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Savage Beast

Craig chats about his 1970 Ford Cortina Mk2 3.0 Savage Estate Auto, a rare beast indeed,

1970 Ford Cortina Mk2 3.0 Savage Estate Auto

Jeff Uren was a well-respected racing driver, engineer and team manager in the late 50s and early 60s. He drove in the inaugural year of the British Saloon Car Championship in 1958. The following year he won the series in a Ford Zephyr beating the Works cars and prompting Ford to offer him a Works drive. He left in 1962 and joined John Willment as competition manager, preparing and racing Ford Galaxies, Falcons, Cobras and GT40s.

When Willment stopped racing, Jeff formed Race Proved Ltd having recognised the rapidly expanding market in tuning and modifying road-going saloons. When the Mk2 Cortina was launched in 1966, Jeff saw the car’s potential as a fast long-distance cruiser and fitted a tuned version of the Essex 3.0L V6 (140bhp) into one. The Savage had arrived.

Race Proved were soon converting brand new 1600Es at a rate of 15-20 cars a week. The cars featured a revised cooling system, modified cross member, uprated suspension, a 'powr-lok' diff, and an extra boot mounted, 8-gallon tank above the rear axle. The cars even had tacit approval from Ford. Eventually, some 1,700 cars were converted, of which around 1,000 were Mk2 Cortinas.

BYC831J was Jeff Uren's own car. It was ordered and delivered in 1971, originating as a rare GT Estate. In addition to the Savage 3.0L Essex V6 conversion, it was also fitted with a C4 Ford automatic transmission, Lotus gauges and bucket seats. The Savage remained Jeff's daily transport for twenty years before being sold in 1991. During this time the car was changed from silver to red. The car also came with Jeff’s handwritten notebook detailing mileages and services of the car up until 1979 and the original Savage conversion invoices. It is thought that only 3 automatic Savage Estates were built.

The car was restored in 2001 at a cost then of £30,000. The brief was to retain as much of the originality as possible. The paintwork was returned to the original Silver Fox colour and the engine rebuilt with mildly uprated cam and gas flowed heads.

The current owner has had the car for 4 years during which time the transmission has been rebuilt with the addition of a new transmission cooler, the rear suspension shock absorbers replaced and 1600E driving lamps added.

Remaining work on the car is a full front suspension and steering overhaul.

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