German By Way Of Canada: 1964 Ford Taunus


No, that’s not a typo, this isn’t an early Ford Taurus. The Taunus was a smallish German four-door sedan that had rather distinct styling by this point. Look at those headlights! This one is located in St-Nazaire, Quebec, Canada and is for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of C$5,500 (~$4,160 US) and bidding well below that. The car appears to be in nice shape cosmetically, with a respray back in 2002, nice upholstery and decent chrome. We don’t get many pictures but the partial underhood shot and underbody photo seem to agree with the low 70.8K total (~44k miles). I’d love to show up with this car at a Ford meet in the US and have folks wonder what the heck I’m driving! Are any of our Canadian readers interested in bringing this pretty car home?


WANTED 1964-1990 Ford Any Looking for antique red tractor. Non working condition. Used for display only Contact

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WANTED 1922-1975 Alfa Romeo 2000, 2600, Giulia, 1900 We Buy Classic Alfa Romeo in Any Condition, Any Location Top Dollar Paid. Please call Peter Kumar Contact

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  1. RayT Member

    I’ve seen exactly one Taunus in the U.S., and that was back in the mid-1960s. Some Californian had brought one home from Germany. Though they seem normal now, the headlights were attention-getters back in the day when all lamps were round. I seem to recall the lenses being larger; were these perhaps special “export” lamps?

    In any case, a neat little car. The price should increase a good bit. I’d buy it now for a buck or two over the current bid! Looks good enough to take a chance on, especially as there’s no rot apparent on the front strut mounts (a problem — and a sure “fail” point during mandatory inspections in British Columbia — with Cortinas back then).

    The new owner could start an American Taunus Club and host gatherings of all members in the car!

  2. JW454

    The hood spring picture was nice but you’d think a shot of the engine would have been useful too.

  3. randy

    A “Falconbird”! I bet those headlight lenses are made of unobtainium.

  4. mark

    I’m no expert but believe this came with an actual V-4, unlike all the Honda’s, Toyota’s, etc, that I see advertised on Craigslist as such.

    • RayT Member

      I’m pretty sure you’re right, though it’s obvious this one doesn’t have one. No doubt Taunuses, like other Euro-Fords, offered different engine choices.

      That V-4 also ended up in later Saabs.

      • Olaf E

        In 1954 the Taunus P3 was introduced with one engine choice, a 1498cc version. Then in 1957 Ford introduced a second choice, the 1698cc (1.7). Finally in 1961, Ford offered a third, a 1757cc engine. From 1961 to 1964 buyers had three engine options, all V-4 inline.

      • Olaf E

        Sorry, correction: 17M (Taunus P3) was introduced in 1960 with two engine choices, the 1498cc and the 1698cc. The 1498cc was introduced with the 15M (Taunus P1) in 1955, a stronger engine than the 12M offered (also P1, 1172cc).

        My neighbour (retired Ford dealer) had confused me a little!

    • MikeW

      There is an engine photo and it’s a inline four.

  5. MikeW

    They were a Ford import From Germany starting in the late ’50s and sold at Mercury and Edsel dealers. My Grandfather bought a new one at the Edsel dealer in Seaside, CA. They resembled a ’56 Ford and had a 4 speed on the column. Despite their good looks they are very rare. A similar one did show up on Craigslist 5 years ago, but I’ve only seen them on the internet since. They came with a ohv inline 4, 1.6L and rear drive. This car more resembles the ’61 Corsair.

  6. MikeW
  7. racer417

    This car was originally intended for the US market, code named Cardinal. The drivetrain was used as a basis for the original Mustang I, mid-engined concept sports car. Great article in a recent edition of “Octane” magazine.

    • Olaf E

      Do you mean the (Taunus) Cardinal P4 (1962-1966) that replaced the Taunus P1?

      • MikeW

        so what’s a ” V-4 inline” ?

