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1974 Ford Cortina 2000 E TRRL

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  • Mileage~17,164
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Engine2.0L
  • LocationNewbury


1974 Ford Cortina 2000 E TRRL

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Darren Rungasamy
Automotive Editor, Photographer and Consigner

Take a closer look. This is not just any well-restored MK3 Cortina...

A car that was ubiquitous throughout the '70s and '80s, the Cortina was the car for everyman. It left a deep impression as part of the UK's social history. Its purpose as a reliable, simple to maintain and comfortable vehicle for the masses makes it a popular choice but every so often something very unique comes up for sale.

This car is a one-off 1974 joint prototype project between Ford and TRRL (Transport & Road Research Laboratory), built as a research car to test the feasibility of an extensive padded interior in lieu of seat belts. Saved from destruction after its initial use as a demonstrator car for the research centre, the car ended up in the hands of a former employee of the Laboratory who stored the car for 30 years. The 1974 Cortina 2000 E was structurally sound but needed paint and a general refurb, which was carried out by the current owner who took on the car in 2011. While he also stripped down and rebuilt the engine, he managed to retain and renovate rather than replace much of the components, trim, glass, metalwork and all of the key elements to retain its originality. A very unique car coming to market which will be known in the Ford enthusiast circles, great to see that some motoring history has been preserved with this car.

This auction listing was written from information supplied by Darren after meeting Alan the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

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We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

I feel I've achieved everything I wanted from the car, it's been a pleasure to restore.

Alan is a long time fan of Ford cars, with his formative memories revolving around the brand. His main goal was to get the car up to a standard where it would attract enough attention to appear in Classic Ford magazine.

Having achieved this goal, he attended several local classic cars shows, which also included a spot on the WBCVC (West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club) stand at the NEC. He's not afraid of driving it for pleasure too for the odd Sunday drive. Always garaged, the decision to sell it was a particularly tough decision but feels he should pass the gauntlet to another Ford fan to create a new chapter in the cars history. He'll be more than happy to answer any questions in the comments section below.

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A methodical yet sensitive restoration has allowed much of the originality to be retained.

Wheels and Tyres

Fitted with Avon safety wheels, they have been refurbished to a very high standard. The Yokohama tyres are less than 5 years old and have shown minimal use. The spare wheel appears to be original and unused. All four-wheels also retain their original centre caps.


The car has been subject to a bare-metal respray, so any issues with the metal have been properly dealt with. The front off-side wing was damaged when Alan took on the car, but rather than replace it, it was repaired - outlining his fastidious approach to keep the car original. There is a tiny rust blemish that has been treated on the top seam of the off-side wing - as a small sign of retaining that originality. The panel fit is good, with evidence that both front doors bottoms are slightly out. Some of the other panel gaps are slightly uneven but not enough to distract. No dents were observed.

The car has never been welded. The underside, engine bay, inner arches, roof, boot well, panel work and sills are in very good shape. The vinyl roof was subject to a specialist restoration and re-covered in a unique colour matching the original. It is faultless and sets the car off beautifully.


The Diamond white paint finish was replicated following a bare-metal respray. As a result, the paint finish is excellent, with no evidence of runs, overspray or thinness. There are no significant chips observed on the car, with just a slight mark on the near-side lower section of the front valance where it meets the wing and a small blemish on the off-side rear door.

Glass and Trim

The glass is in very good condition with a little laminate damage on the base of the windscreen. The owner described in great detail the pain and dedication of retaining the original front screen, which happens to incorporate a functional MW/AM radio aerial.

The driver's side window has a tiny chip on the edge of the glass but the rest are good. The rear screen is good and all of the glass and door rubbers are in good order.

The trim is all original, including the badges and side embellishments. The bumpers show minor signs of pitting, with the rubber bumper trim showing minor signs of age. The front indicators have been replaced with new items, but the originals have been kept. The near-side tail lamp will need a chrome finisher.


The unique interior offers a fascinating insight into the research of 70s car safety.

Seats and Carpets

The unique and somewhat cosy interior is the key aspect to the car's provenance, the project was focused around a car that could be safe to use without seatbelts. The result being lots of special padding on the dashboard and behind the rear seats for cushioning in a potential impact. Originality has been key in Alans restoration, and while the back seat tops have seen a refurb due to the ageing processes, the seats have largely been left untouched.

It could well be up to the new owner to decide whether a full recondition is on their job list. The carpets too are unique and again, as the car stands, have been left alone. The general condition of the carpets is good, with the boot items in a similar state, with notable glue marks scattered around the boot well. The car has been fitted with both front and rear seat belts, despite its exemption for them to be fitted. The additional padded leatherette sections are in good condition.


