Cohort Outtake: Ford Del Rey – What’s Hiding Under The Ford Overcoat?


Posted at the Cohort by Alberto Simon

Yes, it’s wearing a Ford overcoat, with all the typical Ford international design elements of the times (1980s). Looks a bit like a cross between a Fairmont, Cortina and Euro-Granada. But the coat just doesn’t fit properly…that wheelbase is so short. What’s hiding under it? 


Aha! There’s a Renault 12 under there, of all things.


Ok; if your reading retention is a bit better than average, you’ll remember that this Del Rey is an evolution of the Brazilian Corcel, which Rubens wrote in detail about here. It started out as a Willys project, using the R12 as the basis for a FWD Brazilian variant. Ford bought Willys before it came to market, so it was always a Ford Corcel, despite its Renault bones. And the Del Rey is an evolution of the Corcel. Behind that Ford grille sits a 1.6 L four, called the Ford CHT, which is an evolution of the Renault Cleon-Fonte engine, which first appeared in the 1962 R8. Later versions also used a VW 1.8 l four. That Ford overcoat is a bit too wide too.


The Del Rey was built from 1981 to 1991, when it was replaced by the Ford Versailles (no, not that Versailles), based on the VW Sanatana. Yes, things get a bit complicated in South America.


Related: Ford Corcel: The Confusing History of a Multi-National Classic   by Rubens