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Fun From Ford
Two bigger engines and a new Granada show that Dagenham are not resting on their laurels. Ian Wearing reports
Have you noticed that, since the start of the oil crisis back in 1973, Ford in common with most other manufacturers have been playing down the performance bit and placing the accent very much on economy - but it looks like it's all about to change judging by the three models I recently took for a trip round the lanes.
Number one is a higher performance version of the Fiesta fitted with a 1 300 engine adapted from the Kent crossflow series It has five main bearings compared to the other Fiesta's three, a twin-choke Weber carb and pushes out 66bhp (DIN). Ford reckon it will turn in 98mph and 0-60mph in 10.7 seconds.
Apart from some suspension fine tuning to increase roll stiffness and the fitting of adjustable shocks on the S model, the main change to the drive line was an extra bearing in the longest drive shaft to equalise torque reaction.
I tried a Ghia version which could certainly move about a bit and would bend its needle off the 100mph speedo with consummate ease - they ought to have at least a 110mph clock.
The larger tyres and wheels plus the extra torque from the engine tends to make the steering feel slightly heavier but still accurate and nicely weighted.
Those extra cee cees cenainly make the engine a bit rougher and the larger electric fan is a bit of a noisy devil But at about £1 50 extra for the 'S' and £130 more for the Ghia compared with the 1100 models, the Fiesta can now be considered to be performance orientated and a quick efficient means of transport.
And now more muscle from the Cortina. At last Ford have decided to drop a V engine into it, but not theBritish one. This V is from the German Fords and is a 2.3 litre lump. It is reputedly both lighter and more economical than the UK V. Even so it still weighs in at 64lb more than the 2 litre OHC so Ford have opted for power steering - this is also now available on the 2 litre cars as well.
Gearing is up by virtue of a 3.44:1 diff and the suspension has some small changes made.
I was most impressed by the power steering which made the car easy to shuffle about when manoeuvring but still gave plenty of feel when moving fast. It had none of the 'darting' tendencies of some larger cars that seem to over-react to the helm.
Power felt beefier and the car would pull lustily from 20mph in top - something it would never do with the OHC. At the top end of the rev scale, the V ran out of breath at around SOOOrpm and the last few mph of the 106 top speed were a long time coming.
Spotting the new shape Granada is going to be a problem - it looks so like about five other makes currently on the road including the big Peugeot, Opel Re-kord and Audi 100.
Most of the basic engineering of old car remains substantially un-changed but the big news is the German Vee engines again Both the 2.3 and 28 litre versions are optional in addition to the 2 litre OHC. On top of that, standard on the 'S' model and an option on other 28 versions is Bosch petrol injection. The standard 28 has a Solex twin choke carb and gives 1 35bhp - just 3bhp less than the old 3 litre. But, with injection, this climbs to a healthy 165bhp and, Ford say, propels the 100lb lighter new Granada to 60mph in only 8 5 seconds That's quick.
Apart from the engine change, Ford's main intention seems to have been to upgrade the car in both equipment offered and price No base model 2 litre is now available and the Ghia 2.8 with all the options fitted - like air conditioning, electric windows, central door locking etc can turn the scales at around £8000!
My quick thrash around the houses indicated that the engines felt more responsive and lively and revved smoothly but lacked a bit at the bottom end compared with the 3 litre. In automatic form this didn't matter as the excellent Ford box was very quick to respond
Other likes were the ventilation which gave bags of fresh air without blowing a gale and the quiet, stable high speed capability. I didn't like the power steering which felt ultra sensitive but a trifle dead round the centre with not enough self centring.
Top-Right - Above: The offside drive shaft on the Fiesta 1300 features an extra bearing to equalise the angles on the two universal joints
Top-Right - The only way you'll tell a 1300 from the outside is by the discrete 1300 plastered all over the side
Bottom-Right - Above: 2.3 litres of V fall into the Cortina easily-now, how about a 2.8 injection version? Left: Granada 'S' has such an engine and special low profile Michelins