Ford Mk2 Cortina in Milwaukee Young SMOTY

Curtis Earnshaw's Corty is a proper pocket rocket


Curtis Earnshaw’s Mk.2 Corty caught our eye with its gorgeous paint when he enteres Young SMOTY, and the more we looked, the cooler it got! The 23-year-old pays tribute to his family’s driving history with this turbo Laser-powered gem, as he explains:

“Hi, my name’s Curtis and this is my ’69 Mk.2 Ford Cortina. Mk.2s hold a very special place in my family as my grandfather (who I never had the pleasure of meeting) always had them.

He used to build them, cut and shut them, and everything else. This was passed onto my Dad, sort of like a disease! One of my youngest memories as a kid was helping my dad build his Cortina, and from there I fell in love with them too, and the disease passed onto me.

As a kid we always went to car shows and we would always get so excited seeing other Mk.2 Cortinas, as they’re not a very common car to restore in Australia. Most weekends were spent in the shed with my dad and younger brother building cars, or going to car shows and burnout events.

We’ve always been a family that does all our own work on cars including rust repairs, bodywork, metal fabricating, wiring, rebuilding our own engines and everything else, so I was definitely destined to be a rev-head like the rest of my family.

We are also very involved in the burnout scene; my Brother and I share a Mk.2 Ford Escort ‘HARDON,’ and my dad has ‘BASKDR’ which is always good fun to get out and smoke some tyres in with family and friends.

At 17 I started my apprenticeship as an Electronic Security Technician working everywhere around Melbourne. I always said as much as I loved cars I couldn’t do it as a career. I wanted to keep cars as a hobby, so I still enjoyed it and didn’t feel like it was a chore to come home and work on my own cars.

I picked this car up from a friend around the corner in Drouin, Victoria. It had previously been rescued from a paddock with the front window shot out and left to rust away. The car was luckily not in too bad of a condition – just rust in the usual spots like the sills, bottom of the rear quarters and the doors. From there, we stripped the entire car down to a shell and had it sandblasted to really see what we were working with, and what was hidden under the layers of paint and bog.

This car underwent a full ground-up rebuild, all done by myself with the help of my dad, brother and occasionally a few close friends to keep me company and stop me from going crazy. It took about 12 months from start to finish.

The car is painted in Ford Falcon Breeze with custom ‘CORTY’ stickers down the side. Up the front it has a Ford Laser TX3 1.8-litre BP engine with a Pulsar Gen 2 GTX2860R strapped to the side on a low mount manifold, backed by a Mazda NB MX-5 five-speed gearbox. It’s controlled by a Haltech Elite 550 with a Powertune digital dash, making a very safe 200rwkW at 20psi, tuned by Pete at Boost Tech Performance.

The engine is sitting on a Mk.1 Capri subframe with a rack and pinion instead of the old steering box. Out the back is a shortened AU BorgWarner diff with 4.11 gears and a Truetrac, all held in place by a custom four-link set-up with a Watts link. The whole car is sitting on staggered 18” Simmons with coilovers all-’round to make it handle like a new car. Under the front it also has adjustable control arms and a strut compression kit to stiffen it up, along with a 24mm K-Mac sway bar.

Inside, the car has leather Audi Recaro seats with full electrics, electric windows, aftermarket electric heater, Mk.2 Cortina GT dash with Auto Meter gauges and a full Alpine stereo system.

This car is honestly my life, and was built to be driven and not just sit in the garage and look pretty. Last year I entered the car at Autofest’s Springnats and to my surprise took home third place in go-to-woah. I go to as many car meets around Melbourne’s southeast as I can and go for cruises with mates through the hills on nice days.”

Instagram @curtis_earnshaw

TikTok @curtisearnshaw

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