It was a phone call out of the blue from an old friend down near Southampton that set me off with this car.

After a long chat is seems I was being offered a car to restore, and apparently it was right up my street so to speak.

By now I was curious, and intrigued. A Right Hand Drive Ford Taunus for restoration? But the snag was I had no garage to restore anything having moved home 6 years earlier. Anyway a few days went by and I mulled over the idea, and phoned him back. I told him give me a few days to see if I could find a lock-up close by, and if I could I would take it on....

 

There was a compound close by with garages, so with no time to spare, I went begging. Fortunately they took pity on me, and let me have one that was becoming vacant in a couple of weeks..... bingo! However, I didn't realise it at the time. I had jumped the lock-up queue and waiting list...

My old friend was busy sending me plenty of photo's and the low down of what would be needed to restore this Taunus. I was familiar with these German Fords to some extent, but lots of research was needed very soon.

So it was a 1971 Ford Taunus. A P7b 20m XL V6 2.0L Hardtop, no less, that landed on my doorstep one morning in 2012. My first impressions were pretty good. Spending some time looking over my new Ford, and its fetching 3 shades of green paint, it didn't seem to be hiding many horrors.

 

Over the first weekend in the autumn of 2012, I had it up on a 4 poster lift for a good inspection and evaluation of the work ahead. Underneath was excellent no nasty surprises to be found, however most of the running gear was in poor condition.

Given it was a genuine 38,000 miles from new car, but also 41 years of wear and tear, I suppose it was an honest car. What was obvious was its current MOT was dubious to say the least. From the off, I noticed the front struts were leaking, the rear brakes were losing fluids, the brake flexi-hoses looked poor and all 4 wheel bearing were shot...

A long to-do list was developing! Welding wise, the sills needed work along with the two rear arches and the front wings. But it was all relatively easy, being a Sheet Metal Welder and fabricator of 40 odd years experience.

It was definitely worth spending a few hours on the ramps, with the garage owner, prodding, poking and drawing up my battle plans. Work started straight away, mainly at weekends, working on my driveway in all weathers, with the bodywork being done first. Sections were cut out and new metal 'let in', it was time consuming prepping and forming the sections but worth the effort.

All of the welding was done with a TIG machine and 1mm filler wire. The interior was removed before any welding work commenced, along with some outer trim. The bullet wing mirrors were removed also with the holes welded up. The plan was for the original type to be fitted later.

P7b-20m-XL-300x200 So over the winter of 2012-2013, weekends were set aside for all of the welding repairs. I had to keep the Taunus mobile, as I needed it to travel to-and-from the lock up to my driveway. By March 2013, work was about done and I had a local bodyshop guy Andy pop over to give me a quote and time frame for the repaint and prep. So with a schedule, to meet, I removed all but the drivers seat from the interior, and many other items too. The idea being to drive the Taunus there and back, before and after the repaint, saving time and money. Like a true Yorkshire man!

Arriving at the paint shop, I removed everything possible for the prep and boxed everything up, with pics and labels too. Over the 10 days in the bodyshop I popped in a couple of times to see the progress, and very soon it was done!

The P7b was fresh in one shade of Fern Green and looking excellent, I was very happy. I then refited lights, bumpers and numberplates at the workshop and waited until it went dark...... and headed the 2 miles back to the lock up.

 

By now, I had collected most of the new parts I would need to put the Taunus back to A1 mechanical condition. I had piles of boxes and parts sourced from all over Europe, and some surprising finds from here in the UK. The oily bits were first on the list. New strut inserts, flexi-hoses, brake pads and caliper service kits fitted. Along with new wheel bearings front and rear. New suspension bushes were fitted here and there, along with new rear shock absorbers. The rear brakes were renewed, the rear drums and front discs were lightly skimmed true at work on the lathe.

At times, it seemed endless... Replacing almost all of the worn parts, in all weathers! I had been lucky with some eBay purchases. I had new door handles, mirrors both sides, Ford scripts and boot badges, along with parts of a mechanical nature. I had a vision for the XL from day 1. Visually a little different, and a one-off, but easily reverted back to standard if so wished. For some months I had bid on 2 NOS RS Grilles, and lost out on both! So I made my own replicas from Stainless Steel, with TC1 GXL spotlights.

P7b-20m-XL-300x300 The rear exhaust box had blown, so I bought a new one and converted it to 26m spec with twin pipes.

And lastly, the most difficult modification. Changing the existing 13" steel standard wheels to, what I ended up with after trial and error, 16" wire wheels. More of a British thing I suppose and one that at the time amused some of our European Taunus fans.

I mocked up at first with 15" MGC wire wheels and then after some deliberation and calculations opted for 16" x 5 1/2" wire wheels with 60 section tyres. Having found a set of 16" wires, I had these blasted and powder coated in "chrome look" paint. Shod with new inner tubes and Continental Tyres, all good so far. Then I purchased four new MGC wire wheel adaptor hubs and popped them on the lathe, machining the centres out to suit the Taunus. Then I redrilled the 5 x 112mm PCD.

During the work, other Taunus owners were sceptical, but they then warmed to the idea. I think?.. It's probably the first Taunus ever to be converted in such a way, I believe. And done in such a way that the original wheels can be refited inside an hour. The same is true of the handmade grille, easily changed back to standard, if needed.

The engine required little work, just a clean up and service. The 2.0L V6, is very different to its UK counterpart, the 2.0L OHC.

By this time I had the end in sight. New headlight reflectors fitted to the headlamps, the refurbished front indicators fitted with new lenses. Bumpers fitted, and with NOS rear light units. New door handles, window rubbers, and correct door mirrors making the Taunus complete visually.

The interior was in excellent condition when removed and needed simple deep cleaning. However, the tricky to repair upper XL veneer wood cappings were well past their best, so some strip wood was bought, shaped, dyed and lacquered to suit. With pleasing results matching the quality interior.

 

Buy August 2013, the P7b was ready for an MOT, which was passed successfully. Then it was time to Tax, insure and enjoy.

I attended a couple of minor shows towards the end of 2013, and just enjoyed driving the wheels off it! Lots of puzzles looks from the General Public ensued. It's a Ford, but what type?

So I spent the remainder of 2013 treating each journey as a shakedown, requiring fettling and adjusting until the P7b was running well.

In April 2014 I attended the Squires Ford Only meeting and much to my surprise the Taunus was voted 'Car of the Show'. 2014 was also the year the speedo mileage crept above 40,000 miles.

P7b-20m-XL-400x300 Unfortunately the 2014 Squires Ford Only meeting was also the time I knew I reluctantly has to let the car go to another owner.

I had received word of a very rare 20m RS and was hot on the trail..