Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

MLI's Cortinas to Cortina 2012 story + pics

Recommended Posts

Hello there


Finally got around to sort out a few of my pics from the magnificent Cortinas to Cortina 2012 trip.

If you don't want to read through the following paragraphs about my last minute preparation of the car (involving fitting bumpers at the quayside in Denmark while queing up for the ferry), just skip my meaningless mungo jungo, and scroll down to the pics.


It's all in the preparations…

I was meant to go on this trip with Terje, a mate of mine, in his 1600E (Terje and his E did this trip back in in 2002). Terje chickened out in May, so I was going to buy his E and do the trip myself.

Upon spotting a couple of rust scabs on the bulkhead, it was now my turn to chicken out, not buying his E after all.

So, in June I found a Blue Mink 69 1300 for sale in Norway, proper old boy's car, complete with very soft springs and shock absorbers (good for floating over bumps, but with a bit of luggage in the rear, my headlamps were focusing on the three tops…).

And the 1300 clearly needed some adjustments, it was awfully slow, even slower than my 67 1300...


So, with time on my hands on the 600 kilometers drive back home, a cunning plan was carefully thought out, and my brain started to scan through the inventory of mk2 parts on the shelf in my garage:

A 1600GT engine, a 3.77 diff, 2000E box and 1600E front and rear springs.

No summer holiday for me this year, so fast forward to August 20th.

I was supposed to have that week off work, to prepare the car for the trip.

Well, my leave that week was unceremoniously cancelled by my boss that day, so that left only the evenings and a weekend to do it all.


It was not vital for doing the trip, but I just couldn't ignore the flaking underseal and surface rust in the wheel housings, attacked by a steel brush in the angle grinder, what a tedious and time consuming task!

I had to reduce my ambitions regarding the pending mechanical refit. I also roped in a couple of mates to help me out, they were all put to work swiftly.

Terje was on windscreen fitting, tyre fitting and wheel stud replacement duty, Kjell did the tappets and carb mending, Svein fitted the electronic ignition, replaced engine mounts and gearbox mount, and Jon K did some localized Blue Mink touch ups.

In between, I found the time to paint and waxoil those wheel housings, replace the rear leaf springs and shocks, and fit the new "NOS" carb again (which had previously caused no end of troubles, with missing parts, fuel leaks etc…).

New spark plugs and leads, dizzy cap and rotor were also put in.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY -3, MONDAY 27/8/12

Waxoiling done, just in time to go home and fetch the bags, maps and sat nav, then off to the ferry from Stavanger to Hirtshals in Denmark at 2100 hrs that evening.

Things still left to do on the car by then:

-Put on the bumpers (removed during paint touch ups, now thrown in the car)

-Put on the new rear exhaust box (thrown in the car)

-Fit 12V supply socket, for power to the sat nav (yes, you guessed it, thrown in the boot, with parts and tools)

-Oil change on engine, box and diff

-Fit new U/Js and balance the propshaft

-Do the tracking


Being late for the ferry, I got stuck behind a couple of lorries outside the gates to the ferry terminal.

Unpatiently waiting in line behind them, I passed them by driving the wrong way around a roundabout to get into the terminal, then finding a "back door way" to the ticket office to get checked in.

Followed by a mad dash across the terminal to get on board as the last car, managing to kerb the right hand front wheel in the process.

Drained for energy, I crashed down on the bed in the cabin and missed dinner that evening...


DAY -2, TUESDAY 28/8/12

Arriving Hirtshals, Denmark, ready for the 340 kilometer drive down to Esbjerg, to catch the ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich that afternoon. Fitted the front and rear bumpers while queing up for the ferry at the terminal, had just fitted the last bolt when the que started moving onboard, how's that for timing!


DAY -1, WEDNESDAY 29/8/12

Arriving Harwich 1300hrs, sat nav on, bound for the B&B in Horley outside Gatwick.

Rang Propshaft Services near Heathrow, to have the U/Js replaced and the prop balanced the next day.

