The Ford Cortina Story 1962 - 1982
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The Ford Cortina's place in motoring history is assured. Lasting exactly two decades, it became the benchmark saloon for family and business motorists during the Sixties and Seventies, ahead of strong competition from its rivals BMC, Vauxhall and Rootes.
Cortina Production Figures
MkI 1962 - 1966 1,013,391
MkII 1966 - 1970 1,027,869
MkIII 1970 - 1980 1,126,559
MkIV 1976 - 1980 1,131,850
MkV 1980 - 1982 1,131,850
Cortina Mk I 1962 - 66
In the late 1950s, Ford identified the need for an all-new family car. Although tempted by BMCs mini-car concept, which had taken the motoring world by storm, their engineers took a very conscious decision not to try and emulate this, but instead to build a reliable roomy car at a low price - the Ford Cortina. The only car that Ford launched in 1962, it was a design that went on to become the benchmark for family and business motoring for the next two decades.
Cortina Mk1 1962 - 66
The Mk 1 was launched in September 1962 with just one engine size of 1,195cc. The initial production of only 20,000 also carried a Consul bonnet badge. By January 1963, a 1,500cc-engined model was available with larger brakes and chome body strip embellishments. With prices including purchase-tax of £639 for the 2-door standard model and £666 10s 3d, for the deluxe model, Cortina soon became Ford's most important car range, sweeping all competition aside to become Britain's best selling car.
Cortina Mk2 1966 - 70
October 1966 gave first sight of the new Cortina. It offered crosp, clean almost European lines and a more powerful 1300cc engine complementing the 1500cc unit. Crossflow engines were available from August 1967. New safety features were strongly promoted - including door handles and switches that were designed to 'break-away' in an accident, child-proof locks on rear doors and dished steering wheels. Apart from the charismatic Lotus Cortina which was discontinued in 1970, the M II range will probably be best remembered for one particular model - the 1600E.
Cortina Mk3 1970 - 76
Given the 'Detroit look' by Head Engineer Harley Copp, the beautifully styled Mk 3 Cortina was appreciably bigger than the Mk 2. At launch, there were 2 and 4-door saloons, and a four-door estate in L and XL trims and featuring 1300 and 1600 overhead valve and 2-litre over head camshaft engines. GT and top-of-the-range GXL models were offered with 1600cc and 2 - litre engines. As proof of the total acceptance of the new Cortina, Ford sold a record 187,159 cars in 1972 alone. Eventually between 1970 and 1976, 1,126,559 Cortina Mk IIIs in all body styles were sold.
Cortina Mk4 1976 - 80
In September 1976 Ford introduced the more sophisticated and fashionable 'square-look' for the Cortina Mk 4. The new Cortina design featured increased visibility courtesy of a larger glass area, a lower waistline and an aerodynamic integral front-spoiler. It inherited much of the outgoing Mk III Cortina's dash layout. With firm control of the top-selling sopot, the Cortina continued to be improved with the addition of V6 power from a 2.3-litre engine available in GL, Ghia and S (for Sport) models.
Cortina 'Mk5' 1960 - 82
Although not officially a Ford marque, the 1980 revisions to the Cortina changed the appearance sufficiently for the trade and public to dub the new car the 'Mk 5'. Providing Ford with a 'family design image', the new Cortina range now closely resembled that of the larger Granada. Glass area was again increased, larger wrap-around bumpers gave more protection to the bodyshell and a new aerofoil grille further improved both appearance and the delivery of cooling air to the engine bay.