Tough Cleveland-swapped Ford Cortina

Vince Bodo somehow found time in his busy schedule to slot together this wild, eye-searing Cortina

Photographers: Peter Bateman

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Street Machine.

VINCE Bodo is a busy bloke. So busy, in fact, that he’s built this very cool Corty, and still hasn’t had time to enjoy it.

“I haven’t even driven this thing yet,” the Canberra-based auto detailer says. “I’m setting up a new workshop. I’ve been working seven days a week for 12 years, so I’m looking to relax a bit more.”

Yep, working hard often comes at a price, but it also helps pay for our toys. Work to live, not live to work, that’s our motto – and maybe it should be Vince’s.

“Once I’ve moved shop and settled in, I’m gonna take it up to Sydney Dragway and have a run,” he promises. “I’m building another one, too, with twin turbos.”

Where does he find the time?

Vince started this build way back in 2005. He bought the Cortina from Newcastle and it already sported a Cleveland V8 and a few tweaks like relocated rear chassis rails. It also carried an engineer’s report, and that meant it was a good project starter.

“I simply wanted to have fun in it,” says Vince. “I enjoyed it for about a month and then I blew it up! I guess you never really know what it is you’re buying. Anyhow, the engine rebuild ended up becoming a full rebuild.” Isn’t that always the case?

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Originally red, the Cortina is now orange – highly concentrated burning-your-eyes orange, just in case you hadn’t noticed. Some cars don’t carry bright colours well, but thankfully these Coke bottle-hipped Cortinas look a million bucks with punchy hues. It’s the result of a year-long holiday at Bellevue Bodyworks in Sydney, where business partners Steve and Rob brought the shell up to scratch before laying on the straight orange PPG tinter.

For its age the Cortina’s shell was relatively tidy, but not without its sins. “The boys had a pretty good run with it,” Vince says. “There wasn’t too much rust and they always explained things; like the rust in the roof, they rang and said: ‘We’ve found this, so we want to do that.’” Steve and Rob also sourced a few hard-to-get pieces for the car. “They even found the rubbers for the rechromed bumpers,” says Vince. “Not many people know about that. They put in a lot of effort.”

Having the right people certainly helps, and Vince found himself a top engine-builder years ago.

“I had three or four people have a crack at supercharging my XR8 engine years ago, and they couldn’t do it right,” he says. “But the bloke who did end up getting that right moved to Queensland. So I asked around and one of my mates said: ‘Have a chat to this guy.’”

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‘This guy’ was Rob Riteski at CA Motorsports in Queanbeyan. He specialises in street-machine builds such as this. The Cortina’s old popped donk was pulled down and rebuilt, and now carries ported 4V heads, a Scat stroker crank and rods and JE pistons, for 393 cubes. It’s also injected, with a MicroTech ECU switching 16 injectors, half above and half below the 8/71 Big & Ugly-topped Teflon-tipped blower.

“With 25psi boost it should have close to 1000hp,” says Rob, who installed the engine along with a manualised and reverse-patterned Ford C4 three-speeder. “But we haven’t finished the tune so can’t say for sure yet. All we’ve done is to give it a bit of fuel and timing to get it running.”

The diff is a nine-inch – is it really worth running anything else? “It came with a nine-inch in it, but I’ve got a whole new diff in it now,” Vince says. “It had a 28-spline rear, but now it has 35-spline axles and 5⁄8in studs.”

The Cortina rides on Simmons 20×10 and 20×6.5 rolling stock and a set of King Springs and adjustable Koni dampers. There’s no fancy tech – yet – but the Konis provide a degree of tuneability. “Right now it’s nothing flash,” says Vince. “I’ll probably install coil-overs next.”

The plan was to debut the Cortina at Summernats 27. “But we didn’t get it finished in time,” laments Vince. “Next year! I don’t regard it as a show car – it’s nice, but it’s not built to a show-car level. I want to enjoy it.”

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Part of that plan is to run this – along with another Cortina Vince is playing with, when he gets the time – at Sydney Dragway. “I’ll give it a go,” he says. “It ran a 10.2 with the old 351 and a shot of gas. Now, it should be good for a 10. I reckon the power is there – but the set-up is not. Massive horsepower is no good if you can’t get it to the ground.”

Or if you don’t have the time to enjoy it!


Colour: PPG Orange

Engine: Ford 393ci Cleveland
Induction: Enderle Big & Ugly
Blower: 8/71
Heads: 4V ported
Pistons: JE
Camshaft: Comp Cams
Crank: Scat stroker
Rods: Scat
ECU: MicroTech EFI
Ignition: MSD
Exhaust: Fabricated by CA Motorsports; 2in primaries to dual 3½in system

Gearbox: Ford C4, manualised
Converter: Dominator
Diff: Strange 9in, 35-spline axles

Springs: King Springs (f & r)
Shocks: Koni adjustable (f & r)
Brakes: DBA vented discs, four-piston Outlaw front calipers

Wheels: Simmons OM, 20×6.5in (f) 20x10in (r)
Tyres: Nankang NS2, 215/30 (f) 275/30 (r)