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Old 09-16-2002, 06:29   #1 (permalink)
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Happy Birthday Cortina

BRENTWOOD, September 16, 2002 - Forty years ago, on September 21, 1962, Ford’s new Cortina was launched. Costing £573 for the standard 1200 saloon, it became an instant best-seller and enjoyed a 20 year career in which 4.3-million examples were produced.

The last Cortina was assembled in July 1982, to be succeeded by the Sierra, by which time the entry-level model was priced at £4,515.

The Cortina was so successful and so different from other cars in the industry, that in Britain it inspired what became known as ‘the Cortina class’. Once established, at times one in every six cars being built in the UK was a Cortina. Along with the parallel success of the Escort from 1968, this helped Ford gain market leadership in Britain, which it has now maintained for more than 25 years.

"The popularity of the Cortina throughout its lifetime is confirmed by the amazing sales statistics of the period," said Ford Motor Company Limited chairman, Roger Putnam. "In 1967, the Cortina MkII alone took 14.9 per cent of the UK new car sales market and in its best sales year ever, 1979, just under 194,000 Cortinas were sold in Britain."

In 20 years, four distinctly different generations of Cortina were put on the market – each of them selling more than a million examples around the world.

‘Archbishop’
Conceived in 1960, the new car, code named ‘Archbishop’ until the Cortina name was adopted, was intended to fill out a range in which the Anglia 105E and Zephyr/Zodiac models were prominent.

Roomy yet compact, light yet strong, technically simple but amazingly versatile

and with many derivatives, the Cortina was a completely new type of British Ford.

When originally planned, Ford thought it could sell at least 100,000 Cortinas every year – yet more than 260,000 Cortinas, with their trademark bodyside flutes and 'ban the bomb' badge-style rear lamps, were sold in the first full sales year, 1963.

Those highly distinctive rear lamps on the MkI very nearly didn't make the production car at all. Charles Thompson, one of the design team, recollects: "We were going to have neat strips of angled lamps and the body tooling was well underway. Then there was a last minute change of mind and the circular lamps were adopted instead."

The Cortina was the mainstay of Ford’s assembly plant at Dagenham in Essex throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Many other Cortinas were also built in Ford plants overseas – in Australia, South Africa, Amsterdam, Cork, and Genk (Belgium).
Derivatives of the Cortina – particularly the GT and the Lotus-Cortina – won races and rallies all around the world in the 1960s. Formula One World Champion Jim Clark, and the ‘Bearded Baronet’ Sir John Whitmore won race championships in Britain and Europe. ‘Works’ GTs and Lotus-Cortinas, prepared at the Boreham motorsport centre, also won the East African Safari, and the RAC rallies, two of the world’s toughest endurance events.

Cortina was named 'International Car of the Year' in 1964 for motorsport achievement by the Swiss motoring magazine 'Auto Universum'.

A car for Everyman
Like other cars in Ford’s heritage, over the years the Cortina offered something for everyone. Because there was always a wide choice of engines, body shapes and trim packs, customers from all walks of life could find a car exactly suited to their needs.

Businesses could buy Cortinas for their sales representatives, their managers and their directors, the family man could buy saloons or estate cars with the engine to suit his pocket, while the sportsman could campaign a car which might win on the race track, or in the roughest of rallies.

Ford made sure of this by providing a car which was at once spacious yet fuel efficient, and which was also economical to run and maintain. Even though British car prices in general soared in the 1970s, the Cortina always offered great value for money. In the 1980s, it would need an extra-special car to replace the Cortina – that car was the Sierra.
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Old 09-16-2002, 06:38   #2 (permalink)
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THE CORTINA STORY

Only 21 months after the original body style had been approved, the first Cortina production car rolled off the new assembly line at Dagenham, in Essex. By the time the Cortina was revealed on September 21, 1962, four different 1.2-litre types were already in the showrooms – two-door and four-door saloons, to Standard and De Luxe specification with a choice of central floor-mounted or steering column gearchange controls. No fewer than 67,050 cars were produced before the end of that year.

Over the next few months, several important derivatives were added to the range. In January 1963 the more completely equipped 1.5-litre Cortina Super was announced, a roomy and practical estate car appeared in March, and in April the sporting 78bhp/1.5-litre Cortina GT was added to the range.

