POMEROY DEFENDS CORTINA Sir,
As you have been kind enough to refer your readers to an article I have written about the new British and German Ford may I expand upon this for the benefit of any who do not read The Motor; and also in the light of road-test figures which were not available at the time when I wrote it ?
May I make it clear that, although I am retained as a Consultant by The British Motor Corporation, the Editor asked me to write an article for The Motor evaluating the two Ford cars and they were kind enough to give me the information which made this possible. I was therefore only concerned with the two differing designs, and I am interested to see that you call the Cortina “dreary, old-fashioned with uninspired specification” and the Taunus “technically outstanding.”
You are entitled to your opinion but what are the facts ? In the important relationship between passenger space and wheelbase the Taunus has 63% and the Cortina 64%, and the seating width on the Taunus is 80% of the total width and on the Cortina 78.5%. Although they are of almost identical dimension the British model is lighter by 6%, so that this would seem the better of the two from the structural viewpoint.
Both models have rear axles suspended by leaf-springs and the British has coil-springs at the front and the German a single transverse leaf which necessitates reaction points attached to the engine so that the engine mountings become part of the suspension system.
Taking the car on the road, using the mean marimum of the Taunus on the one hand, and choosing a Cortina with correctly set ignition on the other, I observe’ that the Cortina is z% slower than the Taunus and 8% inferior in m.p.g. On the other hand it is 3% faster in covering a standing quarter-mile; 13% faster in reaching so m.p.h. from rest, and no less than 53% quicker in going from 30 to 50 m.p.h. in top gear.
A 50-lb. pedal pressure on the Taunus makes the stopping distance 7% better than the Cortina and the portion of the weight carried on the driving wheels is x5% more.
Thus there seems to be little advantage in the end-product which is ” technically outstanding” over one which is ” dreary and old-fashioned.”
That is not to say that advanced design allied to an almost fanatical devotion to development cannot produce exceptional results . . . but I must not be too vociferous. LAURENCE POMEROY,
London, W.I. Director, Technical Relations Ltd.
[I am rather disappointed in my friend Mr. Pomeroy on this occasion. He seeks to defend the “dreary and old-fashioned” on the grounds of 1% better passenger space/wheelbase ratio, 11% greater seating width/total width, and 6% less weight. The Ford Cortina is slightly slower and more thirsty than a 12M but has much better acceleration. I took the figures I quoted from the magazine in which Mr. Pomeroy’s article appeared and they were for Press cars. Surely the great Ford Motor Company must know the correct ignition setting for its cars ? As more or less any village garage can tell whether a car is too far retarded or too far advanced I cannot be expected to believe that carefully prepared Press cars about to undergo road-test would be mal-adjusted! However, accepting Mr. Pomeroy’s revised figures, the Cortina still returns inferior braking and traction to the Taunus 12M.
The crux of the argument, which goes in my favour, is surely whether the World’s motorists care so very dearry about the foregoing percentages or whether they are more concerned about a comfortable ride and good handling characteristics having a direct bearing on safety—and Mr. Pomeroy avoids any reference to these qualities, which are difficult to measure as percentages but very evident to driver and passengers. Finally, Mr. Pomeroy must think me and my readers very gullible to try to get away with the statement that “both models have their back axles suspended on leaf-springs.” Of course we know that, but what he omits to tell us is that the Cortina’s is a live and therefore heavy axle containing crown-wheel and pinion, drive shafts, bearings and lubricant and supporting a propeller shaft, whereas, because the Taunus 12M is front-wheel-driven,
its back axle is very light indeed, formed, in fact, of a top-hat-section steel beam, located by an anti-roll bar. Which is a very different proposition! The f.w.d. Lancia Flavia has a similar back axle and suspension and gives one of the liatest, most comfortable rides of any car. The Cortina may be an acceptable vehicle for the easily-satisfied masses, although a road-test report of it I saw in a weekly paper on November ist damned it with praise that wasn’t so much faint as comatose. But technicians must accept many aspects, not least the suspension, of cars like the 12M and Morris/M.G. x zoos, as infinitely superior. Frankly, I am astonished that Laurence Pomeroy is not one of them.—En.]