Then a call to Morley Auto Services in Salfords, to book the car in on Friday morning for an oil change, replace the rear oil seal in the gearbox, and do the tracking.

Stopping at Burtons on the way, to buy some parts and the best engine oil in the world for old Cortinas, Valvoline Racing 20W50.


DAY 0, THURSDAY 30/8/12

After a while sitting in the traffic on the M25, managed to find Propshaft Services.

Got trolley jack and axle stands out, and prop off. Went for a wander and some lunch in the area, got the prop back and put it back on. Also fitted the rear exhaust box.

All this only to find that the vibrations from the prop were still there, probably caused by the rubber bonding between the yoke and the prop tube starting to go brittle, and throwing the prop slightly out of balance.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY 1, FRIDAY 31/8/12


Found Morley Auto Services in Salfords, classic Ford mechanic Nick Thomas sorted the car, while I went in search of some breakfast.

Nick found very little oil in the gearbox, loads of metal swarf on the drain plug. We poured in some Omega 915 Gear Oil Additive + new gear oil. Noise from the box now reduced considerably. Nick did the tracking, car was now ready for the big trip.

Caught up with the others outside Ford's Heritage Collection at Dagenham.

Got to see the amazing collection of very nice old Fords in there, what a fantastic place, the guys maintaining the fleet are real enthusiasts!














We set off for Dover in a long convoy, being filmed by the BBC, no less!




I had an appointment with Milton Racing down in Kent later that day, so had to leave the others for a while.

Sat nav not much help out in the bush/Kent countryside, found Milton in the end, got a friendly welcome, and what a fantastic place that was, a real "cottage industry" founded on some really solid knowledge and research!


Met the others in the evening at the Premier Inn, and were told stories involving broken clutch release bearings (Michael Livesey's mk2 Lotus) and recalcitrant prop shafts (Ernie Queripel's 1600E), all overcome by owners and able helpers who were not fazed by such small mishaps, that's the right spirit!

Edited by MLI

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY 2, SATURDAY 1/9/12

Dover- Dunkerque-Reims, France, 180 miles


Rise and shine, up before the birds start farting.

With the Dunkerque ferry leaving at 8AM, there was just time to fill up the tank, do a quick check under the bonnet, and que up for the ferry.




A full English on the ferry got us all stoked up for some more driving on French soil.

Loads of vibration from 80 to 90 km/hr, vibrations disappeared around 100 km/hr.

Kept to 100 km/hr, and overtook some of the other cars on the trip, unwillingly, but felt I had to keep to that speed as much as possible that day.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

For some, the mechanical mishaps were not over yet, unfortunately.

This time, it was Graham Orchard's turn to have prop and front wheel bearing issues on his Estate.

At a services, an English coach driver saved the day by producing a big water pump wrench, big enough to press in the U/J's bearing cups.






Phil Lewis' Savage also had the bonnet up, due to charging issues, ably assisted by mk3 driver Pete Crompton.

They all got to Reims and the hotel later that evening, except the mk2 Lotus with the clutch troubles, but they caught up with us the next day.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, my Photobucket is playing up, next instalment tomorrow evening.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, my Photobucket is playing up, next instalment tomorrow evening.


Dont tell us , your just off to Germany in a half built car for the day ? :jester:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY 3, SUNDAY 2/9/12

Reims - Dijon, France, 180 miles


My car was still running fine, apart from the prop vibration issue.

I could feel some wheel vibrations through the steering wheel at certain speeds, but I could live with that for the time being.

Whenever possible, I filled up with 98 Unleaded, pouring in Shell Norway's lead substitute (potassium based), saving the sponsored Miller additive bottles until I had to fill up with the continental 95 (with 5% Ethanol, aka horse .…).

With this in mind, the ignition had been set to 6 degrees before leaving home.

This time, everyone got to Dijon and the hotel later that day.


DAY 4, MONDAY 3/9/12

Dijon – Montreux, Switzerland, 145 miles


From flat terrain to more hills, beautiful drive that day to Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

I can see why all those posh pop starts have a chalet there, this area is called the Swiss Riviera.

