A Ford that never saw production, the Saxon, based on the Cortina was built in 1962. Encouraged, perhaps, by the 2+2 Consul Capri of 1961, Sir Patrick Hennessy, Ford Chairman from 1956 thought it would make commercial sense. Engineer George Baggs recalled Sir Patrick’s personal interest: “We took the Saxon prototype up to his house one Sunday afternoon. The butler served tea.” It was pure Cortina up to the waistline; with a different boot lid and coupe roof it could have been produced for very little more than the regular saloon. It would have been lighter and with the GT engine also faster. Sir Patrick’s term of office was drawing to an end, however. He combined the posts of chairman and chief executive until 1963, retiring aged 70 on 3 May 1968. Plans were already under way for the much sportier, though fragile, Lotus Cortina. The ‘Anglo’ Saxon was taken to Detroit for evaluation and never seen again. Replicas have been made on cut-down Cortina shells but I never found out what happened to the original. Was it broken up or does it survive in a quiet corner of the Ford museum?
ABOVE: 1961 Capri, inspiration for the Saxon, used in research material for The Ford Centenary File, to be published March 2011