To anyone outside of Europe, the Ford Taunus TC may be somewhat unfamiliar. Basically, this fastback coupé variant of the Mk3 Cortina (‘TC’ stands for Taunus Cortina) was produced in Germany from 1970 to 1975, and could be purchased with different engine configurations spanning a 1.6L four-cylinder up to a 2.3L V6. What Andres Arnover from Estonia has created, however, is a little different.
There’s no denying the Taunus TC coupé’s muscle car-inspired styling, and although the Cologne V6 in the top-spec models made decent power, what the car really needed to live up to its image was a V8. Andres thought so too.
Before I jump into the details of this 434ci Windsor V8-powered 1972 Taunus GXL, you should know that it was previously powered by a Cosworth 2.9L V6. That was a very cool setup for the car (which you can see above in action back in 2014), but knowing a little more about Andres, you’ll understand why eight cylinders were always destined to find their way into the engine bay.
You see, Andres owns a previously-featured Mustang that holds two Ford small block world drag racing records, so you could say he knows a thing or two about going fast with a traditional V8.
The engine combination in this Taunus is simple yet effective, built around an aluminum Windsor 434ci (7.1L) Dart small block V8 with Diamond 10.0:1 forged pistons and a Callies Magnum 4.00 stroke crank. With twin 78mm Boostlab turbos along for the ride and ethanol in the fuel tank, the Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 ECU-managed setup is good for 1,550hp and 1350lb-ft on 18psi of boost pressure.
That’s a lot of grunt to put down to the ground, so you can bet that Andres specced the Taunus TC with all the right stuff. There’s a 2-speed M&M Powerglide transmission running out to a Ford 9-inch rear end, and the classic combo of 28×11.5×15 Hoosier Quick Time Pro tires wrapped around Weld wheels. In order to fit the fat tires out back, Andres widened the rear fenders by about four inches, which is visually the biggest change to the exterior other than the hood scoop, which was another necessity.
You won’t find any of the ‘Grand Xtra Luxury’ that comes with the GXL badge inside this Taunus TC anymore. Today, the ’70s cabin houses a pair of modern race seats and a roll cage, not to mention contemporary electronics in the form of a Haltech Racepak IQ3 dash. AutoMeter Sport Comp gauges are still used though.
For me, the best part of this Taunus build is that it can be street driven and run on pump gas if needed. That explains the ‘Hot Rod Drag Week’ number plate on the vehicle. It was a long-time dream for Andres to compete in world’s hardest drag racing event, and shipping the car 5,000 miles from home was only a tiny part of the experience.
In Estonia, you couldn’t legally drive this car on the road, but in the US, Andres had no such problem during Drag Week. Doing so while hauling a trailer was indeed a challenge, but Andres says it was so rewarding.
At the various stops, the Ford posted an average quarter mile elapsed time of 8.7-seconds and a speed of 161mph (260km/h) – not bad for a chassis that weighs 3,085lbs (1,400kg).
I’m not sure what the future for this car holds as Andres has moved it on now. But it will remain in my memory as a proper muscle car – just made in Europe.