I’ve always found car cultures fascinating. In particular, I find the sub-cultures within each scene even more intriguing and often try to figure out the common threads between ‘rival’ scenes. In the Ford community, I’ve always found that there are two different approaches to builds.
The process and dedication is often the same, with meticulous planning, the desperate search for the right parts and painstaking fabrication. But on one side, you have the man in a garage slaving away at restoring his creation to its factory-defined and original glory. Just like the day it rolled off the assembly line.
This isn’t one of these cars.
When I first met Barnaby Levy earlier this year, on a shoot for Classic Ford magazine, I thought straight away that he was going to be my sort of guy.
Passionate about his cars, with a no bullshit attitude towards getting the end result he wants from a project car.
It was also the fact that he’s shaped the alleyway beside his house and put the rain gutters on a quick release, so that he can squeeze his car in and out.
Now, that’s dedication.
This isn’t a story about Barnaby’s brilliant, but slightly terrifying driveway though. Instead, it’s about the three and a half year’s worth of work carried out in the shed behind his house.
This Cortina wasn’t just built on a day-to-day basis however. There was a vision to the build that ensured Barnaby stayed on track and was rewarded for, with the end product.
Anyone who has worked on or built their own project car, will tell you that it requires a lot of self discipline to prevent yourself from going too far, or veering away from the original idea.
In this particular instance, the idea was simple – a fast road Cortina, utilising reliable and addictive power in period touring car attire.The execution
From a Ford family point of view, it was always going to be a controversial choice to run a non-Ford engine. I think the more hardcore family members are only just starting to come around to the idea of Vauxhall red top power, albeit reluctantly. But the notion of running a Japanese engine is completely alien to the majority within the scene.
Barnaby’s choice of an early Lancer Turbo-sourced 4G63 is actually inspired. The single camshaft, eight valve engine strikes a remarkable resemblance to Ford’s own Pinto motor so it doesn’t look out of place beneath the Ermine White bonnet.
Based on a similar block design to the first Lancer Evolution engines, power is easily and cheaply attainable. It’s also a reliable motor, making in excess of 250hp. I’m sure some of you are thinking “Pah, only 250hp? My remapped turbo diesel Audi can make that.” True, but your remapped T-diddly-I doesn’t weigh in at under 800kg…
The manifold, which is mated to a Garret T3 is a made-in-his-shed creation. A Civic exhaust manifold was sacrificed for this purpose.
When Barnaby was showing me around the car, it was plain to see that the term “that’ll do” clearly doesn’t exist in his vocabulary.
Every little thing, regardless of how insignificant it might seem, was either replaced or repaired back to as-new condition. It’s an easy thing to say you’re going to do, but the reality in actually doing it, well, that’s something else.
To ensure the continuity of the period touring car racer, there was no other option but to strip and cage the interior. But even this was done with a certain amount of finesse.
Careful consideration of how everything needed to be, whilst always keeping an eye on how it fitted into the rest of the build was key.
The roll cage, whilst modest by modern standards, is a period correct John Aley cage. The alloy finishing was again, home-made, with equal distance measured between the bolts securing the panels to the body.
Again, the 15×5.5″ painted steels are a modest but enjoyable detail. There’s nothing ostentatious here. I quite like that.Narrow and proud
On paper, this car probably doesn’t excite people in the way that maybe a Liberty Walk car does. But that’s not the point of it.
It’s a car built by a man with a clear and definite vision of how it should turn out, and how the end result was exactly what he intended.
It’s full of fascinating details that are happy to patiently wait for you to discover them, rather than standing out and screaming for your attention.
At the same time, it’s not the sort of car that is going to live a pampered lifestyle either. It would be so easy to never want to dirty a car this immaculate by driving it on the road or launching it up the drag strip. But that’s exactly why the car was created. To be used.
In the first chapter of this story, I said I thought Barnaby would be my sort of guy. The moment I knew he was was after a curt but polite question: “Where do you want me to do a burnout?”
He had an idea and made it reality by himself. This man can be proud of himself, because he's an artist.
