The Ford in Miniature – Ford Corsair 1963-1970

By Dave Turner

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

“More Space – More Flair – More Everything”

Ford UKs Consul Classic had one of the shortest productions runs of any of their cars, it was intended to appear prior to the new 105E Anglia but the pressing need for a new small Ford in the UK changed those plans and the Anglia that arrived in 1959 was in such demand that production of the Classic was severely delayed.

The Classic’s replacement was given the project code ‘Buccaneer’ possibly in view its Halewood production site on Merseyside and the model name Corsair also had a nautical flavour. Ford had used this monica before on one of the larger US Edsels back in the late 1950s. The new Corsair had a certain US line in its styling – the front end echoed that of the ’61-3 Thunderbird in addition to hints of the German Taunus P3.

As Fords strap-line suggests, the new Corsair was a slightly enlarged Cortina, sharing that cars mechanics on a lengthened floorpan resulting in a 3” longer wheelbase. Even the same door shells were employed together with a new outer skin. Appearing in October 1963, the Corsair came initially as a two or four door saloon in standard, Deluxe or GT trim. The Cortina’s 1498cc engine was employed while a bench front seat with column change was standard although the GTs featured separate front seats and remote floor gear change – optional on the Deluxe. Automatic was available from December ’63. A revised dash arrived in September 1964 along with a 3/4 horn ring to replace the original controversial ‘quartic’ component.

A much more significant event for the Corsair took place in September 1965 when the new V4 engine made its debut. This was only the third wholly new engine from Ford UK since 1950 and came in 1663cc or 1996cc versions. Along with the new power unit another new dash was installed featuring the eyeball vents for the new “aeroflow” ventilation system, along with external extractors on the ‘C’ pillars and these later series were immediately recognisable by the large ‘V’ on the front panel. An estate version arrived with the new engine and these were produced by Abbotts who converted partly complete Corsair bodies using Cortina estate parts, only the fibreglass tailgate was new, created to close onto the Corsair saloons lower rear panel.

The pinnacle of the Corsair range was possibly the 2000 and 2000E that arrived in November 1966 featuring a considerably refined version of the larger engine and improved trim.

Models of Corsairs have appeared from the time of the real cars in a variety of forms up to the more recent selection of around ten years ago.

The appealing range of tiny resin/aluminium models from Autocraft included most of the UK Fords from the 1960s period, their Corsair depicts a pre V engined four door saloon and has such detail for its size that the front and rear badges are clearly present – if not quite readable!

Hongwell has produced some 1:43 2 door Corsairs for several labels and Maz Woolley touched on them in MAR 220 (March 2008) in which Motorart was referenced. In addition they came under the Cararama banner – sometimes accompanied by a caravan. What may have been the first version had opening doors and depicted a V4 engined car – unusual as a two door. However the amount of detail was commendable having virtually all the bright work around the windows, printed badges the appropriate instrument panel and a separate plated exhaust system plus an international ’S’ plate on the back panel for Sweden. Another issue from Hongwell omits the opening doors and has the badges for the pre-V engined cars despite having the raised ‘V’ on the front panel and the V pattern exhaust system – now part of the base. Like the V4 version it is left hand drive despite the 1964 registration plate for Wallasey (NHF 974) .

Contemporary with the real car the Dinky Toy Corsair came with many play features – slide-down windows, suspension, steering and opening bonnet with in-line engine inside. It even had the badges in the body casting – albeit a tad overscale but the interior was a very basic vac-formed item. Like the Hongwell the Dinky was sometimes paired with a trailer – this time carrying a boat. By simply painting the roof dull black complete with the ‘stitching’ lines Dinky tried to turn the model into a 2000E, ignoring its 2 door status as well as the in-line engine under the bonnet. At least they removed the redundant badges from the body casting and provided some reasonably appropriate wheels. Meccano shrunk the Corsair tooling to 1:65 and issued yet another 2 door Corsair in their Hong Kong produced Mini Dinky series. Not only did that continue the opening bonnet but it also boasted an opening boot lid. It also featured suspension but that at the front is invariably collapsed.

Brooklin produced a 4 door 1:43 Corsair in their Lansdowne series for 2004. Depicting a pre- V engined car complete with 1965 registration plates (GGX 175C: London) it comes with the correct post-Sept ’64 facia layout and those distinctive wing mirrors that swept back towards the windscreen. A year later the Lansdowne Collectors Club special model was a 2000E adapted from the regular Lansdowne item and was a limited run of just 150. The roof was finished in satin black but lacked the ‘seems’ and appeared strange as a result. The external vents were fitted, the badges changed and the wheel pattern made appropriate while the licence plates were updated to 1967 (CBH 822F : Buckinghamshire) but the same pre V engined facia was once again employed.

Lone Star was a UK brand of toys – chiefly of cowboy and gun related items but they ventured into die cast toy vehicles during the 1960s. Their 4 door Corsair in the Road-Master Impy Super Car Series suggests that they took the operation seriously as despite being only 1:59 scale featured opening front doors, bonnet and boot lid, suspension, steering, jewelled headlights, vac formed interior and windows, and rubber tyres (starting to split after 50 years).