The hand-made highly padded dashboard dominates the interior and has obviously aged somewhat, but aside from the odd blemish it is in good condition. Some of the original glue is evident in places, but the leatherette has survived reasonably well.

The impressively padded door cards are in good condition with signs of wear in places, with the off-side rear door card slightly loose. The centre console is good, with the stitching largely intact.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

The unique padded steering wheel and gearbox lever does display a certain amount of wear, but again in context with the uniqueness of the car should not be viewed as a significant distraction. Like the seats, any refurbishment could be a focus for the new owner.


Subject to an engine strip down and rebuild, the car still retains much of the original Pinto block

Engine and Gearbox

A beautifully presented engine bay, the car starts up with no issues, the fuel pump doing its thing to feed fuel after a period of inactivity. The cold engine produced an expected amount of condensation which soon disappears as the engine warmed up. The car idles nicely and the fan never kicked in, with no knocking or leaking coming from the Pinto block. The exhaust is in good condition with no issues. The original radiator has been replaced and is also fitted with an oil cooler for the auto gearbox.

Alan mentioned that the Borg-Warner gearbox has a slightly dodgy reputation, and while it has behaved itself, he has taken the precaution of retaining a manual box as a backup which is included in the sale.

Suspension and Brakes

It is said to drive without any issues to the running gear, with no knocking noises coming from the steering or suspension. The brakes are fully operational, having seen a complete overhaul as part of the restoration. They operate with the efficiency expected of a 50-year-old car, but do so with no fade or juddering.

The Drive

Since the engine rebuild, the car has covered only around 400 miles, with a couple of motorway journeys and a few trips local trips under its belt. Alan likes to use the car and trusts its mechanical qualities not to let him down and therefore has covered a few longer journeys for several high profile events too.

Electrics and Other

A few concessions to modernity have been added, the hazard warning lights and an electric dash-mounted screen wash button have been added - the prototype was not fitted with hazards and also used a (still functional) foot mounted washer pump. The owner also mentioned that the digital speedometer (including the milometer) is not working and would need the rear axle sensor investigated to make it functional.

History and Paperwork

A genuine one-off Prototype for the Transport & Road Research Laboratory.

As a piece of historical importance, the car has retained much of its originality, down to its metal, glass and chrome. The car also comes with fascinating documentation of its past, including its original TRRL V5, notices that were used to explain the cars concept, as well as a DVD copy of a 1989 promotional film that was used to demonstrate its attributes.

Since it has been renewed following a bare-metal respray, it has also seen an extensive engine overhaul. It comes with a stack of spares, including a manual gearbox, starter motor and a reel of vinyl for the roof. The owner estimates around 5 to 6K worth of spending, with much of the work, carried out with the help of a loyal team of Cortina owners who spent hundreds of hours worth of effort helping to the car into its current glory. The car became roadworthy in 2016, following a 5-year restoration. The car's current MOT expired at the end of last year, but judging by its clean sheets with no advisories, there's no reason to suggest it will not sail through again.

Please see the image gallery for a selection of additional shots taken by the owner of the repaint. Furthermore, a full rundown of the restoration has been documented on this page:

Service History
Date Type Mileage
30-07-2019 MOT 17,164
27-07-2018 MOT 17,164
08-07-2017 MOT 17,164
01-08-2016 MOT 17,164
Key Details
  • ModelCortina 2000 E
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Reg. Date1974
  • CC1,993
  • Mileage~17,164
  • HistoryYes
  • ColourDiamond White
  • Interior ColourTan
  • Interior TrimLeatherette/cloth
  • Chassis #BZBFNZ21045
  • Engine #NZ21045
  • Matching #sYes
  • RestoredYes
  • Engine RebuildYes
  • MOT31-01-2021
  • MOT ExemptYes
  • Road Tax ExemptYes
  • Former Keepers3
  • Tyre BrandYokohama
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned10 years
  • Key FeatureUnique TRRL Prototype

Vehicle Sold

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This vehicle has now been sold - click 'Register Similar' below to get notified when we consign a similar vehicle.

Ask Owner
Show Bids Only
£4,250 bid by ryrywrigley 31.05.2021 @ 12:36:26

Is there a reserve on the car

Kulraj Salh

Hi Peter, yes there is a reserve on the car. All of our auctions have a reserve unless otherwise stated as “no reserve”. Best, Kulraj – Trade Classics

£3,250 27.05.2021 @ 13:33:02
£3,000 bid by ryrywrigley 27.05.2021 @ 13:01:35

Is this car an import as i do not recognise the dash layout


Vehicle Location

Newbury, Berkshire

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