GRR

This is the original uber-estate

20th October 2016
Bob Murray

Fast estate cars – think Audi RS Avant and its ilk – are a relatively new phenomenon, or are they? In the 1970s there was… the Ford Cortina. But a particularly Savage version of it.

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At first sight this silver Cortina Mk 2 estate looks par for the 1970 course. But look closer and there are plenty of clues to its true identity – the aftermarket wheels, lowered suspension, exhaust, Lotus dials, RS seats, and a curious letter S at the centre of the grille where they should be a C.

Something is clearly afoot and one look under the bonnet tells you what. No 1,600cc donk here, not even a Lotus twin cam, but instead shoehorned in is an Essex 3.0-litre V6. This is a Cortina but not as we know it – and, being an estate, not at all what people 40 years ago expected.

The car is the creation of 1960s hot saloon hero, and former British saloon car champion, Jeff Uren, and this was his own car. It was his daily driver for 20 years until he sold it in 1991. Now it can be yours – it’s one of the lots in the Silverstone Auctions Classic Motor Show Sale at the NEC on 12 November, with a guide price of £24-28,000.

Uren made a speciality out of putting big engines into little cars but cut his teeth as a racing driver, engineer and team manager. As competitions manager he looked after the John Willment stable of Ford Galaxies, Falcons, Cobras and GT40s.

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The Mk 2 Cortina of 1966 presented a new type of go-faster challenge, one his company, Race Proved Ltd,  quickly rose to by installing tuned 140bhp versions  of the Ford V6 with Powr-Lok diffs into standard 1600E saloons. Imagine if Andrew Jordan put his race engine into a Focus estate road car. Now there’s a thought…

Acclaimed at the time by the motoring press, the Savage as he called it was a hit and by the late 1960s he was converting 15 cars a week. Very few of them were estates – at the time it just wasn’t done – which makes this one a rarity quite aside from its provenance with one of Britain’s saloon car greats. As befits a car for the boss, BYC 831J was built with all the best upgrades including auto transmission, upgraded suspension and extra eight-gallon fuel tank.

Restored in the ‘noughties, the car is said to be in superb order and comes with Jeff Uren’s hand-written records. Silverstone Auctions says: “The Savage was a significant part of the ‘70s tuning scene and offers outstanding value and provenance.”

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