By the end of 2003 we had spent a number of years exhibiting Barn Engines(Stationary Engines) at various rallys, staying in a caravan over the weekend. By then, the kids were into their teens and after a couple of trips around the rally field my daughter and wife’s interest was exhausted.

We never really made good use of the caravan so we decided to sell it and add the funds towards something else.

I had always enjoyed the classic vehicle displays, and so decided to look for a suitable vehicle. Storage issues dictated the requirement for a car or something of a similar size


A car would allow for day trips, require very little preparation on the day, and more importantly removing the long boring weekend in the process.

I hoped to find something "different" from the usual MG’s, Austins etc, and came across an advert for a 1950’s Daimler Conquest for sale at Matthewsons (star of the "Bangers ans Cash" TV show) in Thornton-Le-Dale, N.Yorks.

After arranging to view it over the phone, we took a trip up there. Derek took us on a tour of his museum, and around the classics for sale.

Viewing the Daimler did not give any enthusiasm, so continued to walk around while mulling it over.


Moving through the rear storage area my wife noticed an interestingly shaped covered vehicle with a small patch of “nice blue” colour showing...

On asking, Derek uncovered it and revealed the Taunus.


Derek told us the story of the Taunus:

It was brought from South Africa on retirement by some Ex-pats who lived and worked out there for a good few years, but the upkeep and driving it became difficult as they got older, so they sold it.

As it was first registered in April 1998 in UK so the story may not be far off. We took a test ride with Derek driving and fuel gauge registering just on the red, “Enough for a good few miles yet” says Derek... Famous last words.

About half way the test drive, we went up a short hill on the country lane and the engine spluttered to a stop - just coughing a couple of times on attempting to restart.

It would appear that the fuel gauge was not as accurate as he thought and as we went up the hill all the fuel went to the back of the tank, below the pickup pipe. One of Derek's sons turned up with some petrol and we were back on our way.

Despite this, and with an assurance it would all be checked over and sorted, we agreed to buy it.


Before moving onto the paperwork, Derek asked where it was to be stored. When I told him it would be on a driveway, Derek was not impressed...

As it was such an unusual car in UK, and in such original condition, he considered that it was in too good to sit outside unprotected. Derek mentioned that he was considering putting it in his museum, in the place of a "from the factory" fresh mid 60’s Hillman Imp.

On assuring him I was having a custom made "Perambulator Cover" (a ribbed structure, which pulls over at the front, like a pram hood, and stands the cover off the car for circulation), he was happy.

Derek delivered it to Sheffield about a week later, in February 2004, on his transporter, asking for first refusal if I ever sold it.


So, what did we end up with?


She's a 1968 Ford Taunus 20M P7a fitted with a 2300cc V6 engine. On delivery to us it had 51,000 miles on the clock, which has crept up to just over 60,000 in our ownership.

The Taunus also came with a vinyl wallet which included the owners manual, a South African map, a South African AA information book and a small handwritten notebook containing the previous owners history of all the oil, filter, plug and points changes the car had received in his ownership. I have tried to maintain this history in my ownership.


We have put new tyres on, the original spare tyre was unused and had about an inch thick white-wall stripe which looked good, but the cost to replace all four tyres with similar was prohibitive for me. We fitted a custom built exhaust from manifold backwards, replaced the hydraulic flexi-pipe for the brakes to the rear axle as the original had collapsed internally, leaving no rear brakes! Handy tip: the replacement pipe and front brake pads were sourced from 1976 Vauxhall Viva parts. We revived all of the brakes components and replaced a steering arm which had bent out of shape somehow.We obtained the steering arm from Sweden.

The sills, valances, rear panel and under bonnet were colour matched and respraed due to chips and marks in the original paint.

The interior is in very good condition, with only one small mark on a rear passenger backrest. The centre console lid has a split, but is still in one piece and the dashboard had a veneer covering, which at some point in the past was either removed or came away and dashboard was painted instead.


There is evidence of an older "blow-over" paint job to the wings and doors as you can see a slight colour tone difference on the roof, bonnet, and boot. On the whole not bad for a 52 year old car!

Upon delivery one of the veneer inserts in the steering wheel spoke came off and was, unfortuunately, lost. Luckily a friend very kindly cut me a replacement which I fitted. About two years later while cleaning the interior the missing original insert appeared under the drivers seat - from a 4th dimension! This was then duly reseated in its original position.


During our ownership we have encountered a few instances of the engine stopping if in a queue on a warm day and would then need approx 15/20min before restart.

The last occasion was opposite the entrance to Chatsworth House, and we had to push the car onto the slip road to wait for a while, not surprisingly pictures and comment did the rounds on social media, it may still be out there!.

We eventually traced the issue to the engine getting too hot whilst standing, as the radiator fan runs off the engine and does not cool much when idling. As the fuel pipe from the fuel pump runs up the side of the engine it was picking up a lot of heat and the fuel was vaporising before reaching the carburettor.

We solved this by fitting an on/off swith to an electric fuel pump already fitted and hidden under the battery tray. This electric fuel pump was originally used for priming the engine and could be called on to run constantly to aid the original fuel pump. We also added an aftermarket thermostat controlled cooling fan in-between the grill and original radiator - which interetingly has the original South African manufacturers marks on it!

The most recent maintenance involved fitting new head gaskets and adjusting the tappets.


I have made various enquiries to find more information about the Taunus with the Ford UK and South African Archives but I never got any response at all. Any suggestions welcome.