  8. Bob_s

    Hi All,
    All German Ford’s were called Taunus till the 80’s I believe, and the different models were 12M, 15M, 17M, Etc. This Taunus was a 17M, or P3 – third new model after the war. It had a inline 4 cylinder engine. The 12M P4 was the Cardinal project designed in Dearborn and planned to be sold in the USA and Germany. Lee Iacocca killed it for the US and used that money for the Mustang. The 12M/15M P4 was the first front wheel drive Ford and had a north/south V4 Engine. The P4 drivetrain was used for the 1962 Mustang I, but midship. Saab also used the Ford V4 1.5L & 1.7L but with their own transmission. The P4 was face lifted in 1966 and called the P6 which lasted till 1970.

  9. MikeW

    1959 p2 17M

    Like 1
  10. Horse Radish

    @Olaf E.(#2), @Mike W., @bob_s

    these three got it right.
    This Taunus (P3) was built 1960-64 and was also aero-dynamically designed.
    Never had the V4 which came with the next generation (P5) in ’64 to 1967.

    There were almost a million of these built and most stayed and rusted in Germany.

    The numbers were also decimated because the whole parts warehouse with these model’s car burnt down to the ground, so parting out other cars became a necessity.
    A really cool design ahead of it’s time.

    I have 1960 wagon that I am itching to get back on the road.

    There was a sedan like this offered in San Diego about 3 years back, which I don’t know if it survived and where it went.

    Probably less than 50 in the whole US, my guess all of them private imports….

    I was also in (posted to a site like this) indirect contact with the designer of this car (An American who worked in Germany- Ford being an american Company), who lived, retired, in San Diego.

    • Horse Radish

      Here’s my project.
      It has no engine or transmission, so I plan on dropping in a 2.o Lotus with the 5 speed from a rusty Jensen Healy.
      See how that would work out….

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        What a cool wagon, Horse Radish!!! I like the drivetrain swap, too :-)

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Best of luck on your project! I had a two door wagon in about 1972. I think it was a 1960 also. She was brush painted gloss black and with the trim polished it looked pretty good. I can’t remember what for a motor. I do remember the tranny was a 5 speed on the tree. I found out the hard way trying to push start it. It was in reverse!!!!!!!!

  11. Per Eliasen

    My Dad had a couple of Taunus 17M back in the sixties. I remember them to be very smooth driving cars. Several times we would drive from Denmark to Italy towing a small camper trailer. Brings back many childhood memories…….

  12. Jerry

    Nickname for this particular model Taunus in Holland was “badkuip” or “bathtub”.

  13. Max Damage

    I owned a 1976 Taunus while stationed in Germany in 1986 – 1988. It was a straight four, four-speed and started first time, every time with barely a turn of the key.

    It ran down the Autobahn at 80 mph without an issue but didn’t like to go much faster than that.

    The radio worked twice – both times coming on spontaneously for about 10 seconds before re-dying back into stony silence.

  14. Hans

    Fun seeing that the Taunus 17M P3-series was sold in Canada, too.

    I myself live in Sweden (so bare with the language slip-ups ;)), owning besides a pair of seventies Taunus (Cortina-related) a 1964 2-door sedan that i hope to get running sometime. Plans call for a bit more modern running gear (but not very notable at a glance) as it´s been sitting for decades gathering rust and seizing up even before i had i trailered home just in time to call off the wrecker from getting there first. If you got the time, i´ve got some collected stuff to share on the subject which will have to be a bit ad hoc and unsorted, but perhaps of some use to someone tinkering or just curious of those cars:

    Rear-wheel drive Taunus were among the best selling cars (the top fourth below Volvo, Opel and the VW bug most any given month) at the time here in mostly the 2- and 4-door varieties, but like the Opel scarce already by the advent of the seventies due to rusting and seldom seen in traffic today but many are still lurking as barn finds. Station wagons has always been rather few around with not all that many built in comparison and there was a panel wagon offered,not avaible here but in the rest of the scandinavian countries where it was a rather good seller due to tax regulations for light trucks. Not many survivors therefor as they were work horses but it seems about as many as the glassed station wagon. A short line of 2-door convertibles was built by german coach builder Karl Deutsch in close co-operation with Ford of Cologne of which a few resides in Sweden and there was also a pickup (“bakkie”) built out of station wagon bodies by Ford of South Africa but only one is known to have survived and was brought to Germany some years ago pending restoration by it´s new owner.

