Ford XR6 Interceptor
Though much of 1983 is a bit of a blur for me, being far back and all, I vividly remember lusting after the Ford Cortina XR6 and a number of performance offshoots from that basic concept, the most famous of which was the Interceptor, a limited edition homologation special built with an eye on class T of the Lodge Spark Plugs Group One series.
Launched in 1981, the Interceptor boasted triple downdraft Webers, a hot camshaft and a free-flow exhaust. This was enough to hike power to 118kW – about a 15% increase over the standard Essex V6 lump. And a lump it was, being heavy enough to cause ongoing tyre and suspension wear issues throughout the lifetime of the Cortina Mk IV and V.
Nevertheless, the whole car only weighed about 1 200kg and the result was a healthy power to weight ratio. With a relatively sophisticated rear suspension system for a Ford (coil springs, not leaves) it put its power down well and was thus quick off the line. Ford claimed a brisk 0-100 time of 8.6 seconds and a slightly less impressive top whack of 196km/h for the Interceptor.
With a direct drive fourth gear, 3.08:1 differential and with 185/70/13 rubber, my calculations suggest it would be pulling about 5 600r/min flat out, which equates more or less to the power peak of the engine. More mundane 3.0 litre Fords made maximum power of just 102kW at 5 000r/min – a rev range almost diesel-like by modern standards.
The Interceptor also sounded a bit different, with a more menacing burble when cruising and an occasional lumpiness to the idle quality. Spotting it was easier still. All 250 were a unique red with a hint of pink to it. Ford called it Wild Coral.
The distinctive Ronal wheels were especially imported from Germany and they’re more or less the only thing on our photo car which aren’t correct. The inner section of the rim has been painted black, whereas they came from the factory in a pure aluminium alloy finish. They have also been widened by an inch to measure 6.5J. Still, the actual style is correct.