Herbytoys bullet July 78 - May 79: 1968 Ford Cortina Deluxe
Here is my '68 Ford (English) MK II Cortina Deluxe 1600 Automatic. It was purchased in July '78 non running, natch, with those great hackneyed bondo flares. Pluses were that the body had no rust except around the flares and was complete. It also came with those cool 8" rear and matching 5.5" front aluminum rims. The engine did run but had a blown head gasket.

I had to sell my '65 Comet to pay for the Cortina's engine rebuild. This left me at the mercy of public transportation and my own two legs for about a year.

I had researched these a little and thought they were a cool alternative to a Datsun 510. What I really wanted was a GT but this one was in my price range. I don't think I looked hard enough. Anyway, I decided I could turn this one into a faux GT. Rebuilding the engine with GT parts was the first step but also the slushbox had to go.

('69 Torino and F-250 Camper Special in background. Yes, this was definitely a "Ford" house!)

Before and after shots of the engine. Even though it was not a GT It came with the GT header. My first real engine rebuild, with a $9.99 socket set no less! The Ford six I tore down and put back together in high school auto shop doesn't really count. But it did run on first crank.
Except for one small problem that baffled me for awhile (neutral safety switch wire) this engine also started first time. No strange noises, no leaks. Needless to say I was ecstatic!

I essentially rebuilt it to Cortina GT 1600 specs along with the "bolt-ons". The engine was bored .040 over with 9.8:1 pistons, GT two-barrel intake and carb (Weber), a 260/.350 lift regrind cam and added a Pinto/Capri higher volume oil pump. I even polished (no porting)  the combustion chambers and ports on the GT head and gave it all a good coat of red engine enamel.

I luckily found a local  guy named Jerry Scheberies who had a bunch of Cortinas and parts. I bought all the GT engine parts including the 4 speed and all the attendant hardware for the auto to stick conversion.
I of course planned to upgrade the suspension with GT struts which I had been told were different, Koni shocks, bigger swaybars and cut front coils and blocks in the rear to lower it an inch or so. Then straighten out the body, add some 510 'glass flares to cover the 8" rear rims and paint it. Unfortunately I never made it that far as you see in the pictures below.
Two weeks after getting the Cortina "faux GT" on the road some lady in an Impala ran a stop sign on a rainy morning. I t-boned it square in the side. I found out at this time that the front fenders of Cortinas are spotwelded  together.

This was beyond the scope of my skills at the time and therefore was the end of this Cortina project. I stripped it of all the useable/transferable parts and gave the shell to Jerry. I thought about getting another one to replace it but for some reason decided to go another way (see below).

I still would like to get another one though, but I will look for a real GT and hopefully in much better shape.

Herbytoys bullet April 79 - April 80: 1970 Ford Pinto sedan (not hatchback)

Pinto meats.JPG (78199 bytes)

My '70 pinto that replaced the crunched 'Tina. Almost 200K miles and it showed it. It was not the 2000cc but a 1600cc model  with front drum brakes no less. It needed some work but I've started with worse.

I swapped the Cortina GT engine and 4 speed into it, including the hydraulic clutch then mounted the rims and tires as well. My clutch master conversion never really did work right as I didn't really line it up correctly as the rod was not centered in the cylinder bore. Another one of those learning experiences. The Cortina header didn't fit so I ended up with a Hooker header, the only one made for a 1600 Pinto.

I later found some matching 8" dish rims with 50 series Goodyears and threw them on the front. Even without a front swaybar (1600's didn't come with one) the car handled like a slot car. I did eventually cut one (1/2?) coil off the front springs and put 1" blocks in the rear. Of course I planned to put all the trick suspension stuff on. I found there was much to choose from.

For some reason I changed my mind about a "Street Racer" as I put some 5" Capri "Rostyle" steel wheels and 185/70 radials on it. It actually felt like it stuck to the road better even though it felt like it leaned more. In the midst of my plans I changed my mind again as I decided to unload the Pinto a get a truck.

This was a fun car but like many of my early projects never got very far. This one I don't want to try again.

Pinto.jpg (20598 bytes)

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