WWith its beautiful custom widebody, 700rwhp turbo six and manual gearbox, this epic Mk1 Cortina practically screams ‘race car’. But don’t be fooled. It is a proper street animal.
I was first published. Street Machine 2022 Yearbook
Mark developed the slimline spots himself, which are easily removable via a stainless coupling blade. Above this side exhaust outlet is a vertically mounted muffler.
Darwin Blockmark stumbled upon this court about 15 years ago. “I always wanted a Mk1 Cortina because I loved the look of them, but the only ones that got me back were the Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts,” says Mark. “I was working for a customer and saw something under a cover, and I asked, ‘Is that a Mk1 Cortina?’ He couldn’t believe I knew what a silhouette was, and it took off.
She came home with a base model ‘Jailbar’ 220 car mark, which became her second serious project after her widebody Mk1 Esky. “I got some rough skills from that escort, but it’s over, over and over again,” he says. The end result represents Mark’s ideal Hot Streeter. “All cars are compromised in some way, and it’s not perfect,” he says. “But I am allowed to combine the most desirable attributes in one car.”
The front headlight trims are billet aluminum, and the rear taillight surrounds and lenses are also custom-made. Mark surrounded the door with 316 stainless steel, which was mirror polished and then glass bead blasted to a matte finish.
Chief among these attributes was the Wild Custom wide body. With the level of modification in this and many other aspects of the car, Mark was set for an uphill battle with the powers that be, but was pleasantly surprised by the NT’s rego rules. “I thought the whole approval and engineering process was going to be my biggest hurdle,” he says. “But as it turns out, Darwin isn’t a bad place for enthusiasts to build a custom car.”
Mark finally got hold of a German Mk3 Capri after some wheeling and dealing. “Some people weren’t happy about me buying a donor car for the front end and cutting it off, even though they let the thing rot anyway,” he laughs. The Capri donated its front chassis rails, crossmember, MacPherson strut suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering.
The lack of a lap belt and traditional roll cage didn’t stop Mark from taking to the track. “I took it to Hidden Valley Raceway and kept it open for laps and laps,” he enthuses
The chassis and body were in dire need of bracing, so Mark ran 45mm steel tubing from the rear end to the front struts, cleverly hidden in the sills. “There’s a tube that goes under the dash and connects the struts together, and then I actually cut the corners of the roof and piped the sides and top of the windscreen,” he explains. “It’s like a pseudo-roll cage; basically an internal space frame. The result is a high degree of stiffness during hard cornering. “I can jack it anywhere and there’s no flex,” says Mark. “A normal Cortina will lean and lift the front wheel in corners, but this thing is a rock.”
Outwardly, the most obvious change is the custom steel widebody, which sees the front guards grow by around 90mm per side, and an impressive 120mm at the rear. The aluminum bonnet is also hand-forged and runs a pair of Supra catches, while Marc also deleted the drip rails. He made a point of doing as much of this work himself, even going back to uni for some welding courses and certification. “Many custom bits and pieces were made from different materials, as well as multiple times to get a decent result,” he says.
Mark then set out to rob a Mk4 Supra for the driveline. The Supra’s 2JZ was one of the few parts of the build that the marque outsourced, with Golby parts converting it to a stiffer turbo-six. The Cortina’s firewall was moved 200mm rearward to accommodate this new powerplant, using a new 2JZ-GTE crank mated to Spool H-beam rods and Carrillo pistons for 10:1 compression. has been done
The head is also a new non-VVT-i unit, with 272-degree Chemtech boomsticks and Crower valves. Air is drawn through a custom 4.5-liter pre-chamber intake manifold, which Marc describes as the one Audi runs on its R8 Le Mans racer. A Bosch 82mm electronic throttle body and 2000cc injectors manage air and fuel, controlled by a Haltech 2500 ECU. Boost comes from a Garrett GTX3584RS snail on a custom high mount stempipe manifold.
The functional dual fender necks are inspired by the race-bred Cortina GT500. Mark hand-forged bronze bushing, stainless steel teardrop boot hinge
An A/c compressor cools about 20 liters of water in a reservoir behind the front seats, feeding a PWR barrel water-to-air intercooler. “It keeps the intake air temperature down, provided I can get good airflow to the condenser,” says Mark.
Up front is a dual-pass radiator built around a custom-order PWR core, mounted with four eight-inch Davis Craig Thermo fans, while a 16-row Setrab oil cooler is plumbed into a custom thermostat sandwich plate. Is. Initially configured for premium unleaded, the car now runs on E85 through a Konzler mechanical pump.
