The Ford Corsair 2000E

An excellent car

The development of the V4 and V6 Fords is interesting. When Motor Sport tried them last year in various forms they were disappointing, the 60 deg. engines being rough when idling and having vibration periods, the comparatively poor performance of the Corsair V4 GT underlining our general disillusionment.

But the 3-litre Zodiac Executive proved that these early shortcomings had been largely overcome: it is a very acceptable car. Likewise, the Corsair 2000E, or Executive Corsair, is, taken all round, an excellent car. It replaces the unhappy Corsair GT, its V4 engine being provided with bigger ports, a new camshaft, and a double-choke Weber 32DIF carburetter instead of a single-choke Zenith Stromberg. These modifications have produced 97 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. in place of 88 at 4,700 without spoiling the torque curve, so that the result is a truly lively and enjoyable car in the Ford tradition.

The Corsair 2000E has been given the luxury touch. as well as the more powerful engine. So you have good seats upholstered in Cirrus 500 pvc, the front ones perhaps a bit too hard but having excellent reclining squabs. The walnut veneer facia carries tachometer (with red segment from 5,600 to 7,000 r.p.m.), a 110 m.p.h. speedometer with decimal odometer, and two dials combining fuel-gauge, oil-gauge, accessories and turn-indicators, warning lights, generator light, ammeter and thermometer. Calibration is casual but oil-pressure normally sits at the segment equivalent to 50/55 lb. sq. in. The gear lever positions have been altered and the r.h. stalk which controls turn signals, headlamps flashing and dipping has been relieved of blowing the horn, as a half-horn-ring is now fitted.

There is the impeccable Ford "Aeroflow" ventilation, deep pile carpeting which the Ford sales-literature says "would look luxurious in a penthouse," and elegant trim in black vinyl that "maintains this subtle atmosphere of leisured luxury," so that it was unfortunate that you could peel it off the console as you sometimes can an inexpensive covering off a kitchen table. Moreover, this trim does not prevent the plating on the console reflecting in the windscreen in certain conditions of light. Additional special 2000E features include reflectors built into the o/s doors to give warning after dark that they are open, a gear-lever gaiter, carpet in the boot and a vinyl cover over the spare wheel, a good dipping mirror, illumination of boot and engine compartment, coat hooks and roof grabs, but no vanity mirror in the n/s vizor. There are also special wheel trims, rubber-capped over-riders, reversing lights, individual radiator grille and crested motif, and the black vinyl covering to the roof which is becoming the mark of the pseudo-executive automobile.

The main facia contains the control knobs for the n/s and o/s fresh-air gimbels (the knobs worked far too stiffly), cigarette-lighter and choke. The 2-speed wipers/washers knob is well placed for the right hand on the lower facia but, because this is recessed, the switches for lamps, panel-lighting and heater-fan are "fumbly." Stowage is confined to an unlockable cubby-hole and under-facia and rear shelves. It is good to find that 4-lights have been deleted but a pity their frames remain. The heavy bonnet still needs a prop.

Other aspects of this likeable Corsair follow accepted Ford practice, so do not need much embellishment. Powerful acceleration, aided by a light and pleasing gear change, has long been an outstanding aspect of the Cortina GT. The Corsair 2000E goes from 0-50 m.p.h. in 9.3 sec., to 60 m.p.h. in 13 1/2 sec. and to 70 m.p.h. in 18.7 sec. This betters comparative figures of 9.5, 13.9 and 19.2 sec. by the early Cortina GT and needs no further praise.

The ride is still lively and lurchy but has been improved, the Servo disc/drum brakes work rather fiercely, with a slight clonk as play in the pedal takes up but are powerful and fade-free, cornering for a family car is good, the neutral sweep through fast bends, the light steering getting heavier towards full lock, being particularly reassuring, aided on the test car by those excellent Goodyear G800 radial-ply tyres, of 165 x 13 section. The facia hand brake is well positioned for the left hand but horrid to operate.

The V4 engine is still not free from roughness when idling or at speed and is too noisy (approx. 4,000 r.p.m. at 70 m.p.h.) for an executive car. There are also some annoying body rattles and drumming, and for a time loud squeaks came from a steering-column bush whenever the wheel was turned, as they had on the Cortina GT I tried last Christmas. The driver's internal door handle tended to stick. But the Corsair 2000E is notably sparing of petrol. I had one of the fastest runs ever from my place in Radnorshire to my other home in Hampshire in this Ford, presumably because of its ability to so quickly resume cruising speed after a hold-up, and on a number of careful checks, odometer corrected, its thirst for premium ranged from 25.9 to 27.7 m.p.g., with an overall figure of 26.7 m.p.g. The absolute fuel range was 259 miles. The oil level hadn't dropped after 800 miles. The dip-stick is housed between battery and radiator hose.

Incidentally, the very nicely printed catalogue with colour plates is amusing; I can only assume that the couple motoring in their Corsair V4 and wearing safety belts on a deserted Waterloo Bridge at 4.30 a.m. are afraid to go out in daylight because their car isn't carrying registration plates, but I note that another, younger, couple in a Corsair V4 estate car have at least ventured down the drive, although their Ford is also devoid of number plates!

Joking apart, the Ford Corsair 2000E is an excellent car. It is rather expensive at £1,007 18s. 4d. but it should be a sales-winner nevertheless. Not everyone needs luxury fittings in a car of this class, so the same 1,996 c.c. engine in the ordinary Corsair, or in the new Cortina, might be an even bigger success. – W.B.