Ford Motor Company Part V – The Ford Consul

Ford Consul

Ford Consul
Ford Consul II convertible
Manufacturer Ford of Britain
Production 1951–1962; 1972–1975
Predecessor Ford Pilot
Successor Ford Cortina

The Ford Consul is a car which was manufactured by Ford in Britain from 1951 to 1962. The name was later revived for a model produced by Ford in both Britain and Germany from 1972 to 1975.

Between 1951 and 1962 the Consul was the four-cylinder base model of the three-model Ford Zephyr range, comprising Consul, Zephyr and Zephyr Zodiac. In 1962 the line was restyled, and the Consul was replaced by the Zephyr 4, the mid-range Zephyr model becoming the Zephyr 6 and the top of the range Zephyr Zodiac just being called the Zodiac. At this point Consul became a range of smaller cars in its own right, initially the Consul Classic and Consul Capri, shortly joined by the even smaller Consul Cortina. The Consul Classic and Consul Capri were only made for two years, before being replaced by the Consul Corsair.

The Classic, the Capri (made until 1963) and the Corsair (made from 1963 until 1970) were relatively short-lived, but the Ford Cortina, after losing (along with the Corsair) the “Consul” tag in 1964, went on to become a best-seller. The Consul name reappeared from 1972 to 1975 on a replacement for the Zephyr range, now sharing a body with the more luxurious Ford Granada Mk I. The Capri name by now had also been reintroduced, in 1969.

Ford Consul Mk1 (1951–1956)

Ford Consul
Ford Consul MkI (EOTA). Carbodies of Coventry converted Ford Consul and Zephyr bodies.
Production 1951–1956
227,732 produced.
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon, estate car, convertible.
Engine 1.5 L Straight-4
Wheelbase 100 in (2,540 mm)
Length 164 in (4,166 mm)
Width 64 in (1,626 mm)
Height 61 in (1,500 mm)(convertible)

The Consul was first shown at the 1950 London Motor Show and was the start of Ford of Britain’s successful attack on the family saloon car market and replaced the larger-engined V-8 Pilot which had only been made in small numbers. It was given the Ford code of EOTA. Most cars were 4-door saloons with body design by George Walker of the parent United States Ford company, but a few estate cars were made by the coachbuilder Abbott. From 1953 a convertible conversion by Carbodies became available. The body was reinforced by welding in a large X-frame to the floor pan. Unlike the more expensive Zephyr, the hood (convertible top) had to be put up and down manually.

It was also the first car they built with up-to-date technology. The new 1508 cc 47 bhp (35 kW)  engine had overhead valves, and hydraulic clutch operation was used, which in 1950 was an unusual feature. However, a three-speed gearbox, with synchromesh only on second and top, was retained. The Consul was also the first British production car to use the now-common MacPherson strut independent front suspension, and was the first British Ford with modern unibody construction.

There was a bench front seat trimmed in PVC, and the handbrake was operated by an umbrella-style pull lever under the facia (dash). The windscreen wipers used the antiquated vacuum system: however, they were now operated from a vacuum pump linked to the camshaft-driven fuel pump rather than to the induction manifold as on Ford’s earlier applications of this arrangement. Clearly keen to keep things positive, a 1950 road test by the British Autocar Magazine, reported that the wipers were “free from the disadvantage of early suction driven wipers that dried up at wide throttle opening … and spare[d] the battery”. The instruments, consisting of speedometer, ammeter and fuel gauge, were positioned in a housing above the steering column, and there was a full-width parcel shelf on which an optional radio could be placed.

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 72 mph (116 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 28 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26 miles per imperial gallon (11 L/100 km; 22 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £732 including taxes.

Ford Consul MkII (1956–1962)

Ford Consul II
1962 Ford Consul

Ford Consul Mark II Saloon (circa 1962)
Production 1956–1962
371,585 fixed roof and 9398 convertibles produced
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door estate
2-door coupé utility (Australia only)
2-door convertible.
Engine 1.7 L Straight-4
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)
Length 172 in (4,369 mm)
Width 69 in (1,753 mm)
Height 60 in (1,524 mm)
Curb weight 2,700 lb (1,225 kg)

In 1956 a new Consul appeared with the Ford code of 204E. The car was still the four-cylinder sub-model of the Zephyr range, with which it shared the same basic body shell. Compared with the original it had a longer wheelbase, larger 1703 cc, 59 bhp (44 kW) engine and a complete restyle, borrowing cues from the 1956 models of America’s Thunderbird and Fairlane. One thing not updated was the windscreen wipers, which were still vacuum-operated. The roof profile was lowered in 1959 on the Mk2 version, which also had redesigned rear lights and much of the external bright work in stainless steel. Front disc brakes with vacuum servo appeared as an option in 1960 and were made standard in 1961 (4-wheel drum brakes only, in Australia). The name became the Consul 375 in mid-1961.

The convertible version made by Carbodies continued. A De Luxe version with contrasting roof colour and higher equipment specification was added in 1957. The Australian market had factory-built versions of the coupé utility (pick up) and estate car (station wagon), as well as a locally engineered version of the saloon. They were also imported by Ford of Canada as a companion to the Falcon.

A Consul MkII tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 had a top speed of 79.3 mph (127.6 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 23.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.1 miles per imperial gallon (12.8 L/100 km; 18.4 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £781 including taxes. It was a 1960 Ford Consul MkII that was the taxi that American singer Eddie Cochran died in, and not, as many have stated, a London Hackney Cab.

