The Ford Consul is a saloon car that was assembled in Britain through to the mid 1970s. The history of the Consul is a long one given several metamorphoses over the years. For instance the Ford Zephyr was later replaced by the Ford Cortina in1962 before the Consul appeared later in 1972 through 1975 as a replacement for the Zephyr. This range of Consuls enjoyed a design similar to that of the Ford Granada Mk 1 which was considered luxurious.
The Ford Consul (1951-1956)
The Consul was first launched in 1950 at the London Motor Show. Its launch marked the beginning of the successful manufacturing of larger saloon cars by the Ford Company in Britain. In practice, it was a replacement to the V-8 Pilot which had had a larger engine. The Ford Consul was first produced in 1951 with 227,732 units being delivered. Engine capacity was 1.5 litres.
The Ford Consul was, arguably, fairly state-of-the-art for the times. Its 1508cc engine was advanced in that it had overhead valves. It was also equipped with hydraulic brakes in addition to being three geared. The Consul was also the first volume production car to use the MacPherson strut which provided independent suspension at the front of the car. It was also the first Ford to have a unibody construction in Britain. The handbrake was operated using a pull lever and it offered PVC trimmed seats in the front — a fairly revolutionary material back then.
The Consul delivered respectable performance for the times, having been tested by the Motor Magazine in 1953. It achieved a top speed of 72mph and was able to accelerate from 0-60mph within 30 seconds. Slow, perhaps, by modern standards but a credible performance for a large saloon car in the 1950s. Fuel consumption was a relatively frugal 26 miles per imperial gallon. All of this for a purchase price of 732.
The Ford Consul II (1956-1962)
The revised Consul was first produced in a run of 371,585 saloon units and a further 9398 units which were convertibles. This later model had a revised engine capacity of 1.7 litres, with a width of 2642 mm and a length of 4369mm. Typical of the mechanical quirks of the time, the Consul II`s windscreen wipers were vacuum operated. Visually, the revised model also offered a lower roof line and rear lights with stainless steel surrounds. The front disc brakes were vacuum servo.
Market tested by The Motor show in 1956, the Consul II offered a maximum speed of 79.3mph although this came at the cost of higher fuel consumption, now 22.1 miles per imperial gallon. Production ended in 1962, with focus being on newer models such as the Cortina, Anglia and Classic at the time.
Ford Consul (Granada) (1972-1975)
Produced between 1972 and 1975, the Consul Granada offered a choice between a V4 configuration engine of 2.0L or a larger 2.5L V6. It had a wheel base of 2718 mm, was 4572mm long and 1778mm wide. Whilst it revived the Consul name, the Granada and Consul were visually and mechanically virtually identical and the Consul name was dropped in 1972, never to be seen again as the Granada gained recognition and market share.