Okrasa TSV 1300
The Ascort was powered by an Okrasa TSV 1300 engine. This engine was basically a 36hp 1200cc aircooled VW engine which was significantly modified by an Okrasa kit, containing a stroker crank, dual port heads and twin 32mm carburettors. The kit provided an approximate 30% increase in power. Link to details.
The body of the Ascort is a glass fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) construction, which used the latest fibreglass spraying technology in its construction, rather than the traditional hand laying of chopped strand mat or cloth. (The prototype was hand laid). This resulted in much faster manufacture of the bodies and also a high ratio of glass to resin, which is most desirable in a GRP structure. The Ascort is known for having one of the best GRP bodies that have been built for a low production car. It is not a particularly light fibreglass body, but it is extremely strong thanks to features such as double panelling, steel door pillars, an incorporated steel roll bar in the windscreen surround, and a number of GRP boxed sections in areas such as the sills, bumper bars, front air vents and ducts and rear air chamber, which provided added strength.
The doors of the Ascort were constructed from 2 fibreglass mouldings, which were bonded to form a strong structure that did not rely on any steel framework, except for the support of the window regulator mechanism. A steel cable brace with a turnbuckle ran diagonally from the top front of the inside of the door to the opposite (bottom rear) corner. This stopped the moulding from twisting and assisted in holding the door flush with the door rubber. Not all cars seem to be fitted with this cable.
To date the window regulator mechanism that was typically used has not been recognized. (No bracing cable fitted in photo) Some later cars have a different mechanism fitted.
The door hinges look to be a non-automotive hardware type item. They may have been custom built for the car.
Catches 1959 VW door catches. (The prototype was different and has catches which appear to be Karmann Ghia). There was an evolution of the door catch arrangement over the Ascort production ran, and this is one way that a car seems to be able to be identified as to whether it is an early or late car.
Photos left to right: 1. Prototype catches; 2. Early door still with recess at the bottom as per the prototype; 3. Recess at the bottom of the door removed; 4. Late build car with door catch recessed to provide additional clearance.
Door Striker. 1959 VW. The first car/cars built had a problem with clearance to the striker plate so a modification was made to recessing the striker.
Left believed to be the first body built after the prototype with no striker plate recess; Right Later production recessed striker.
Door glass This is believed to have been custom made for the car. It is unsupported by an external frame.
Not all Ascorts are fitted with the same door handles. Vanguard door handles with key lock on drivers door only have been used on at least one car (photo on the left), but it is understood that Morris Isis door handles were more commonly fitted. Morris Isis handles are the same as fitted to Morris Oxfords. Morris Oxfords are still produced in India as Hindustan Ambassadors and they still use the same handle design. New handles with locks and keys are available at very reasonable prices from ebay (as pictured in the photo on the right.)
Only the drivers door is fitted with a key lock. The prototype had its door handles fitted high on the door, while production cars had a lower placement. This is one way to identify the prototype in photos.
Left prototype handle placement; Right Production car handle placement.
Front boot and bonnet
The Ascort had a considerably larger boot than a Karmann Ghia. This was due to the fuel tank placement being just ahead of the rear wheels and also the longer nose, with the spare tyre laying flat ahead of the front torsion tubes. The spare tyre placement was also designed to provide some front end crash protection.
Front bonnet hinges are from a Ford Zephyr/Consul (different on the prototype). The bonnet hinges were spring loaded to support the bonnet in the open position. (The prototype had a bonnet stay).
The bonnet catch came from a Holden FE or FC. A cable release ran to the cabin with the pull nob situated under the dash on the right.
Rear engine bay
The fibreglass moulding of the engine bay appears to be a copy of a Karmann Ghia in the rear skirt area.
Engine bay lid hinges are from a Ford Zephyr/Consul.
The catch is the bonnet catch from a late 1950s VW Beetle. The release was operated by a cable to a knob located at the base of the right hand rear seat.
The windscreen of the Ascort was a Peugeot 403 windscreen.
The rear windscreen of the Ascort was the rear windscreen of an Austin A95.
Side windows Custom made for the car.
The Ascort was fitted with Bosch headlights from a late 1950s VW or Porsche 356 - 6 Volt.
