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  • Writer's pictureKingsley James

Mk1 Ford Cortina RHD conversion

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Originally left hand drive, ready to convert

This MK1 cortina was imported from abroad by our customer having always wanted one. Having lived its life in a nice hot climate this car is solid as a rock throughout the body and underneath. The only problem was the steering wheel was on the wrong side for uk roads. Luckily the customer had managed to find all the parts to convert it to right hand drive. All that was needed was someone to do the job. That’s where the KJClassics workshop comes in.

Engine out and ready to start the conversion

First thing is to get the bonnet off and the engine out to get a better look at what needed to be done. The steering itself is not a rack and pinion setup it’s an old type steering box. This has the advantage that it simply bolts to the chassis rail on either side of the car as holes were drilled in the factory for both right and left hand drive cars.

With the steering column and box removed the new trailing arm bolts into the old steering box holes. The main arm and stabiliser are cleaned up and flipped over to suit the new steering orientation.

Plates are fabricated to size to cover the old holes locating the pedal box and brake & clutch master cylinder.

Next is to establish where the new location of the brake and clutch master cylinders will be. This is done by taking a template of the original location and flipping it. This was relatively easy as the final position is more or less dictated by where the steering column sits which is not adjustable.

Custom conversion parts fabricated on site by KJ Classics

With the pedal box ready to be fitted a final strengthening plate is made with a bent flange on the bottom edge for extra strength during pedal inputs. This will be plug welded to the bulk head and then the pedal box will be bolted through both surfaces. The plate is coated with a weldable primer to prevent corrosion between the two surfaces.

Custom plates installed and hydralics remounted in their new home

From under the bonnet at this point the work is done with everything transferred over, all unneeded holes plugged and brakes bled.

Now to tackle the inside. In terms of the dash it’s pretty symmetrical. The glove box and dials are the same size meaning all that’s needed is to cut the brackets out of each side and re weld then in the new location.

The glove box bracket is cut out to make way for the dials that will fill this hole.

Dial bracket carefully cut out from the now passenger side ready to be welded into place.

Strengthening brace is removed from behind the dash. This was a horrible job as this bracket will need to be reused so it had to be taken out without cutting it to pieces. The only way was to drill out the original spot welds in a very tight space. The bracket will need to be refitted to the new driver side as the steering column bolts through this bracket.

Once it was out I found that the flange on the end of the bracket was angled the wrong way for the new location and so had to be flattened and re rolled out to suit the other side of the car.

Driver side dashboard brackets all welded in place.

Glove box door mounted to the opposite side

The same process is followed to relocate the glovebox

Finally everything bolted back together and we have a right hand drive MK1 Cortina.

Our work here is done but there is still a long way to go for the restoration of this car so will be interesting to see what direction the customer takes the build in with regard to colour scheme and engine.

If you have a classic that needs the KJ Classics treatment contact us here

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