    The 17M P3 series was already underway with the entry of second series of the 17M P2 (easily identified by its flattened roof panel) that acted as a try-out for mechanical upgrades scheduled for the upcoming successor that was based on a reworked and severely stiffened P2 platform and they remained at large the same until 1963 when front disc brakes and some other upgrades were introduced on that later.

    Tips for those few who struggle with restorations of one of these or something resembling from the english stable (keep in mind – this information is collected shop talk and notions mixed with bits from other Internet rants, not provided or approved by Ford, no guarantees or responsibilities attached, use your common sence if following the tips and always double check for correctness):

    The inline-4 Taunus OHV engine is in short a thoroughly reworked metric version of the english Consul inline-4 with only a few parts interchangeable (as i remember it the oil pump and some seals is said to match but don´t take my word for it, look it up on the web). The last year (1964) used in passenger cars, these engines finally got a solid crankshaft as the preceeding hollow ones was prone to breaking when revved hard, some reliable sources tell. I´ve been told the “late-models” should be safe for tuning up to around 90 to a 100 PS (just above those numbers in BHP or SAE Net figures) but i can hardly see the point to push the poor thing to it´s limits rather than stowing it away somewhere and let something already up there take it´s place for fun.

    As for identification, if the valve cover hasn´t been repainted it shows by color which engine it sits on – green for the 1.5L, blue for the 1,7L, black for the 1.8L and red for the rare and special 1.7L TS engine that is based on a thicker block casting that measures the same on the outside but differs from its sibblings in most other specs such as the solid crankshaft with larger bearing journals is unique to the TS engine and the compession is higher on the TS engine.

    The Taunus OHV inline-4 was also used in the german Ford small truck family FK/Taunus Transit (in production until 1965 and then until ´67 in Portugal) and it seems also as to have been avaible separatly in the Ford range of stationary power plants but that last bit is a rumour in need of checking out. To confuse things even more, the TS engine is not found in the cars coded P3TS, just so you know.

    Some service parts (valve seals and what not) and mechanical internals (not the oval pistons, though) of the Taunus OHV inline-4 are interchangeable with the Taunus/Cologne V4 (especially in later builds of the I4, for instance the oil filter was changed to match and most other european Ford engines up to the nineties uses the same, as well as a lot of other common fours and sixes). The bolt pattern of the engine block to bell housing is also the same as most other european Fords of the day and onwards up to the introduction of the Duratec line. Speaking of bolt patterns is the 5-lug wheel pattern of those 13 inch rims is the same as the Mustang and others. Most of the service parts for the Bosch distributor besides for the Cologne V4 can be found in common european 4-cylinder cars from around 1960 to 1980, your best bet is various combinations in Saabs (the 99 got some via the 96/95), Volvos, the small BMW´s and some Volkswagens. Luckily, the Bosch company´s internal part numbers are the same everywhere for the same part regardless of the users part number and usage.

    No P3 series Taunus were ever built by Ford with the V4 engine though swapping the I4 for a seventies Cologne V6 of the 2.0-2.3-2.6 litre varieties is not all that uncommon (i´ve seen that engine also been easily put into a few of the Saabs sporting the V4 which is a bolt-on-deal and even passing inspection with some extra paperwork) and is said to be a rather easy task incorporating the bellhousing and gearbox that came with the early V6:s thanks to the similarities with the other small Fords of the time – most of the ones in the Taunus 20M P5 series came with a slush box called Taunomatic which is an adaption of the american automatics but a C3 (used later with those engines) or the like would propably be a close fit in the P3 body. As the Taunus OHV I4 is a bit of a boat anchor close to the rather similar Kent X-Flow, the extra weight is not such a big deal and cheaper for the power.