In the meantime the specialised Lotus-Cortina – a two-door saloon which not only featured a 105bhp/twin-overhead-camshaft engine, and coil spring rear suspension, but many light-alloy body panels – had already been previewed. Deliveries of this type, which was intended for motorsport use, began during the spring, with the first racing successes following in September.

In the next three years there was continuous change and improvement. 1964 models featured a new instrument panel layout, Borg Warner automatic transmission became optional in 1.5-litre models, then for 1965 the company introduced the important innovation, of Aeroflow (through-flow) cabin ventilation. The sensational Lotus-Cortina was given new-type leaf-spring rear suspension in mid-1965.

Cortina Mk II

By the summer of 1966, the Cortina had earned more than £250 million in export sales, and the millionth car was built. Then, in October 1966, a new-shape Cortina, the Mk II, took over. Using the same basic platform and running gear, there was a completely new body style. Two-door and four-door saloons were launched at once, the estate car version followed in February 1967 and a new-type Lotus-Cortina in March.

From October 1967 the Mk II range was further up-rated, not only by the fitment of new cross-flow 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre engines, but by the addition of a luxuriously trimmed 1600E model, which combined 1600GT performance, Lotus-Cortina handling and unique high-specification furnishing.

1969 models were further improved, notably with new manual transmissions, new facias, and the availability of reclining seats on more models in the range. From this point, the Lotus-Cortina officially became the Cortina Twin-Cam, though without mechanical changes. By this time, no fewer than 14 different Cortina types were available.

The Mk II Cortina sold even faster than the original type, with well over one million manufactured in a four year period.

Cortina Mk III

Although the existing engines were carried forward, the Mk III range, introduced in October 1970, was in all other respects entirely new. No longer than before, it nevertheless had a 3.5in. longer wheelbase, being wider and lower than the previous type.

The sweeping new style hid a new family of ‘Pinto’ overhead-camshaft engines, the largest of which was a 98bhp 2.0-litre which guaranteed a top speed of over 100mph: there was no Lotus derivative. Other innovations included wishbone front suspension and coil spring rear suspension.

Although the new car shared its platform with a new model Ford from Germany, the Taunus, the Cortina Mk III had a unique style: as expected, two-door and four-saloons and an estate car shared four engines and five trim/equipment packs. This was a time when Ford offered a wide choice of factory-fit options and accessories, including automatic transmission, and cross-ply or radial ply tyres.

In the early 1970s, the Mk III range was simplified and in 1972 a new type of Ford automatic transmission – the C3 – was made available. Then, in October 1973, the design was refreshed, with new smaller versions of the ‘Pinto’ engine, new grille styling and a new fascia. At the same time the top-of-the-range 2000E was added to the line up.

Although inflation in Britain made it difficult to hold down prices, the Cortina was always a best-seller, made even more attractive in October 1975 by Ford’s ‘Value for Money’ equipment enhancement package. Later, to face up to post-energy crisis fuel economy requirements, a new ‘economy’ Cortina 1300 was introduced in February 1976.

By the summer of 1976, the Mk III had became the best-selling Cortina so far – but a new version was already on the way.

Cortina Mk IV

The Mk IV range was introduced in September 1976, with a brand-new and stylishly more angular shape than before, which was built up on the same well-proven platform and running gear as the ultra-successful Mk III.

Once again this was a wide range of saloons and estate cars, with engines spanning 50bhp/1.3-litres and 98bhp/2.0-litres at first. In place of the GT versions, there was now a Cortina S, while the most completely trimmed and equipped models were badged Ghia. One year later, in October 1977, a 108bhp/2.3-litre V6 engined version of the car, the flagship of the range, was made available. This was now the most complete Cortina range so far, for at this time there were 20 derivatives, their prices spanning £2,523 (1300 two-door) to £4,795 (2300 Ghia estate).

In its first full year on sale, 1977, the Mk IV leapt to the top of British sales charts. Indeed, 1979 was the best year ever for Cortina sales, 193,784 (11.3 per cent of the UK new car market) being sold that year.

