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Happy Monday! Start your week custom classic Ford-style with these Thames 400E and Mk1 Cortina projects courtesy of Simon Coulson

thames 400e

Of all the classic Fords, it’s the Thames 400E we wish there more more surviving examples of over any other. But the sad fact is, there aren’t many left, which makes bringing this example back from Hungary and treating the body to a full restoration more than viable – assuming we can find the damn panels, that is. That no easy task taken care of, we’ll them ship it over to Ray Ramsey at Rayvern for a full body-drop and a set of his awesome hydraulics – how else are we going to get it that low? — followed by a respray in ’50s aqua and white by the talented guys at The Paintbox, with a chrome strip added to the lower flanks complete with red insert that works so well with the original chromework. And if you’ve seen some of the modified Ford Econoline vans being slammed over in the States at the moment, you’l know exactly where we’re coming from.

Some serious tubbing means those black steels  can easily sit well up in the arches, even when wearing those bulbous American-sourced whitewall tyres. Inside, were thinking three rows of bench seats fitted with chrome grab rails on the rear and trimmed to match the exterior and a similarly-painted steering wheel. Under the aqua-painted engine cover, you’ll find a straight-six dripping with Raymond Mays goodies. Goodwod Revival next year, chaps?

Taking the distinctly Italian flavour (and sound) of the Fiat twin-cam engine that already resides in the Mk1 project, we’ve only gone and run with it, theming the whole build with classic Italian style. Hence the slightly-restored bodywork is now resplendent in coats of paint remarkably similar to those of the Italian flag – speaking of which, spotted the flag badge in front of the door? The white flash is outlined by a green pinstripe, and we’ve refitted all of the original chrome, adding the Super’s trim strip over the doors and rear side windows.

Can’t quite work out where you’ve seen those wheels before? They’re 16 inch Fiat 500 ‘Vintage’ wheels, currently available on special edition 500s, redrilled to suit the Cortina’s stud pattern before being painted green. Naturalmente, these are sitting well up in the Cortina’s arches, because there’s no finer sight than a Pre-Aeroflow Mk1 Cortina on the deck. The interior now features Recaros retrimmed in red leather, we’ll add GT dash too, while under the bonnet the twink’s been sent to Guy Croft to work his magic on it – yes, he is still going. Bellissimo! as they say in Mitcham.

Words Simon Woolley

Illustrations Simon Coulson

See more of Simon Coulson’s sketches of these two projects in the December issue

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