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The ‘new’ Crossflow engine for Simon’s 1963 Mk1 Cortina Deluxe gets an airing for the first time in a decade…

I don’t think I need to tell you that old Fords and their associated parts take up a lot of room. And room is one thing (well, apart from money) that I don’t have in abundance. So for quite some time, my various projects and the parts that are meant to go with them, have been stashed in various sheds, lock-ups and in some cases, dining rooms, of friends and family around the UK while I grapple with the magnitude of just how much stuff one can accumulate when mucking about with cars is your passion.

mk1 cortina deluxe

One person who has bore the brunt of my longterm storage issues is friend and sometime contributor to Classic Ford, Jon Hill, who happens to rent a fairly large barn — the kind you can easily lose cars and parts in. Jon doesn’t live remotely near me, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking advantage of our friendship and making full use of his facilities — including the stashing away of a fruity 1700 Crossflow.

mk1 cortina deluxe

Based around a 711M block and big-valve head , this engine was originally built by Jon in 2007 for a Mk2 Escort four-door. But the car was sold before the engine could find its way into the bay, so it was quietly pushed to a corner of the barn. I then persuaded him to let me have it to eventually drop into my Corsair, but four years on that was nowhere near happening.

Crossflow capers

Then in 2012 we decided to drag it out for some tech features, largely to go into the May edition of that which was shaping up to be a monster Crossflow special. We covered making an adjustable front pulley and removable timing cover to allow easy timing up of the cam, a rebuild of the 40DCOEs followed by a DGV versus DCOE dyno test with pushrod guru, Steve Curson at Vulcan Engines.

mk1 cortina deluxe

While the engine was with Steve, he kindly offered to check over the engine and found a few bits wanting so gave it a light refresh including new rings and gaskets. I also opted to install a new Kent Cams 234 cam (my favourite Crossflow road grind), and sourced and fitted a front-bowl sump and pick-up pipe so it was ready to drop into the Corsair.

With the carb comparison test out of the way (the DCOEs won, naturally, but it was closer than you might think) the engine should have gone straight into the Corsair. However, the bodywork resto became too much of a time and money pit so the project stalled and the Crossflow went back to its corner of the barn — where it remained until last month.

I’d always planned to drop it into the Cortina when the time was right, and with the Mk1’s suspension and brakes now sorted, that time is now. 

So with Jon’s hefty engine crane dusted off, we carefully lifted it out from its hiding place and into the light for the first time in a decade. All that time in a draughty barn hasn’t done it any favours, at least looks-wise, but with a bit of luck the internals will have remained box-fresh, so I’m hoping all it will need is the carbs stripping down and cleaning.

Ready to go

The engine’s currently sat next to the Cortina in Dave Fisher’s yard, and we’re in the process of amassing the parts required to drop it in – there’s no flywheel or clutch assembly at the moment, and I need to source an exhaust manifold and system, too. Luckily, the gearbox is already sorted — I’ve had a 2000E ’box stashed away ready for it for some time (actually in my own lock-up, for once) — so with a bit of luck, it won’t be another decade before this engine sees some action again.

Words Simon Woolley

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