BIG cubes, little car – it’s been the go-fast formula since the invention of the automobile, and back in 1986 Geoff Paton’s big block-powered Mk1 Cortina was one of the quickest around.
“The car was purchased with no engine and gearbox,” Geoff told us when we featured the Corty in the March ’86 issue. “That was fine, as we had a big-block Chev and Powerglide to fit to it.”
Geoff bought the car to replace his nitroused and big block-powered Torana hatch, which was another legendary nine-second streeter. They both served as rolling advertisements for his Super Plus Speed Shop in Melbourne’s Dandenong.
The Corty’s rear end copped a set of tubs and a ladder bar set-up with a 31-spline nine-inch, which helped the car launch on its way to 9.7sec runs at 142mph, according to our article. In fact the car probably went much quicker than that afterwards; we seem to recall it running low nines some time later.
Weighing in at 2550lb, the car was pretty light already, so they kept it all steel. The engine itself was recessed back into the firewall and would be considered mild by today’s standards, with two-bolt mains, standard crank, LS7 rods and Speed Pro pistons.
The aluminium D-port heads were the most exotic pieces, flowing bulk air while shaving some weight off the front end. There was an 1150cfm Dominator to feed the beast, and it ran 10.2 naturally aspirated. Nitrous oxide shaved another half a second off those times, although Geoff was hoping to get the ET down further with a bigger 4500rpm converter to replace the 3000rpm unit that he felt was holding him back.
With a basic dash, plastic bucket seats and a rollcage, the Cortina was pretty crude, but it was very representative of the time with the letterbox scoop and Center Line wheels. It was an amazing little ride and one that is well remembered by the Pro Street fraternity.
What cars do you remember from ‘back in the day’? Who was your ultimate street hero? Let us know in the comments section below.