Ford Corsair

Ford Corsair

The name Ford Corsair was used both for a car produced by Ford of Britain between 1963 and 1970 and for an unrelated Nissan based automobile marketed by Ford Australia between 1989 and 1992.


  • Ford Consul Corsair (1963-1965), Ford Corsair V4 (1965-1970) - Britain 1
  • Ford Corsair UA - Australia 2
  • Edsel Corsair 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Ford Consul Corsair (1963-1965), Ford Corsair V4 (1965-1970) - Britain

Ford Consul Corsair
Manufacturer Ford UK
Production 1963–1970
Assembly Halewood, England (1964-1969)
Dagenham, England (1969-1970)[1]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door saloon
2-door convertible
5-door estate car
Layout FR layout
Wheelbase 101.0 in (2,565 mm)
Length 176.75 in (4,489 mm)
Width 63.5 in (1,613 mm)
Height 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
Kerb weight 2,194 lb (995 kg)
Successor Ford Cortina mark 3

The Ford Consul Corsair (later known simply as the Ford Corsair), manufactured by Ford UK, is a midsize car that was introduced at the London Motor Show in October 1963[2] and available as either a saloon or estate from 1964 until 1970. There was also a convertible version built by Crayford, which is now very rare and highly sought after as a classic. Two-door Corsair saloons are also rare, being built only to order in the UK, although volume two-door production continued for some export markets. Only one example of the fleet model, the Consul Corsair Standard, is known to exist.

Ford Corsair V4 estate 1966. The stylish Corsair estate conversion was produced by Abbott. It was more expensive than most permutations of the Cortina estate but offered no more load carrying capability. It was never a big seller.

The Corsair replaced the Consul Classic range and was essentially a long wheelbase re-skinned Cortina (the windscreen and much of the internal panelling was the same). The Corsair had unusual and quite bold styling for its day, with a sharp horizontal V-shaped crease at the very front of the car into which round headlights were inset. This gave the car an apparently aerodynamic shape. The jet-like styling extended to the rear where sharply pointed vertical light clusters hinted at fins. The overall styling was clearly inspired by the early 1960s Ford Thunderbird, though in transferring the look to a British family car, the overall effect is something of an acquired taste. This American styling cue had also been adapted by Ford, in Germany, for the (at the time controversially styled) 1960 Ford Taunus 17M.

Ford Corsair V4 2-door convertible 1967. The Corsair convertible was a product of Crayford Auto Developments which was first exhibited at the London Motor Show in October 1966[3]
With the vinyl roofed Corsair 2000E Ford attempted to compete on price half a class up in the category dominated (in the UK) by the Rover 2000 and Triumph 2000.

The car was initially offered with the larger 60 bhp (45 kW), single carburettor, 1.5 L Kent engine that was also used in the smaller Cortina, in standard and GT form.

The range was revised in September 1965, adopting new Ford Essex V4 engines, making it rough at idle and coarse on the road. This engine was available in 1663 cc form at first, but later in 1966, a larger 2.0 litre L version was offered alongside. One marketing tag line for the V4 models was "The Car That Is Seen But Not Heard", which was a real stretch of the ad man's puff, given the inherent characteristics of the engine. The other tag was "I've got a V in my bonnet". A 3.0 litre conversion using the Ford Essex V6 engine was available in Britain in conjunction with Jeff Uren's Raceproved company and was known as the "Corsair Savage."

An estate car by Abbott was added to the range on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966,[4] and in 1967, the Corsair underwent the Executive treatment like its smaller Cortina sibling, resulting in the 2000E model with dechromed flanks, which necessitated non styled-in door handles, special wheel trims, reversing lights, a vinyl roof, and upgraded cabin fittings. The 2000E, priced at £1,008 in 1967, was positioned as a cut price alternative to the Rover 2000, the introduction of which had effectively defined a new market segment for four cylinder executive sedans in the UK three years earlier: the Corsair 2000E comfortably undercut the £1,357 Rover 2000 and the £1,047 Humber Sceptre.[5]

The Corsair's performance was good for a car of its type and period, with a top speed in its 2.0 L V4 version of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) as measured by the speedometer,[6] and exceptional acceleration at full throttle resulting from the progressive 28/36mm twin-choke Weber downdraught carburettor. A popular story circulated that if the car were driven at speeds over 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), its wedge-shaped nose would generate sufficient lift to make the vehicle dangerously unstable.

The Corsair was replaced by the Mk 3 Cortina in 1970, at which time the enlarged Cortina became Ford's midsized car, and a new smaller model, the Escort, had already filled in the size below. The new Ford Capri took on the performance and sporty aspirations of the company.

Over its six-year production, 310,000 Corsairs were built.

Ford Corsair UA - Australia

Ford Corsair UA
Ford Corsair (UA) GL sedan
Manufacturer Nissan Australia
Production 1989–1992
Assembly Clayton, Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Related Nissan Pintara
Engine 1,974 cc CA20E I4
2,389 cc KA24E I4
Predecessor Ford Telstar
Successor Ford Telstar

Between 1989 and 1992, the Ford Corsair name was used by Ford Australia for a badge engineered version of the Nissan Pintara (a version of the Bluebird). Known during development as 'Project Matilda',[7] the Corsair was produced under a model-sharing scheme known as the Button Plan. It was offered as a four-door sedan and as a five-door hatchback, in GL and Ghia trim levels with 2.0 L (CA20E) and 2.4 L (KA24E) four cylinder engines. The Corsair was intended to replace the Mazda 626-based Ford Telstar, which was imported from Japan. The two were sold side-by-side in the Australian Ford range, with the Telstar only available as the high-performance TX5 hatchback. When Nissan closed its Australian plant in 1992, the Corsair was discontinued and the imported Telstar once again became Ford's main offering in the medium size segment, until being replaced by the Mondeo in 1995.

Edsel Corsair

The Edsel Corsair was produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company in the United States and sold under its Edsel marque in 1958 and 1959


  1. ^ "News and Views: Corsairs to Dagenham".  
  2. ^ "Used Cars on test: 1964 Ford Corsair de Luxe".  
  3. ^ "Cars stand by stand: coachwork: Crayford Auto Developments [stand]173".  
  4. ^ "Corsair GT Estate Car".  
  5. ^ "Ford Corsair 2000E road test".  
  6. ^ Measured at 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) by Motoring Which? April 1968 issue
  7. ^ Information, Opportunism and Economic Coordination, Peter E. Earl, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2002, page 28

External links

  • Corsair web pages