    My guess is that besides scrounging a rusted-out european Capri for parts, the same Cologne V6 and sometimes manual tranny setup from a Mustang II could be fit with the same amount of DIY but measure twice before you buy or try anything. And keep in mind that these engines are just distantly related to the later-day Cologne V6 4.0L OHV engines found in Mustangs, Explorers and so on although the overall height and width measurements are about the same. There is no relation at all beyound the blue oval to the Essex engines neither the canadian or english by the same name (nothing in common between those either).

    If opting for some extra power in a P3, consider also that the original rear axle (seems to be some kind of small Salisbury, might be related to the Consul series and/or the Escort´s and Taunus-Cortina´s “English axle”) is not built to withstand the stress of the extra torque but it seems some drivers with a soft touch make it work anyway. By the way, that´s less of a problem with the P5 series but the Volvo axles is a good strong alternative for those too unless you manage to find an Atlas axle from a 26M P7b (good luck on that).

    Even though the successor 17/20M P5 was developed from the P3 very few parts are interchangeable as it was made slightly bigger and most things upgraded (original plans was to stretch the P3 kind of like the Cortina vs the Corsair and slip the Cologne V-engines into them). For a full-on upgrade of a gutted P3 body it seems to me like your best bet would be to hunt down a scrapped Ford/Mercury Capri of the mid seventies to mid 80´s variety (strictlly european) as a donor car and take it from there (dimensions are similar). Actually, from what i´ve found when looking for ways to upgrade without cutting up too much it seems to be a lot of basics shared thanks to the second gen Ford Vedette (better known as Simca Vedette) that was used as a starting point when developing the Taunus 17M P2 (fact) and propably the officially not connected Consul 315 Classic (my guess) since most critical measures needed for a retrofit of the rolling stock are a close call between these Taunuses and the Escort mk II that aside of the european Capri line is the last deriative in line from the small Consul/Cortina/Corsair family. At the risk of going overboard with this i might add that Volvo 200-series struts are fairly common to use for a serious upgrade of the front end when hot rodding Anglia 105E´s as well as Taunus P5´s over here and as far as i can see it would be a slip-in on the P3 also – however, you would need to compensate for a slightly shorter shock by placing inserts underneath in the shock towers. Some who´s gone the route say hockey pucks are perfect for that, but i wouldn´t know. Yet. You might consider robbing that old Volvo from the whole axle setups if you´re going all out as the rear axle (a Dana 30 clone if it´s numbered a 1030) measures merely a couple of inches wider than the P3 in track width if you find the narrowest one and one guy tipped me that the front axle, however slightly wider in track, matches up sideways on one pair of mounting bolt holes at the P3 but needs notching to fit without the front raising and the clumsy A-arms can be fit as is but leaves not much room for the exhaust system. Oh yeah, might as well get the brake master cylinder setup too to get it all working well together ïn this case – Ate bits at front and Girling or Lockheed out back depending on which production year if memory serves me right.

    The original Taunus P3 brake system shares some parts with more common english Fords of the period and somewhat beyond, the Girling brake cylinders in the back are standard issue parts and the Ate parts up front can be found in other small european cars of the period (Opel comes to mind for the calipers that are bolt-on, always change in pairs of course). Also the last years, series 3, of the afore mentioned front-wheel driven Taunus P6 that btw also adds the possibility of upgrading to a 2-circuit brake system) and the connecting ball joint at the bottom om the McPherson struts in the front is as far as i know the exact same (by older part number) as on many other european Fords including the late-model Taunus/Cortinas (my guess is that the early Hyundai Stellar used the same part).

    The funny-looking headlights has been used also on utilitarian vehicles such as trucks and buses and certain versions of the Mercedes Unimog, still not that easy to find but agricultural outfitters at least in Europe may still have them for sale, even in a later developed hi-face H4 design by the originators at Hella (who unfortunally doesn´t have any of them posted in their current online catalogues).

    Now i´m just wondering how things turned out with that wagon waiting for a Lotus engine, that would be one cool Taunus when done. :) As for the pic, as far as i know that lovely bunch of rejects is still residing at that old school wrecking yard in the northern forrests and yes, international tourists have been visiting them too..

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