RHD 4-door GT
"Rusting in Pieces"
in New Hampshire
I needed a windshield for the MKI Lotus Cortina. A friend told me of another Cortina, sitting in a barn in Deerfield, Massachusetts that could probably be hauled away for a song.
We backed the trailer down to the barn, and swung open the door. Inside, on the concrete floor of the old cow barn, was a 1963 4 door Cortina GT resting on cinder blocks. The engine had been removed, and was now sitting in the trunk, with other engine parts scattered around in back and in the interior. The glass was intact (yes!). And... after the dust was wiped from the windows... right hand drive! And... Look at the cool dashboard! Look at the cool column-mounted tachometer!
We bolted on spare road wheels, jacked it back down, and dragged it along the floor and onto the trailer. As the car was moving past a pile of old bricks, I asked the owner if I could toss them in. Luckily, he agreed. When I got home, I was able to show my wife the bricks that I had acquired for our front yard walk-way, and, well... I had to bring this old Cortina home, too. He insisted.
I think the car is too rusted to try to bring back to life. I have used the front bumper and the windshield. The rear tail-light assemblies (minus lens) are promised to another owner. But I just can't throw the rest of the car away. Look at the cool dashboard! Look at the cool column-mounted tachometer! And wouldn't it be swell to tool around in a RHD Cortina GT? I just CAN'T throw it away.
It's underneath my barn. Right now. Rusting.
Updated: April 20, 2004
But not anymore! Last summer (2003), I poured a concrete floor under the barn. In the process of preparing for that, I hauled the '63 GT out... and took another look... and decided to try and bring it back from the edge. The rusty edge. It was stripped of trim, and hauled to a friend's garage, who has begun the process of cutting and welding and filling. Last weekend, I acquired a 1966 Cortina Deluxe to cut up and use as a body patch-panel donor. More to report, in the days and weeks ahead!
In the meantime, take a look at some of the new pictures- follow the link below.
Definitely NOT Anymore!
I drove over to Doug Twerdy's home/garage in nearby Deering yesterday morning, with the trailer in tow. There was a light dusting of snow (second or third of the season so far) and it was also pretty darn cold. No one was home when I got there, so I had to push and pull the GT into position by myself, before "come-along-ing" it onto the trailer. I had just finished strapping it down, and moved the short ramps into the back of the Volvo wagon, when Doug drove up. (Opportune timing, don't you think??? He must have been watching from down the road, through binoculars. Must have.)
He had finished preparing the car the weekend before, sprayed it, left it inside overnight, and then pushed it out the next day. We kept the final coats "Windsor Grey", which admittedly does look a bit like shiny primer, but... it also looks very nice against the original red interior. And besides, this body repair and paint was NOT supposed to be a total restoration, and I did not want to paint the door jambs, interior panels, inside of the boot/trunk etc. ... so we didn't. But still, the new paint matches the original, in a 40-year-difference sort-of way.
And so, after hauling it back home, I enlisted the aid of my wife and daughters, and we pushed it back into the barn (but now upstairs on the first floor, not underneath where it used to be. A definite promotion!) where it is resting in the back corner, behind the MKI Lotus Cortina, waiting for Spring. The plans are to pull the 1600 GT engine out of the Cortina Deluxe parts car, clean it up a bit, and install it in the '63 GT. Possibly front struts and brakes will swap over as well. Trim has been collected for a few years, and I have almost all I need (except for a "Consul" plate for the hood/bonnet. Does anyone have one? I don't need a perfect one, "good enough" would keep me happy.) I have the glass, but still need a front windscreen gasket. The rear window gasket is "good enough". The red interior just needs cleaning, the wiring needs inspecting and re-attaching to components, but is all there. I have a set of unusual period Marchal headlamps which should look good in it. I have no idea as to the condition of the gearbox or axle, but I figure I will just drain the oil (if any), refill and see if the gears turn approximately as expected. Remember, this is NOT a restoration.
And so, the 1963 RHD GT is back home, and it's grey and it's shiny! Check out the new pictures, follow the link below!