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New custom wheels, custom suspension and old-school ramp — it’s been a busy month for both Ben and the project VTEC Mk1 Cortina turbo. 

We all get by with a little help from our friends, right? It’s been a busy couple of months in my workshop, as after I’d worked alongside Gary Martin on his early 1970s Bradbury four-post ramp and realising how much easier it made things — looking over stuff and planning things, to actually getting things level, and clamped down so they stay there, and doing all the welding and fabrication on my back — a decision was made, and I dipped into the Cortina funds to source myself something similar. I eventually settled on a 1972 model, with its wheel-free attachments. Once rebuilt and converted to single-phase electrics it was installed with a heck of a lot of help from friends!

With all this happening the poor Cortina almost took a back seat, but once loaded on the ramp and lifted safely into the rafters of the workshop it was never far from my thoughts.

While all this going on, and after the lengthy measure up in the last update, I ordered the split-rim barrels — both inner and outer — for my new wheels. The guys at Banbury Engineering were great as always, allowing me to travel down once they’d manufactured them with my wheel centres and hang around while they carefully built them up for me, as in my opinion they were just too precious to post.

vtec mk1 cortina

Travelling home with wheels fit for a princess, a quick call in to see the lads at Kilnhurst Tyres and some fresh rubber was added! Nervously bolting them up, and a quick once over to check clearances and lock and I simply had to get the car back on the ground and outside to I could have a proper look! A very happy Szanto!

vtec mk1 cortina

I’d also been back and forth speaking with the lads at GAZ Shocks, as when Gary linked the rear end of the car, I opted to keep the original damper towers so was now in need of something bespoke in the way of rear coil-overs. Many calls and much measuring, spring rate calculation, and size was determined and an order was placed. Once arrived, they fitted perfectly out of the box, and right in the middle of their adjustment at a height I’m happy with on the ground.

Turbo time

Full of enthusiasm after making good progress and with the help of Tom Jackson of Mowgli Fab, we fabricated a jig that held the turbo where we wanted it, and from this Tom will fabricate a tubular manifold that we’ve decided to base around a cast collector, chosen as they are less prone to failing. He’s now taken the jig to his workshop and I can’t wait to finally see the turbo hanging off the side of the engine for real.

While the CAD (cardboard-aided design) was handy, and the car was sharp in my mind I’ve worked out the expansion tank and breather system tank, as Jack from Backroad Fabrications is taking on the job from my patterns.

So with enthusiasm (and spending) at a high, the car is progressing great and when Tom and Jack have worked their magic the car should take a great leap forward!

This update on Ben’s VTEC Mk1 Cortina first appeared in the September issue

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