The Ford Consul Corsair (later known simply as the Ford Corsair), manufactured by Ford UK, is a midsize car that was introduced at the London Motor Show in October 1963[2] and available as either a saloon or estate from 1964 until 1970. There was also a convertible version built by Crayford, which is now very rare and highly sought after as a classic. Two-door Corsair saloons are also rare, being built only to order in the UK, although volume two-door production continued for some export markets. Only one example of the fleet model, the Consul Corsair Standard, is known to exist.[citation needed]

Ford Corsair V4 estate 1966. The stylish Corsair estate conversion was produced by Abbott. It was more expensive than the Cortina estate but offered no more load capacity.

The 2-door Corsair was never a big seller on the home market

The Corsair replaced the Consul Classic range and was essentially a long wheelbase re-skinned Cortina (the windscreen and much of the internal panelling was the same). The Corsair had unusual and quite bold styling for its day, with a sharp horizontal V-shaped crease at the very front of the car into which round headlights were inset.

This gave the car an apparently aerodynamic shape. The jet-like styling extended to the rear where sharply pointed vertical light clusters hinted at fins. The overall styling was shared with the early 1960s Ford Thunderbird. This American styling cue was originally inspired by a styling study for the upcoming 1960 Ford Taunus in Germany that Ford designer Elwood Engel saw on a visit. He utilized its front end design in both the 1961 Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental.

In 1964 Tony Brookes, with his twin brother as one of the drivers, and a group of friends captured 15 International class G World endurance records at Monza in Italy with a Corsair GT. (Monza Yearbook 1965)

Ford Corsair V4 2-door convertible 1967. The Corsair convertible was a product of Crayford Auto Developments which was first exhibited at the London Motor Show in October 1966.

With the vinyl roofed Corsair 2000E Ford attempted to compete on price half a class up in the category dominated (in the UK) by the Rover 2000 and Triumph 2000.

The car was initially offered with the larger 60 bhp (45 kW), single carburettor, 1.5 L Kent engine that was also used in the smaller Cortina, in standard and GT form. The range was revised in September 1965, adopting new Ford Essex V4 engines, making it rough at idle and coarse on the road.[citation needed] This engine was available in 1663 cc form at first, but later in 1966, a larger 2.0-litre L version was offered alongside. One marketing tag line for the V4 models was "The Car That Is Seen But Not Heard", which was a real stretch of the ad man's puff, given the inherent characteristics of the engine. The other tag was "I've got a V in my bonnet". A 3.0 litre conversion using the Ford Essex V6 engine was one of the options available via Crayford Engineering.

An estate car by Abbott was added to the range on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966,[5] and in 1967, the Corsair underwent the Executive treatment like its smaller Cortina sibling, resulting in the 2000E model with dechromed flanks, which necessitated non-styled-in door handles, special wheel trims, reversing lights, a vinyl roof, and upgraded cabin fittings. The 2000E, priced at £1,008 in 1967, was positioned as a cut price alternative to the Rover 2000, the introduction of which had effectively defined a new market segment for four cylinder executive sedans in the UK three years earlier: the Corsair 2000E comfortably undercut the £1,357 Rover 2000 and the £1,047 Humber Sceptre.

A five-seater convertible and a four-seater cabriolet conversion were available via Crayford Engineering. Only 18 Cabriolets were built using technology from Karl Deutsche in Germany. Only 4 are known to survive.

The Corsair's performance was good for a car of its type and period, with a top speed in its 2.0 L V4 version of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) as measured by the speedometer, and exceptional[citation needed] acceleration at full throttle resulting from the progressive 28/36mm twin-choke Weber downdraught carburettor.

The Corsair was replaced by the Mk 3 Cortina in 1970, at which time the enlarged Cortina became Ford's mid-sized car, and a new smaller model, the Escort, had already filled in the size below. The new Ford Capri took on the performance and sporty aspirations of the company.

Manufacturing Breakdown Corsair 1500 Standard 2 Door 355, Corsair 1500 Standard 4 Door 953, Corsair 1500 Deluxe 2 Door 33,352, Corsair 1500 Deluxe 4 Door 103,094, Corsair 1500 GT 2 Door 6,610, Corsair 1500 GT 4 Door 15,247, Total Corsair 1500 159,951 1963-1965,

Corsair V4 Deluxe 2 Door 6,450 predominantly LHD Cars for Europe/Export, Corsair V4 Deluxe 4 Door 118,065, Corsair V4 GT 2 Door 1,534 predominantly LHD Cars for Europe/Export, Corsair V4 GT 4 Door 12,589, Corsair V4 2000E 4 Door 31,566, Corsair V4 Estate 4 Door 900, Corsair V4 Estate 2000GT 4 Door 40, Total Corsair V4 171,144 1966-1970, Total Ford Corsair production 331,095 1963-1970

Over its six-year production, 310,000 Corsairs were built - of which approximately 350 are thought to survive. Conversely, of the 100 convertibles built around 75 have survived.

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