Oh sweet Mother Mary, to me this car is more exciting than anything you've featured for a while (well that old Celica was nice too). You can through that LB junk in the trash and hand me the keys to this. Subtle exterior changes (mmm those steelies) coupled with a "screw it, why not" engine, perfect.
Love the old Cortinas. First 3 photos of the driveway/shed are great too Paddy!
That car is absolutely beautiful. Fantastic job my friend...
More like this. Real builds. real peeps. Real speed
Sublime. Subtle. Restrained. Tasteful... and all that on 13" steels. Just as it should be.
I'd rather read more stories about cars like this than those liberty walk builds.
What a great build, love the Ford Cortina, already as a child I was fascinated by those taillights. Great article Paddy.
Really dig this car, I have never looked at classic fords/vauxhaulls with too much interest but this is going to have a few hours of my attention for sure.
Cool car! It has lots of character.
Now this is unique, diggin it big time!
One of the best features in a while.
So much better to see someone who really has some skills and dedication, doing work himself, rather than buying some parts and bolting them on.
Liberty Walk Ferrari or this?
This, every time. Without a doubt.
i hate bastardised car...but this one just right!!! the engine details just classy!
Fantastic car. I love seeing a really well thought out and well executed build, but when you showed how he has to thread the car down the side of his house, that just sealed the deal for me.
I rarely comment on things here, I'm usually happy to just sit back and read things through, but I have a lot of love for this car. Excellent feature and nice to see a good ole 'tina built to this standard by a dedicated, real-world individual with the intention of still actually using it
What a beautiful machine. The restrained, almost "cafe racer" style is a really nice example of less sometimes being more.
Another great article Paddy and a lovely car you've made Barnaby.
Nice, very nice. I am puting a Toyota 4aeg silver top on my 1963. Won't be as fast as yours but there's plenty of spares and parts for it here in Peru. Congratulations on yours!
Good read, great pictures, more of this Paddy.........
@Alfonso sounds great and best of luck with it and thanks , Cheers Barn
Thanks for all the great comments but i think Paddy has caught the car just right in the pics and told the story just right ,which helps a lot as you all know , Ace Paddy .. Cheers Barn
@Alfonso I love 20v 4age, good choice my man
i love this cortina!!!
@Barn You're being modest Barn, beautiful car.
A really nice car that looks great.
Those front top strut mount should really be looked at.
The rubber is all cracked and dried out looking.
NicholasMaher They where on order and now fitted , just that mk1 cortina top strut mounts dont come bye easy , and i dont wont to go solid roller , but well spotted
Love the build, clean, simple and elegant.
Looks the part and I bet its pretty nippy too
I don't usually comment with livefyre for fear of countless reply emails, but I have to say this was a great article. You build up the idea that this is an immaculate vintage race car with the photography, then boom, that burnout shot. Totally unexpected!
Raphy I suspect that you know this, but... You can turn off email notifications.
Ahh man this little Ford is cool as f**k
Damn, well done Paddy. That is awesome. Tom
This is a awesome looking car. What is the year of it? How much money was put into the car??
Peter J. | http://www.ayerscollision.com
That is fantastic. Coolest of cars, done just right. I'd love to see it.
Not much mention of chassis rigidity and whether any reinforcement was added, I wonder how it holds up to all the power.
jarred1204 The chassis runners are seam welded and the rear has a cds tube welded in but as a road car as well i dont want it to stiff , and the wheels dont hold the power on the road ,lol 3rd gear rollers
Every little thing, regardless of how insignificant it might seem, was either replaced or repaired back to as-new condition
If the above is so, can you kindly explain why the strut top rubbers are perished and cracking ?
calvinx You being the second to notice this but because you didn't read all the comments here you are , this photo shot was taken a 2 yrs after the car was finished and after track days and driving around country Irish roads they needed doing and top mounts for mk1 cortinas are not easy to come by so sorry for not having it done straight away and the reason for not fitting new solid roller ones is to stiff on the ride , but you will be happy to know you can now get them redone at the mk1 owners club , but i had already found a set of NOS mounts . Cheers
This is gorgeous. It's incredibly clean and it truly is uncanny how similar that Mitsubishi motor looks to the Ford 2.3L.