Classics World’s Rob Hawkins test drives and reviews the 1971 Ford Taunus…
The Ford Taunus, named after a mountain region in Germany, first appeared in 1939 and survived for more decades than the Escort and Cortina put together. Marketed as a family car through Ford in Germany, the various models from the fifties onwards were denoted according to their engine size and the letter M, which supposedly stands for Meisterstück in German, which translates into English as Masterpiece.
So the model seen here is known as a Ford Taunus 20M because it has a 2.0-litre Cologne V6 engine under the bonnet. It’s also one of the rarer two-door coupes and unlike the smaller engine front-wheel drive models at the time of its production, the 20M and 26M (2.6-litre V6) models are rear-wheel drive. The 2.0-litre displaces 1998cc and produces 85-90bhp, with a top speed of 97-100mph and a 0-62mph time of 14.2 seconds.
The Taunus eventually blended into the Cortina, initially being offered as a saloon version of the Mk3. When the Ford Sierra appeared and replaced the Cortina, European production of the Taunus ended in 1982, but continued in Argentina for a couple more years for the two-door coupe, which had already been axed in Germany in 1975. Production also continued in Turkey until 1994.
The story of the 1971 Taunus seen here started in Germany, when a serving British Army officer purchased the car new. He probably had the intention of returning to the UK with the car, so hence he ordered a right-hand drive model. And in 1973, the car was indeed transferred to the UK and obtained a UK registration. Old photographs of the car show it with an M-registration, which suggests it received new plates for 1973. However, these have now been changed for a J-registration, which represents the correct year of manufacture.
The level of detail on this car is very impressive. Take the exterior, with its Fern Green paintwork (resprayed according to its documentation), stainless-steel wheel arch trims, and spotlights sunk into the front grille and desirable wire wheels with knock-on spinners. The interior is just as mouth-watering, with tan upholstery, a centre armrest for the two rear seat passengers (and individual ashtrays on the interior panels), a three-clock dashboard with a 130mph speedo, clock and combined fuel level and coolant temperature gauge, and wooden trim across the dash, doors and centre console. The Taunus really was a masterpiece of a car when it came to the level of finish, especially when compared to the Cortina.
The car’s history suggests that the annual mileage has always been kept low. The first stamp in the service book in 1972 recorded a mere 3,171 miles. By 1977, the next service stamp shows 9,773 miles and a couple of years later there was around 2,000 more miles on the odometer. The service stamps then thin out, with the next one in 1996 when there was 21,020 miles recorded, followed by 2000 with 28,105 miles on the clock. There are no more service stamps in the book after 2000, but the online MoT history dates back to 2005, yet the car’s MoTs only go back to 2009, which suggests it was off the road between 2005 and 2009 (and maybe before).
With 36,555 miles recorded in 2009, the mileage increases steadily by 1,000 to 3,000 miles per year, although it appears the mileage was wrongly recorded in 2015 at 85,729. Considering the mileage is now less than 47,000 and all the MoT certificates from 2009, with the exception of 2015, back this up, we suspect that the mileage recorded at the MoT test in 2015 was a mistake.
This Taunus appears to have lately spent a large amount of its time in Lincolnshire, with a collection of receipts for service items and other minor parts from a local specialist.
We were unable to test-drive this Taunus because it is owned by a private individual and is being sold at auction. So whilst we cannot comment on how the car drives, its condition appears to be in good order throughout. The car is expected to sell for over £10,000, but it’s difficult to compare with other Fords. Granadas from the mid-seventies appear to be selling for around £15,000 if they are immaculate, whereas Cortinas from the same era are cheaper if they are a Mk3 or later, but much more expensive if they are an earlier Mk1 or Mk2. Maybe the rarity of this Taunus will help and the fact that the two-door coupe was always regarded as something special to own.
0-62mph: 14.2 secs
GEARBOX: 4-sp manual