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Be the first to recreate a Consul Classic Estate or how about a Hot Wheels-style Mk1 Transit mini truck? Let Simon Coulson be your guide to project car nirvana

consul classic estate

We’re not the first to create a Consul Classic Estate. Ford dealers, Hughes of Nairobi get that credit, apparently building 17 (based on the two-door) for the Kenyan Police back in the early ’60s. But with a sole UK survivor, you’re not going to find one for sale in the Classifieds anytime soon, so how about creating your own, with a little help from pensmith, Simon Coulson? Using this basically-solid four-door as our base, we’ve restored the structure where necessary, before picking up a pair of four-door front doors and a roof skin to help with the conversion. Using the donor door’s frames, we’ve then ‘squared off’ the rear doors and created an upright C-pillar, before using the rear door’s original frames to keep the Classic’s signature curved rear side glass, albeit now part of the estate section. At the back, we envisage opening rear glass and the bootlid along the lines of a Hillman Imp. This is all a lot of work, but well worth it, we think you’ll agree.

Bodywork done and prepped, it’s then time to apply some coats of Chevrolet Coral followed by Ivory White for the roof from the same manufacturer’s ’50s colour charts. Running gear is Mk1 Cortina GT, while the standard 13 inch steel wheels have been painted red then hidden by the full hubcaps, and fitted with whitewall tyres. Inside, nothing less than a full retrim of the standard seats in white vinyl is on the cards, complete with a matching pair of Karobe headrests. Well, it rhymes with Nairobi, doesn’t it?

Why? You may be asking yourself, while looking at this admittedly radical rendition of a Mk1 Transit? Why not? Is our reply. Sure, we could restore this long wheelbase loadlugger in period service barge garb, but that’s been done, and probably better than we could manage, so let’s pretend it’s 1990, fire up that grinder, cut the roof off and turn it into a 1:1 scale Hot Wheels toy! We’ve fabricated two extra bulkheads to put some strength back into the shell, creating separate ‘party zones’ in the process — black vinyl bench seats up front and in the middle (the latter with a still-functioning side door, our favourite part), while the pick-up-bed-cum bathtub rear now needs to accommodate massive wheel tubs (to house those 18s) and speakers, but thankfully there’s just enough room to install a pair of bench seats down each side.

With the Mini Truck scene firmly in mind, the awesome paintwork now features silver, fluorescent green (note the matching steering wheel) and that eye-popping cerise pink. Wheels? Some über-wide Boyd-esque affairs with a four-wheel-drive offset should do it, tucked into the arches courtesy of air-ride. Finally, while the 2.5 diesel is eminently practical, this build is anything but, so out it goes, along with the five-speed – a three-speed auto and V6 going in – for the burble and cruising potential. Yeah, baby!

Words Simon Woolley

Illustrations Simon Coulson

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