Driving Lights Sealed beam aircraft landing light. 6 Volt Listed as Renrade in Ascort parts list.
Front indicators Lucas same as used on the Morris Minor.
Ascort tail lights are Lucas 53464; lens Part L348 as used on Humber Hawk Mk VI, 1958 Standard Vanguard Utility and Aston Martin DB2 MKIII. (Note lens colour reversed)
Note that some cars seem to have been built with clear indicator lenses, while others had yellow lenses.
Number Plate Light
There are some differences between cars with the number plate light. Most cars use a recessed proprietary light which was a front park light used on Humber Super Snipe Mk iii and some other makes.
At least one (or some?) early cars had a light, which had been fabricated from angle stainless steel. The prototype also differed from production cars.
The seats are steel framed, with wire springs, covered in an imitation leather vinyl. Some published articles state that the Ascort had fibreglass front seats. Although a fibreglass front seat was tried (as shown in a photo in the prototype construction), no fibreglass seats are known to have been fitted to production cars.) The seats have a Porsche 356 A series recline mechanism on the door side of the seat, only. The inner side of the seat has the pivot on the frame. The asymmetrical pivot points caused the seat to fold toward the centre to allow easier rear seat access.
Rear Seat Moulded fibreglass, integral with body shell with central removable armrest.
There 2 predominant trim styles on production cars, with the prototype and several early cars also having slight variations
From left to right The rear seat fibreglass moulding; The prototype; Typical trim in an unrestored car; Alternate trim style.
The rear armrest contained an ashtray, which came from the back of the front seat of a 48-215 (FX) or FJ Holden.
The Ascort front ashtray sat on the centre top of the dash (photo on the left) and came from a FE or FC Holden which had an ashtray located in a similar location (sits flush with the dash - photo on the right).
Section in yellow text under develiopment
Sunvisor Early Porsche 356 Acrylic type -
Rear vision mirror - Early Porsche 356
Switches 1959 VW headlight switch and 1959 VW wiper switch
Indicator switches Aftermarket type with light at the end of the indicator stalk, mounted on right side of steering column.
Headlight dipper Column mounted dipper switch mounted on the left of the steering column.
Steering Wheel This is a Petri banjo steering wheel that suits a Porsche 356, VW Oval or VW Split
Steering Wheel Lock A lock was fitted. Make unknown.
Gauges Clock on left adjacent to the glovebox, Tacho on left in binnacle, 100mph speedo on right in binnacle, Motometer 3 in one gauge (fuel, Amps & Oil Temp) in centre of binnacle, VDO Oil Temp on right of binnacle, Vacuum on far right of dash
Windscreen Wiper 6 volt. Lucas.
Windscreen Washer Make unknown at this stage.
Floor Standard VW floorpan of the late 1950s era
Wheels Standard 15 inch VW 1959 - 1960
Hub caps Porsche 356 moon hubcap (also available as an aftermarket VW part.)
Wheel trims VW wheel trim available as an aftermarket part.
Stabilizer Bar Custom made for the car.
Brakes Standard VW, but some cars have been fitted with Porsche 356 brakes, but not understood to be originally fitted.
Rear Ascort Emblem
Note that many early photos of Ascorts did not show a front badge or A S C O R T lettering fitted.
Side badges This was a small version of the nose badge.
Rear Air Vents
These were modified speaker grilles from pre-1958 oval window VWs; Most car seem to have the grilles modified with 2 bars removed to narrow the grille. At least 2 cars used a standard grille, with a slight cut out of the body to allow for the standard grille to be fitted.
Ascorts have twin fuel tanks which were sourced from Ford 105E Anglias. The tanks have 8 imp gallon capacity each, making a total of 16 gallons of fuel capacity. This gave the Ascort over 600 mile (1,000km) range.The tanks are located ahead of the rear wheels between the outer skin and the interior panel, held in place by a steel strap which is tensioned by a turnbuckle in the centre. The tanks are slightly modified from the original Ford construction to change the filler position and fuel gauge sender unit position. There is one filler only on the left tank, with the right tank fed by a large cross feed lines at the top and bottom of the tank, and a smaller air cross feed line at the top. The right tank has the fuel gauge sender unit.