And what a view over the lake from the balcony of my room, superb!

Wish we could have stayed longer, but I believe this was one of the more expensive hotels on the route.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY 5, TUESDAY 4/9/12

Montreux – Varese, Italy


Drove in convoy that day, it's rather nice to be in a convoy of Cortinas :)

Rob Sargent's Savage's exhaust really played up when he stepped on it, especially in the tunnels!

We went across a few mountain passes that day, including the Simplon Pass (2000 meters altitude).

Graham looked a bit worried, his temp gauge had gone up a bit when going up those passes, but I think it settled down again.

I too had a good look at the temp gauge, and I was worried my little 1300 would go out of puff up there in the thin air, but it managed.

We also found a nice spot for lunch up there on a pass.

The ferry ride was great, nice weather that day.















Edited by MLI

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Varese - Riva Del Garda, Italy, 145 miles


The F1 Racing fans amongst us were all fired up that morning, as the route plan mentioned a possible detour to Monza.

Unfortunately, we hit some traffic and traffic lights in Varese that morning, so I lost track of the others. Spent a while trying to find my way to Monza all by my lonesome, but the heat on the motorway was immense that day, so I went off the motorway. Finally found some shade at a small services, and got to have a look at an Alfa Romeo Montreal, parked with the bonnet up, probably somewhat hot under the collar, like the owner. By then it was time for lunch.

Any previous plans of going to Monza was now replaced by wanting to get past Milano without getting caught in too much rush our traffic.

Turned out Graham and the others had a whale of a time at Monza that day, even getting into the pits and getting a good look at loads of expensive F1 machinery and parts, my loss, unfortunately.


Had a fantastic drive up around Lake Garda, what a fantastically beautiful area, and with the road going so close to the lake, awesome!





Riva Del Garda, Italy


A very welcome rest day at Riva Del Garda, I had planned to drive to one of the small villages and find a quiet piece on a lakeside beach, but "sense" prevailed.

Previously on the trip, I had got lost several times, so decided to spend some time working on the car in the cool underground car park, wiring up a 12V supply to my sat nav.

Rummaged through my parts box and found the cigarette lighter bought at home before the trip.

Removed the driver's seat, and dived under the dash, armed with lengths of wiring, connectors, strips, tools etc, determined to do the job properly while under there.

I could have done a "quick and dirty" hash job, but didn't want to risk any possible under dash fires...

Even had the ignition switch out, to find the right terminal.

Took ages and didn't do any good for my backside, but it worked OK afterwards.

Also found one faulty bulb at one of the rear lamps, and opened my bulb kit, only to find I'd already robbed it for the very same type of bulb previously.

Pete Pascoe came to the rescue, thanks for that bulb Pete, you are a star!


In the evening, the whole gang had a very nice dinner at a great restaurant in the hotel's back garden, where Millers Oil's Italian rep and his wife joined us, top meal in top company!


Stay tuned, tomorrow's chapter will bring us to Cortina d' Ampezzo.

Edited by MLI

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Particularly enjoyed reading this, many thanks for sharing it with us. Absolutely gorgeous cars and photos :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

DAY 8 FRIDAY 7/9/12

Riva Del Garda - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Hmm, somehow I ended up last in a line of Cortinas, and due to the traffic & traffic lights (and just a wee 1300cc), I lost the others. So, broke out the map, had a quick look and drove (in what I thought was) the general direction of Cortina :) .

It was a bit hit and miss, as I drove up to Cortina, whereas everybody else drove down to Cortina :car:





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the way to Cortina, I passed the biggest tyre shop I'd seen so far, so stopped by to ask if they could balance my RH front wheel (which I managed to kerb at the quay side back home when being late for the ferry).

Needless to say noone in there spoke a word of English, but some general hand signals for unbalance did the trick.

Plus, if they could handle Formula 1 size racing tyres, my little wheel should be a walk in the park :)





Edited by MLI

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...