The RS’s interior saw a full array of gauges, with the centre console units angled towards the driver in a sporting fashion but the regular 20M was simpler, with a just trio of clocks mounted behind the steering wheel. Both RS and the ordinary 20M got wood-trim veneer finish on the dash but testers of the time often moaned about the RS cabin – which was upholstered in black – being too drab, dark and not conducive to the hot South African climate. There was a solution for excessive interior heat though… unwind all four windows on the pillarless coupé. Not only did this keep the cabin cool, but also the occupant’s image.
Pundits praised the ride and handling of both the 20M and the RS, but surprisingly this admiration didn’t come from the P7 two-door sporting ability, rather the comfort, gentleness and long travel. This meant hard cornering resulted in plenty of body-roll but all four tyre footprints stayed on terra firma, especially when on a corrugated road surface. Think of it as a country-crossing GT rather than a racer and you’ll get the picture. But believe it or not, a 20M V6 did hit the local racetracks with remarkable success – first in the hands of Pat Sonnenschein and then Eddie Keizan.
While the 17M and 20M had been one rung up on the market level from the Cortina MkII, the arrival of the larger and more luxurious Cortina MkIII put pressure on the P7 models. Sure, the MkIII wasn’t as sporting as the German Ford but offered similar performance, more practicality and four doors. If this sensible choice didn’t tick the box, buyers also had the option of the muscular-looking Ford Capri in 1598cc inline four-cylinder, 1996cc V4 and the Essex 3-litre. The result of this was that all forms of the P7 ceased to leave the South African plant in 1972, and the focus was put into a new vehicle that would be one step up from the MkIII Cortina – the Ford Granada.