The rest of the exhaust is a four-inch system, with a muffler mounted vertically above the side exhaust outlet. It features a removable bypass plate to improve flow on track days, although Mark points out that it’s an extremely loud sound.
“It makes an easy 700rwhp, but it doesn’t hold up very well on the dyno,” says Mark. “When it starts to lift, it just spins and the dyno can’t hold it no matter how hard you strap it. It’ll do 620 to 630hp and the dyno graph will go crazy because the wheels are made of hard, shitty rubber. will become loose.
In addition to the Toyota 2JZ six, the cross-brand influence in the engine bay includes an R35 GT-R coil kit and a V8 Land Cruiser 130A alternator. The fuel system combines a Walbro 460 lift pump and a crank-operated Concealer 500 fuel pump. A Turbosmart FPR2000 sets fuel pressure, while a Bosch 2000 in-line pump with two check valves helps the mechanical pump clear the fuel rail when starting.
3000rpm remained, but that’s in the meaty part of the turbo. It’s happy there and it runs just fine, so I really don’t care about the numbers.
Mark OS stuck with the Supra’s Getrag V160 manual, along with a Giken R3C triple disc clutch and B&M bullet short shifter. Much of the rear was pulled from the Nissan 300ZX, including the rear chassis and swingarm. The R230 diff had its HICAS rear steering deleted, and packed 4.11 Richmond gears and a Quaife ATB helical LSD.
The CV halfshaft is machined from an F100 axle with R33 GTR outer bearing hubs and 300ZX brakes. A Hoppers Stoppers kit up front uses 297mm AU Falcon discs and calipers, all assisted by a Subaru master cylinder and VE Commodore remote electronic vacuum pump.
The interior is another neat melding of classic Ford kit and Toyota goodies, using the Capri’s vintage Recaro seats and Supra dash, the latter mounted above its original Cortina counterpart. The 300 km/h gauge cluster and collapsible steering column are also Supra items, and Marc himself re-upholstered the rest in Cordova Ultra Black vinyl.
While the super-stiff chassis, colorful widebody, beefy coolers and sweet suspension might suggest a track beast, Marc is keen to point out that the Cortina wasn’t built for competitive motorsport, as the inside is. Proven by lap belt.
The car has garnered some solid accolades since hitting the road nearly five years ago, including People’s Choice, Best Custom Engineered, Best Small Ford and President’s Choice at two recent All Ford Days in Darwin.
The Mk4 Supra dash is much wider than the original Cortina dash below, hence the driver’s door cutout. “One day I’ll do a new dash, because the current one always meant a temporary setup,” says Mark. A Haltech CAN gauge presents information from the Elite 2500 ECU.
And Mark isn’t done yet. “I have a lot of things left to do, like putting it on a diet with painted carbon fiber doors, bonnet and boot lid, and maybe a Hollinger sequential six-speed for flat shifting, or even one from BMW. DCT should also fit,” he says. “A lot of quality-of-life adjustments can be made as well, but money, time and motivation aren’t always easy.”
The good thing is that the car is already tearing such a ball, then!
“I had a water-to-air intercooler setup, but now the water is actually cooled by the a/c compressor,” explains Mark of the reservoir behind the seats. “The failure of the old setup to cool effectively had nothing to do with the PWR product. I couldn’t get enough air on the heat exchanger to keep the water temperature down.”
1965 Ford Cortina
|paint:||Protec Ice White|
|Type:||Toyota 2JZ six cylinder|
|include:||Custom 4.5L manifold, intercooler|
|ECU:||Haltec Elite 2500|
|Camshaft:||Camtech 272 degree, 9.5mm lift|
|Fuel System:||Walbro 460 lift pump, Kinzler 500 mechanical fuel pump|
|Cooling:||Custom radiator with PWR cover, four 8in fans.|
|Emissions:||Custom 4in system|
|Gearbox:||Getrag V160 Six Speed Manual|
|Clutch:||OS Giken Triple Disk|
|Difference:||Nissan R230, 4.11:1 helical LSD|
|Tail Shaft:||A custom piece|
|Suspension and brakes|
|in front:||Rack and pinion steering, McPherson struts, King springs|
|Back:||IRS, whiteline control arms, BC Racing coil overs|
|brake:||AU Falcon (f), Nissan 300ZX (r)|
|Master Cylinder:||Subaru 1 inch|
|Wheels and tires|
|password:||Minilite Replica; 15×8 (f), 15×10 (r)|
|Rubber:||Toyo Proxes R888R 225/50R15 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street 275/50R15 (r)|
Rick and the crew at CB Racing for all the help and going out of their way to see this fever dream of mine back on the road; Golby parts for engine construction; My long term sponsor is Darwin Lock & Key.