much smaller. The original steering column-mounted GT rev counter binnacles were kept in place with an old fashioned jubilee-type clip, something I’ve only ever seen for sale once. A modern jubilee clip may do the job, but it seemed sensible to do a better job and weld in some captive nuts instead. So now the binnacle is much more secure.

That steering column has become a bit like trigger’s new broom. What started out as a standard Pre-Aeroflow column has had a new spline at the top to accept the removable steering wheel boss, shortened at the bottom with a new spline for the Escort UJ, new mounting lugs welded to it and now the centre cut out of it to mount a power steering motor. It seemed sensible to fit one of Easysteer’s electric motors given all the general updating of the car, not to mention the bigger wheel and tyre combo. Fitting of this was covered in the May 2017 issue, although we’ve fitted the motor further down by the bulkhead.

The final piece of refinement was the roll cage. When I started the build I had dreams of racing/hill climbing the car so I fitted a full Safety Devices roll cage. However, as time has gone by and with all the money I’ve lavished on the car I’ve got less inclined to risk putting it into a barrier, so I am now building it just as a street car. I felt the front cage obstructed the Pre-Aeroflow dash which I love, and the bolt fixings just didn’t look that refined. So I’ve removed the front half of the cage together with the mounts on the rear cage which will remain in place. This has also come in for some modification as the original cage fits tight to the roof panel preventing any internal headlining and tight to the side panels so that it’s difficult to fit without damaging the internal paintwork. Both of these have been remedied so that with the previously welded in diagonals the cage is now far from original.

No big modifications there, but refinements that will improve the overall finished car. It’s now time for some bigger steps to be taken.

This update on Gavin’s Cosworth Cortina project first appeared in the March 2019 issue

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