Cortina 80

Only three years after the Mk IV had been introduced, in September 1979, a significantly revised version of the range, officially to be known as the Cortina 80, was unveiled. Although it was never officially called the Mk V, this title was adopted by many Cortina enthusiasts and customers, and was the type which carried the Cortina range successfully to the end of its career in mid-1982.

Although based closely on the Mk IV, the style and specification of the Cortina 80 was improved, not least with more glass area in the cabin, a lightened shell and subtle changes to the grille, tail lamps and many of the skin panels.

The engines had all been improved, to make them at once more powerful and more economical. Now there was a choice of five different power units, which spanned 61bhp/1.3-litres to 116bhp/2.3-litres, there were Base, L, GL and Ghia equipment packs, saloon and estate car types, totalling no fewer than 20 derivatives. It was then also possible to specify an S (for ‘Sporting’ wheel/suspension package), or a ‘Heavy Duty Pack’ which made the cars even more suitable for poor surface and high-load-carrying duties.

This ensured that the Cortina 80 sold as well as any of its predecessors, especially in 1981 and 1982 when two popular special editions, the Carousel and the Crusader, were made available and after a final facia/equipment up-grade was made to all models in September 1981.

Finally, after a wonderful career which had spanned 20 years, in which more than 4.3 million cars had been produced, the very last British-built Cortina was completed at the Dagenham plant in Essex on July 22, 1982. It was immediately replaced by the Sierra, which soon built up its own best-selling reputation.
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Old 09-17-2002, 05:09   #3 (permalink)
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go the corty's!!!!!!!!!!!!!

u gotta love em

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Old 09-18-2002, 20:37   #4 (permalink)
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cool i didnt know that. happy birthday corty.
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Old 09-19-2002, 03:14   #5 (permalink)
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Cool, what about the South African models that had Clevelands in em, any know more bout this,
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:21   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Happy Birthday Cortina

Hey,

Love a good Cortina story. Would love a Savage or Crayford - as in an original version. But theyre rarer than rockinghorse's in Australia. A 1600E would be good tooo - all that loverly wood and leather....

Pity, especially the Savage. Although we did get the 4.1L six Cortina for the MkIII, MkIV, and MkV.

BTW The Savage was a Cortina fitted with a 3L V6.

L8a,
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Old 07-25-2003, 04:05   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Happy Birthday Cortina

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitroman
Cool, what about the South African models that had Clevelands in em, any know more bout this,
There was a South African Cortina XR6 that had a 3.0 V6 from the Capri in it. Believe it or not, third was the first XR6 made by Ford anywhere.
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Old 07-28-2003, 18:19   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Happy Birthday Cortina

The SA Cortina XR6 3.0l was the biggest engine cortina made in South Africa, I had one in about '81, I think, memory is fading. In about 1982 [ think and speak under correction] Ford SA made about 250 Sierra XR8's, with 302's in them. Cortina bakkies, [utes] were and still are extremely popular here, still see lots of them on the road, biggest engine size was a 3.0l, alot of folks have put 302's in them, and quite a few have been converted to 4x4's. The Cortina sedan tho' did not fair that well, you still see them on the road but most are in terrible condition. The SA Ranchero, which is in fact a Falcon XY ute took over from the Cortina ute, we've got two, , ranchero's here were all based on Oz Falcon's but for some unknown reason were badged as Ranchero's. They came out with inline 6's 221cid, and 302 windsors, not sure if they came out std with 302 clevelands or 351's. Up until 1968 we got our Fords via Canada, from 1969 onwards they came via Oz, something to do with it being cheaper to get them from Oz.
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Old 07-29-2003, 05:02   #9 (permalink)
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Good to hear from someone from South Africa, land of the Fairmont GT.
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Old 07-29-2003, 15:48   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Happy Birthday Cortina

The Fairmont GT's are quite popular collectors cars here now, see quite a few of them at the local car shows. Will see if I can dig up a couple of pictures if you are interested, there are also quite a few of them in Namibia [prev. South West Africa] a friend of mine there has one that he bought new in 1972. I am sitting with a GT bonnet in the garage that I am going to be fitting to the Falcon XY ute as the one on the ute is beyond hope of repairing.
Funny thing about the Fairmont GT is that altho it was assembled here, everything for it came from Oz, and if you talk about one its never quite a SA car, they always refer to it at the Aus, one.
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