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Another month, another flurry of grinding sparks and pretty blue lights from the welder open the Cortina turbo project — this time at the hands of Gary Martin.

Following on from last month’s update, I left you with a nice and low Cortina sporting its new engine and gearbox combination, a heavy-duty axle casing and a dilemma of how to locate it properly to try tame some of the predicted power.

So I made call to chassis and suspension expert, Gary Martin of Gary Martin Motorsport. It was decided that the Cortina is getting quite a serious build, and that the rear end, like the rest of the car, would be done once and done right. As the front of the car was so low, even my very basic understanding of suspension knew that the roll centre at the rear would always struggle to be anywhere near the front’s if we used a conventional Watts linkage set-up.

Gary wasn’t phased by this and had a plan: “Bring it down, I’ll make room for it’’.

So a call to good friend, Dave Fox and I was soon south-bound in his truck, the Cortina on the back along with the new rear axle casing.

cortina turbo

On the table

Arriving at Gary’s place, the car was soon loaded onto his chassis table (I want one!). The car was given a good going over, with Gary inspecting the cage, engine install, tunnels and all the other work completed. He was happy and we could discuss the direction the car was heading in. However, looking under the car it was noted I was already struggling for room right at the rear of the axle/tank stand/boot floor area.

cortina turbo

In typical Gary fashion, calm as a cucumber, a plan was discussed and without further fuss out came the air saw and my old fuel tank stand and half the boot floor were soon on the floor of the workshop! I then got the opportunity to shadow him for a couple of days, picking his brains, collecting tips and ideas and generally learning a hell of a lot.

Sadly it was soon time to head home — minus the Cortina but excited at the plans for the old girl! A long couple of weeks then passed before I got the call to say it was done and to come and collect it. The teaser photos I’d been sent during the fabrication work were awesome, ticking all the right boxes and allowing a bonkers low ride height (even by my standards). 

The return journey to collect it seemed to take an age, but I needn’t have worried in the slightest. Walking under the car I was absolutely blown away by the amount of thought, the workmanship, and sheer genius that was holding my new rear axle in place.

So yes, the Mk1 is now six-linked, but not as we know it — see the May/June 2020 issue for the full explanation.

Catch up with more updates on Ben’s Mk1 Cortina turbo and all the Classic Ford project cars here

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