Your Cars: Mike Sinclair’s Ford Cortina Mk4

Having been brought up around  circuit racing and modified cars, the bug for something retro was well and truly itching and after owning a number of early French hot hatches it still wasn’t what I was  after. The hunt began with the emphasis on finding a Mk1 or Mk2 Granada which I had always adored the shape of and had fond memories of these being thrown sideways around a track in one form or another and had my heart set on one, however finding one in good shape turned up to be fruitless and the ideas were soon shelved.

After some searching around the net on the off chance I came across a Mk4 Cortina local to me in good shape with a hot pinto and some carefully chosen modifications. I have always been a fan of Fords bigger barges from the early 80s and love the boxy appearance, however I always ruled out a Cortina unless it was a Mk4 which these days are rare. After having a chat with the owner and popping down to view the car the deal was organised and I collected the car the following week.


Fresh fully built stage 3 2.1 unleaded Pinto engine from Burton Power with new 45 DCOE’s
Competition exhaust manifold and system
Electronic ignition and rev limiter
Performance non vacuum distributor
Oil cooler system with catch tank
5 speed gearbox with quickshift
New Gaz adjustable shocks all round
Lowered 2″ all round with new springs
Polybushes used all round
New 2.8 capri calipers and discs
performance pads and shoes
recaro front seats
front and rear spoilers
new 15×7 minilites

Even though the car was built I still felt it needed some work as I am fairly OCD when it comes to tidy cars up and getting the best from them.


The interior was had holes in the door cards so they were to be sourced, the bare metal inside was still in original blue rather than the new Toyota Red of the exterior ,there was some rust which would need treating and the gear knob was worn to excess. All of these were to be changed in due course.


During the summer I cracked on with a few of the jobs, re-painting the boot and other interior parts in gloss black and started collecting a few parts for it. However when the weather took a turn for the worse and with no dry storage and knackered door rubbers I found a huge puddle of water in the foot well on Christmas day, so as soon as the weather cheered up it was strip down time.


After some more painting and general tidying it was time to get it on the road and use it. Now this being a classic and having a fairly obscene race cam fitted driving in traffic can be a problem as it just won’t idle at low revs without having to blip the throttle, this aside it’s actually quite well behaved for a classic. With around 179 BHP on tap it shifts and all unnecessary weight stripped out can make for some jolly good fun and bends and roundabouts. It really is a doddle to drive once it has warmed up and wound up and I can’t count how many people stop and stare at it and take photographs when it was out and about on the road or parked up at the local pub.


Painting and rust treatment


After meeting a few people during days out in the car and browsing internet forums I was encouraged to show the car at a local motor show close to me, it was decided that the car would be shown in memory of my Dad who died of cancer just a year before and all proceeds collected would be given to charity. After some more general painting, servicing and tidying up we met the deadline and made the show.

Interior was deep cleaned and seats re-fitted


Since then the car has appeared at a few more shows and had a feature in a car magazine. It’s currently SORN and off the road due to some carburettor set up issues after a small mis-hap and flooding incident on route to a show late last year, it’s only real break down to date however it is now  back tearing up  the streets .


You can follow Mike here.

Images courtesy of Classic Ford Magazine.

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