Having been branded “a loser” by Ford general manager Lee Iacocca, the car coded 'Cardinal' -was handed over to Cologne, which launched it in September ' Conceptually flawed, the Pony Pac posed problems, not least with the transverse-leaf suspension, which had its garage door opener motor arms pivoting off the gearbox until a 1964 redesign. But Ford persisted, and with a restyle in '66 below the front-drive 12M and 15M continued until 1970, by which time more than 36 million had been made. The 1183cc unit of Rousset's '63 12M develops only 40bhp, but the P4 goes well enough, and the four-speed column shift is okay.
Its drum brakes discs came in for '65 are acceptable. The Ford rides no better or worse than one would expect of a car with a leaf-sprung dead axle and has no handling quirks; the steering, by box instead of the rack of the '66-on P6, is adequately quick. This very ordinariness suggests that no garage door opener motor advantages came from the added cost of front drive. The Cortina was surely a more sensible way forward.
An unusual feature of the estate was horizontal rear lights integrated into the edge of the garage door opener motor This gave the tail a clean look, but legislators in France and England frowned upon the design, obliging cars for these markets to be fitted with bulbous round add-on lamps perched on the wings. Ford capitulated, and for ’63 revised the rear to incorporate low-set triangular units. Rousset’s 1963 P3 has the 1500 engine and the optional four-speed ’box, which was standard on the TS. The smaller power unit develops 55bhp, it’s beautifully free-spinning, nicely refined, and provides relaxed 60mph cruising, progress aided by a gearchange that has the same easy slickness as that on the P The steering is lighter and more vague real American steering and the ride is softer, too, with a fair amount of roll on corners.