Ford Consul (Granada MkI based) (1972–1975)

Ford Consul (Granada MkI based)
1970s Ford Consul (10362664283)

Ford Consul 4-door Saloon (1972-75)
Production 1972–1975
Assembly Cologne, Germany
Dagenham United Kingdom
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon
4-door saloon
2-door coupé
5-door estate
Related Ford Granada MkI
Engine 1.7 L Taunus V4
1.7 L Essex V4
2.0 L Essex V4
2.0 L Pinto L4
2.3 L Cologne V6
2.5 L Essex V6
3.0 L Essex V6
Transmission 4-speed manual
automatic optional
Wheelbase 107 in (2,718 mm)
Length 180 in (4,572 mm)
Width 70 in (1,778 mm)
Height 54 in (1,372 mm)
Main article: Ford Granada (Europe)

The Ford Consul name was revived in April 1972 for the lower priced, lower specification variants of the newly introduced Ford Granada. Developed jointly by Ford Britain and Ford of Germany, the cars were built in Cologne in West Germany and in Dagenham in the United Kingdom. Consul models can be identified by a two panel cross-mesh grille as opposed to the horizontal chrome bar grille of the Granadas.

Consul, Consul L and Consul GT models were offered  and were available in 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon, 2-door coupé and 5-door estate bodystyles. Unlike the previous Zephyr Estate, the Consul Estate was produced by Ford rather than by an outside contractor.

The 1663 cc Essex V4 and 1996 cc Essex V4 with 77 and 92 Hp respectively and a 2495 cc Essex V6 with 118 hp (88 kW) were the power units offered in the UK. In addition, the Consul GT was powered by the 2994 cc Essex V6 engine providing 138 hp (103 kW). Because it was less well equipped than the similarly powered Granada, it was approximately 1 long cwt (110 lb; 51 kg) lighter and correspondingly quicker. This version has gained cult status due to its regular appearance in the original series of television show The Sweeney. In late 1974 the Essex V4 was replaced by the 2.0 litre Pinto engine.

In Germany the Consul was offered with a choice of German built Ford engines, starting with the 1680 cc Ford Taunus V4 engine familiar to drivers of the Ford Taunus 17M. The 2.0 litre Straight-4 and a 2.3 litreV6 were also available.

The Consul name was discontinued in late 1975 after the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Granada Group could not prevent Ford registering the name Granada as a trademark. The Granada name was then applied to all models.

See also

Ford Motor Company Part IV – The Ford Comète

Ford Comète

Ford Comète1951-54 Ford Comète
Manufacturer Ford SAF
Production 1951–1954
Body and chassis
Class 4-seater sports car
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door cabriolet
(only 2 produced)
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Vedette
Engine 2,158 cc Aquillon V8
till 1952
2,355 cc Aquillon V8
3,923 cc Mistral V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
Length 4,620 mm (182 in)
Width 1,740 mm (69 in)
Height 1,420 mm (56 in)
Curb weight 1,290 kg (2,840 lb)

The Ford Comète (also the Simca Comète) was a car built between 1951 and 1954 in France by the Ford Motor Company‘s French subsidiary, Ford SAF. Intended as the luxury model in the range, the Comète’s bodywork was built by FACEL, who later produced the better-known Facel Vega luxury cars under their own name. The original engine was a 2.2 L V8 produced by Ford SAF of French design, also used in the Ford Vedette, with a Pont-à-Mousson 4-speed manual transmission fitted.

The original model had a single horizontal bar across the grille with a chromed shield or bullet in the centre, somewhat similar to contemporary Studebaker products, among others, with steel wheels and chromed hubcaps.

More power for 1953

In October 1952, for the Paris Motor Show, the Comète appeared with an engine enlarged from 2,158 cc to 2,355 cc. Claimed horse-power was raised from 68 hp to 80 hp indicating that there was more to the engine upgrade than simply an increase in the cylinder bore from 66.0 mm to 67.9 mm. (The stroke remained unchanged at 81.3 mm.) The most obvious of several other engine enhancements at this stage was the increase in the compression ratio from 6.8 : 1 to 7.4 : 1, reflecting the appearance of slightly higher octane fuels. Torque and engine flexibility were also improved and the claimed top speed increased from 130 km/h (81 mph) to 145 km/h (90 mph).

Much more power available for 1954

Available from the start of 1954, a new “Monte-Carlo” model appeared with the 3,923 cc V8 engine normally fitted to Ford trucks; this engine, befitting its truck heritage, delivered 78 kW (105 hp) with plenty of torque. Performance was much improved, but the new engine did not endear itself to buyers of the car having a “truck engine”, The engine’s large displacement meant that its taxed horsepower rating imposed by the French government was 22CV, giving a high road tax in a country where government taxation policy, especially after 1948, was high for cars with engine sizes above 2 litres. This new model was fitted with wire wheels, a fake hood scoop, and a typical for the time Ford egg-crate grille, consisting of vertical and horizontal equally spaced bars. The French called this grille a “coupe-frites”: a “french-fry cutter”.


The Comète combined the elegant style of a body by Facel with the mechanical underpinnings of the Ford Vedette combined with a shortened wheelbase. The rear seat was stylishly designed, especially on the upmarket “Monte-Carlo” version with its two-colour leather seat covers, but nevertheless offered insufficient leg space for adults, other than on the shortest and most unavoidable of journeys. The economy was beginning to grow robustly by the mid-1950s, but the market capacity for cars of this size remained small and Comète sales were correspondingly modest. Above all, it was handicapped by a list price that was (in October 1953) 65% higher than that for the mechanically similar Vedette. Customers interested in the larger engined 3,923 cc versions were faced with a price for the “Monte-Carlo” (once it became available at the start of 1954) that was 51% higher than that of the spacious four door Vendôme.

Change of manufacturer

During 1954, Ford SAF was sold, and the Comète’s final year of production took place under Simca. The Simca Comète Monte-Carlo continued to be offered till July 1955.

See also