A fast estate car

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THE V4 FORD CORSAIR ABBOTT GT

NOT having been altogether favourably impressed with the Ford V4 Corsair GT I tried earlier this year, I was asked by Ford’s alert Public Relations Department if I would try the Corsair GT Estate Car, which they considered I would find a much improved vehicle.

Ignoring the sentiment that GT stands for Grand Touring or Gran Turisimo and to me implies a very fast 2-seater with just space for a modicum of luggage behind the driver and his chosen passenger, I took over this Abbott-bodied estate car at an opportune time when there was furniture to remove from London to the country (my wife craves antiques as I covet vintage ears). This Ford Corsair GT Estate is amongst the more refined of its kind; its spare wheel is buried beneath the floor of the rear compartment and this is carpeted. Not quite the vehicle for carrying pigs to market or car clobber home to the workshop, and its comparatively low roofline meant that a normal-size armchair could not be got inside it. However, by leaving the self-locking lift-up tailgate open the chair we wished to transport sat half in, half outside the body and travelled securely enough.

GT may be an absurd designation for a long estate-bodied car but the vivid acceleration of this 2-litre V4 Ford is certainly worth having. The ride is better than that of the saloon, and in spite of the area of the body interior the Aeroflow ventilation system is as effective as we have come to expect.

It is indecent to speak of maximum speed in this impoverished, decadent, Americanised little country, but 70 m.p.h. comes up very easily, although the engine made a lot of noise approaching it, and I still regard it as less smooth than the four-in-line Ford Cortina GT; it also idled roughly.

The separate front seats were firm and particularly good at giving support to the occupants. The bench second seat folded very easily to give maximum floor space, and in other respectd this Abbott Estate performed in typical, practical Ford fashion. The horn, controlled from a somewhat elusive half-ring, had a relaxed throat and rubbing sounds occasionally emanated from the steering, but otherwise there were no anxieties on a hard day’s motoring from Hampshire into remotest Rutland and the flat, damp Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border country.

It gave the confidence of dependability I have long come to associate with Dagenham products, but road-holding in the wind and the wet of an August day, on Firestone F7 tyres, was not impressive, while understeer was sufficiently pronounced to tire the arms. Full, if rather scattered, instrumentation was appreciated, and how many estate cars can boast a tachometer and an engine running up to nearly 6,000 r.p.m. ?

Fuel consumption came out at 27.7 m.p.g., using mostly the best Mobilgas in the forlorn hope of winning a splendid vintage car, until one of the sealed 3-card packets served to us by the Mill Hill Garage at March yielded only a couple of cards (Horrid thought—could the card that was missing have been a Trump Card, putting us in the running for that 1929 4½-litre Bentley?), whereupon we lost interest and went back to the local Total Service Station, where they top up the battery, put air in the tyres and, if asked, clean the screen, free of charge, as well as giving away stamps and running a simple money-prize gamble of their own.

The hand-brake is more awkward than that of a Cortina GT but otherwise no complaints. This is a handsome (except for its narrow track), useful, well-contrived commodity carrier, worth the £1,149 5s. 5d. it now costs.