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Cortina Mk2 - 5 speed box


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#1 hatrat

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 03:33

I'm trying to determine whether racing Ford Cortina Mk2s ran with 5 speed gearboxes in period (say up to 1970). I understand the Ford Escorts had a 5 speed on some of the race cars but I'm not sure if this was replicated on the Cortina.

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 11:33

That seems unlikely to me...

There was a Hewland conversion, I think, to make the early Ford 4-speed into a 5-speed, but it was a fragile thing as far as I remember.

#3 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:07

from Ford 997cc - 1558cc Tuning Manual by J.H. Haynes page 89.

Following excellent reports on the Hewland 5-speed gearbox I ordered one in Febuary 1963, for my Cosworth F.J. engined Lotus 7 and took delivery a month later ................... further details from Hewland Engineering, 9A North Town Road, Maidenhead.

#4 RTH

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:26

I put one in a racing Anglia about 20 years ago it had a dog leg 1st gear.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 13:58

Tony Simmons used one in his Hustler...

Bob Martin broke it, it didn't last long at all.

#6 David Birchall

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 15:12

There was also a very similar conversion by a company whose name began with "W" I recall-sorry can't recall the full name. I had a 26R that had a Hewland conversion sitting in a box but the fact that it wasn't fitted must mean something....

#7 RTH

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 15:22

.....Weismann / Westinghouse/ ? FOMOCO themselves ? Hewland of course and Jack Knight also made gear clusters for existing gearbox casings for various makes. Did ZF ever make a conversion for that Ford box ?

Lotus made a new gear casing to put the 5 speed gear clusters from the Austin Maxi for the post '73 Elan +2 130/5 and the 'New' Elite/Eclat

#8 Dave Wright

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 21:47

The FVA Escort used a 4 speed box so I would think the Mk2 Cortina was the same.

#9 David Birchall

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 16:05

It was Wooler engineering I was thinking of:

The final mention in this section goes to a component rather than a specially modified car. In 1966/67, "Hewland Engineering Ltd." of Maidenhead, produced a five speed Cortina gearbox - later to be built and sold by C.T.Wooler ( Engineers ) of Wembley.

The box was developed for race use and resulted from a demand from Cortina, Cortina Lotus and Lotus Elan drivers who used their cars for motorsport. They found that the gap between second and third on the standard box made life a little awkward when coupled to their tuned and often "peaky" engines.

Using the original cast-iron gearbox casing, the Hewland engineers went about the task of fitting five gears whilst retaining the format of a three shaft, constant mesh box. Space within the casing only allowed for a face-dog, non-synchromesh gear engagement system to be used. The lack of synchromesh is compensated by the extremely close ratios of the gears and provided an astoundingly fast gearchange, ideally suited to racing. Hewland used helical gears ( A first for Hewland ) as a compromise between the much needed strength for competition and a reasonably quiet operation for everyday road use. C.T.Wooler used light alloy casings in production (Including bellhousing and tailshaft housing ) and developed their own remote control assembly, also in light alloy.


I found this on a website on Cortinas.

#10 RTH

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 16:42

Oh yes they were famous for their remote controls.

#11 Tweddell

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 17:55

hewland 5 speed conversions are rather rare items today, i was lucky to find two of them, one with even straight cut gears. the way of shifting is quite uncommon, as first gear is located opposite side of reverse, so for second gear you have to cross diagonal . till today i had no real problems with it, although they are not synchronized.

#12 Terry Thorp

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:00

The Ford Capri used in European racing had a 5-speed ZF gearbox. It was the RS2600 model (built 1970-74). Rare in the UK though, although I remember a rally version being for sale at one time. I thought about buying it!! It would be worth a few bob now. The road versions all had 4-speed gearboxes. With a modified bellhousing it would be possible to fit one into a Cortina, however, all the Lotus Cortina Mk2's that I know of ran 4-speed boxes in 1970.

#13 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 08:00

Ford Motor Co ever only sold Cortinas with 4 speeds but there were several different conversions around a mentioned and not just in the UK and Europe but in the US and Australia. I have heard Group N Cortinas in Australia with more gear changes than they are supposed to have, [and about 1/2 a second a lap faster]

#14 RS2000

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 11:38

Chances are that a Cortina raced at least once with one, either in BSCC or club racing. Whether one ever ran a second time is a different matter...
That Hewland cluster was pretty fragile I think and, even when used on smaller-engined Anglias, was a full rebuild after every race?