The race-proved Ford Savage

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Today Jeff Uren runs Race Proved Performance and Racing Equipment Ltd., which supplies special parts for Ford engines and is responsible for the Sprint GT version of the Cortina. Now Uren has pulled another hot Ford out of the Race Proved bag, a car which owes its increased performance not to furious tuning, but to the installation of a 3-litre V6 Zephyr engine in a Cortina shell. Uren calls this unique car the Ford Savage. As the standard V6 Ford engine of this capacity gives 144 (gross) b.h.p. at 4,750 r.p.m. and 192.5 lb./ft. (gross) torque at 3,000 r.p.m., and the V6 Cortina weighs 19½. cwt., the acceleration and effortless urge which should come from combining them are easy to visualise.

The mating of a big V6 engine and the latest Lotus-Cortina was probably first achieved by Henry Taylor (Motor Sport, May 1967), but Uren has worked independently in producing the Savage. He spent some 1,100 hours, six months and 30,000 miles on development, to ensure that the thing would work, not only as a road car but in the more strenuous forms of competition work, such as autocross. It was not just a matter of ” dropping in the different power unit.” Because the V6 engine is 200 lb. heavier than that of the Cortina the suspension had to be carefully revised, to obviate excessive understeer and, indeed, to prevent the springs from breaking away through the bodywork and body rails buckling and collapsing, etc. The Savage incorporates modifications to the length of coil-springs and the pans of the front struts, to the spring rates on hump and rebound, and to the geometry of the suspension under weight transfer and spring camber, a degree of negative camber being built in. Then the engine had to be modified, not to increase power, which is adequate, so that Uren does not contemplate developing a ” hot ” version at present, but to enable the exhaust system, water connections, etc., to fit satisfactorily into the restricted space under the Cortina’s bonnet. Care had to be taken to eliminate back axle wind-up under the improved step-off available and to ensure that the clutch and half-shafts would stand up to the increase in torque. The cooling capacity has been increased and a thermostatically controlled fan has been fitted.

The engine is mated to a Corsair V4 GT gearbox, the half-shafts are uprated, and the 3.77 back axle incorporates a Powr-Lok differential. Laycock overdrive may soon be available. Servo brakes with anti-fade pads and linings, an additional 8-gallon fuel tank at the rear of the hoot to give a total capacity of 18-gallons, Lotus-Cortina wheels shod with Goodyear G800 tyres, laminated screen, a splendid littie leather-gaitered alloy-spoked steering wheel, wooden gear-lever knob, foot-rest for the clutch foot, Contour racing-type front seats, side turn-indicators, a reversing light, 140-m.p.h. speedometer calibration and V6 motifs on the boot, with a discreet speed-flash along the base of the body sides, complete this Ford Savage. It sells for £1,365 inclusive of p.t., delivery taking eight to ten weeks. Extras available include balanced magnesium wheels (£90), Cox GT3 Mk. 2 safety seats with inertia-reel belts (£35) and Weathershields Sunway Slimline sliding roof (£41 13s. 6d.). Details from Race Proved Performance and Racing Equipment Ltd., 177, Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, London, W.7 (01-579 0991).

The appeal of this Ford Savage is that it gives extremely good performance in the American-car style (Uren claims 0-60 m.p.h. in 7 sec., over 100 m.p.h. and 28 m.p.g. at touring speeds), with compact size, unobtrusive appearance, and handling akin to that of a saloon-car racer. Unfortunately the Savage I took away to try refused to fire on all six cylinders, being Race Perverted so to speak, so while I can vouch for the extremely good handling (steering ratio, 16.4 to 1) with only a mildly harsh ride, I was unable to enjoy the full performance of this 3-litre Savage or get better than about 20 m.p.g.

The car was submitted once more for us to take acceleration figures but before satisfactory times could be achieved such disturbing rattles began to emanate from the rear end of the car that we were forced to abandon the test. —W.B.

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