The Matchbox Corsair appeared in early 1965, slightly smaller at 1:70 than the Lone Star and a great deal more simple, having suspension but no opening parts. However it did come with a plastic roof rack that carries an upturned rowing boat and carries a 1961 registration number (715 TVT Stoke-on-Trent)

Pathfinder models was a relatively short lived range of 1:43 white metal models and most seem to have acquired a perceived high value. In addition to their regular line, a series of five models of UK Fords were made exclusively for Minicar 43 in Oslo, among them was a run of just 350 Corsair 2000Es. The detail on this goes down to the black painted inserts in the bumper over riders and the little decoration above the extractor vents – a detail missing on all the other model 2000Es. The interior is especially well detailed with its wood effect facia a complete with the Aeroflow vents at each end. An appropriate licence plate for 1967 CMA 881F (Cheshire) is applied front and rear.

In 1964 Triang decided to create their own range of vehicles to accompany their popular model railways in 1:76 scale.The first one of four for ’64 was a Ford Anglia but a second series came in the following year and included a Corsair. A one-piece plastic body and a plated base that included bumpers grille and headlights looked extremely accurate although the axles were a tad short taking the wheels a shade too far inside the openings. Neat clear plastic windows allowed the empty interior to be seen, but they were meant to stand on model railway layouts. Triang must have thought that it was worth making the change to a V engined car when the time came and managed to squeeze the ‘V’ onto the front panel, it is almost invisible, while the extractor vents on the C panels are only a fraction deeper than the detail of the original decoration in that location.

The only Corsair available on the market larger than the 1:43 sector found so far is the plastic Telsalda under the Lucky banner. At 1:23 it is basically a push and go toy with flywheel on the rear axle and opening bonnet and boot lid, the shape is acceptable but spoiled by the flat straight line of the roof edge above the doors and oversize wheels.

Ultimate small Corsairs are of course the big 1:8 scale Shawcraft models made for Ford in the 1950s/60s along with at least ten others of the period. The Corsair seems to have been produced in both two and four door form and an example is reported to have sold for £3000.

Model Listing – Ford Corsair 1963-1970

 

Autosculpt UK Fo 06 1990s 1964 4 door 49mm 1:91 resin/aluminium
Dinky Toy UK 130 1964-9 1964 2 door rhd 106mm 1:42 diecast
Dinky Toy UK 169 1967-9 1966 2 door 2000E 106mm 1:42 diecast
Mini Dinky Toy Hong Kong 10 1964 2 door rhd 69mm 1:65 diecast
Hongwell China 13157 1964 2 door  lhd 105mm 1:43 diecast
Hongwell China 1965 V4 2 door lhd 105mm 1:43 diecast
Lansdowne UK 41 2004-9 1965 4 door    rhd 105mm 1:43 metal
Lansdowne UK 41x  (130) 2005 1967 4 door 2000E rhd 105mm 1:43 metal
Lone Star UK 18 1960s 1964 4door  rhd 75mm 1:59 diecast
Matchbox UK 45 1965 1964 4 door  rhd 64mm 1:70 diecast
Pathfinder UK 1007 (350) 1988 1967 4 door 2000E  rhd 106mm 1:42 metal
Triang Minix UK RC6 1965 1964 4 door 59mm 1:76 plastic
Triang Minix UK RC6 1967 1966 V4 4 door 59mm 1:76 plastic
Lucky/Telsalda Hong Kong 149 1964 4 door   rhd 198mm 1:23 plastic
Shawcraft UK 1960s 2 and 4 door showroom models 1:8

 

Illustrations- Ford Corsair 1963-70

 

Lone Star 1:59 diecast from UK: 18, early 4 door saloon.
Lansdowne 1:43 metal from UK: 41, 1965 4 door saloon.

 

Lansdowne 1:43 metal from UK: 41x, 1967 2000E limited run of 130 for Lansdowne Collectors Club.

 

Hongwell 1:43 diecast from China: V4 2 door saloon.
Triang Minix 1:76 plastic from UK: RC6, 1964 4 door saloon.
Early Minix on left V4 on right
V4 on left early Corsair on right, Aeroflow vent barely visible in Red V4
Autosculpt 1:91 resin/aluminium from UK: Fo 06, 1964 4 door saloon.
Dinky Toy 1:42 diecast from UK: 130, 1964 2 door saloon.
Hongwell 1:43 diecast from China: 13157, 1964 2 door saloon.
Hongwell Cararama V4 on left – early car on right the ‘V’ in the casting still visible.
Mini Dinky 1:65 diecast from Hong Kong: 10, 1964 2 door saloon.
Triang Minix 1:76 plastic from UK: RC6 1965 V4 4 door saloon, update from the earlier model.
Matchbox 1:70 diecast from UK: 45, 1964 4 door saloon originally came with a roof rack and boat.
Pathfinder for Minicar 43 1:42 metal from UK: 1007, 1967 2000E limited run of 350.
Lucky/Telsalda 1:23 plastic from Hong Kong: 149, 1964 4 door saloon.

Dinky Toy 1:42 diecast from UK:169, 2 Door 2000E saloon.
Rear view of Dinky 2000E

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