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Weekly Motor Fix: tubbed Cortina skid hack

2 November 2015


The Scrap Palace Morrinsville Burnouts are done for another year, and one of the reasons we enjoy it so much is the interesting line-up of machinery that’s always on display. This year welcomed a large number of super-tough contenders, but there was still the usual eclectic display of vehicles built solely for the destruction of tyres — from wacky skid hacks through to the most rugged of beaters, nearly every avenue was covered. 

What stood out in particular, though, was a little Ford Cortina Mk1. You’d normally question the mental state of any Cortina Mk1 driver who found themselves in the middle of a huge burnout competition, but it was blatantly obvious that this car was there for a reason. 

This Cortina is an ex feature car, from NZV8 Issue No. 73, belonging to Keith Millar. The seriously tubbed Cortina was packing a blown 350ci small block Chev when it was featured, although this year, it was ‘only’ powered by a naturally aspirated small block. Since Keith was pedalling a tough Holden HT ute powered by a blown small block at last year’s burnout comp, we can probably put two and two together … 

Even so, a healthy small block in such a small car should have no problem in smoking the bags, which is precisely what the little Cortina was there to do. The nine-inch diff under the arse end was more than a match for the V8’s torque, and thanks to a distinct lack of rear brakes, it didn’t take much to morph the rubbers into cloud. 

Those rubbers are, in part, what really helped the little Cortina to stand out — sitting low with a tubbed rear end and wheelie bars poking out, this thing meant business. The tubs were fabricated by Keith, who also recessed the firewall for the small block, and grafted the front clip from a Holden Torana into the chassis. 

Inside is just as tough, with a pretty neat little roll cage, tidy panel work in the rear, a pair of vintage-looking bucket seats, Hurst shifter, and not a lot else. Apparently there is a full layer of Dynamat under the carpet, as the Cortina was road legal, and frequently driven on the street at the time of its feature in NZV8 in June 2011. 

And while it looks as though the Cortina is no longer driven on the street, it’s cool to see that it’s still being driven the way it was built to be driven — pedal to the metal, with the engine banging off the limiter.