Ford Cortina Reviews and Road Tests

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Ford Cortina

When it came time to replace the aging Ford Consul Classic of 1961, the ever-popular Cortina was born. An instant hit, it would morph through five generations, however for the Australian market and from the Mark 3 onward each was given a two letter designation, from TC through TF. The first two generations were based almost entirely on the UK counterparts, but in keeping pace with Holden’s Torana from the TC onward Ford began fitting the 200 and 250ci 6 cylinder engines previously reserved for the Falcon.

As engine changes were introduced across the Falcon range, the Cortina naturally benefited also, the TD, TE and TF models being fitted with the cross-flow head versions of both the 3.3 and 4.1 litre engines. The engineers were forced to make several modifications to the Cortina’s body to accommodate the larger engines, and to keep manufacturing costs down this same body was used across the entire range, so the 4 cylinder versions were also to benefit. Modifications included reinforced side rails and centre pillar, a tubular cross member support under the transmission, remodelled firewall panels (to accommodate the longer engines), and the use of a wider bell housing manufactured from thicker metal.

There may have been plenty of power on tap, but the chassis dynamics were never that well sorted, the additional front mass producing truck-loads of under steer. handling issues aside, that over 1 million Cortina’s were sold in various markets around the world stands as testament to the popularity of the car, and as evidence of its continued evolution to meet growing consumer demands. Replaced by the Sierra in European markets from 1980, it was unfortunate that Australia did not receive such a worthy successor, Ford Australia instead re-branding the Mazda 323 as a Meteor.
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Ford Consul Cortina Mk.I  

Ford Consul Cortina Mk.I

1962 - 1966
In the late 1950’s it was apparent that the aging Anglia 105E would no longer be able to maintain it’s market share, and an all new car would be needed to help Ford compete against the likes of the Vauxhall Victor and Hillman Minx. More>>
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Ford Consul Cortina Estate  

Ford Consul Cortina Estate

1962 - 1966
The Estate Wagon version of the Consul-Cortina was very popular at release - and for good reason - it was an exceptionally good and well packaged car. It was economical too, with an overall fuel consumption figure of around 20 mpg, rising to around 25 on the open highway, and around 18 mpg in city traffic. More>>
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Ford Consul Cortina GT  

Ford Consul Cortina GT

1963 - 1966
The Consul-Cortina GT quickly garnered a stellar reputation. There were factory teams and privately owned cars that were all doing well in saloon races in the UK – and this inevitably led to success on the European rally circuit. Ford felt the car was so good that they decided to export it to the USA. More>>
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Ford Lotus Cortina GT  

Ford Lotus Cortina GT

1963 - 1970
When Colin Chapman and Ford collaborated to develop a race and rally winner - the end result was the Lotus Cortina. From Ford came the basic two door Cortina shell and front suspension, where Lotus installed its own 105 bhp twin-cam engine, close ratio 4-speed gearbox and rear suspension. More>>
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Ford Cortina GT500  

Ford Cortina GT500

1965
A car seldom remembered these days, except perhaps for the Cortina aficionados, is the wonderful Cortina GT500. The brainchild of Harry Firth, the GT500 was manufactured by Ford Australia to satisfy homologation rules to allow it to race in  the Armstrong 500. More>>
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Ford Cortina Mk. II  

Ford Cortina Mk. II

1966 - 1972
The second incarnation of the Cortina was designed by Roy Haynes, and launched on the 18th October 1966, four years after the original. Although the launch was accompanied by the slogan "New Cortina is more Cortina", the car, at 168 inches (430 cm) in length, was fractionally shorter than before. More>>
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Ford Cortina Mk. II GT  

Ford Cortina Mk. II GT

1966 - 1972
In autumn 1966 the Mk.II Cortina GT was released. The body was, of course, completely restyled, along with the entire Cortina lineup, but initially the car was still using most of the Mk.I GT drivetrain. More>>
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Ford Lotus Cortina Mark 2  

Ford Lotus Cortina Mk. II

1966 - 1970
With the Mark 2 Cortina, Ford would continue their association with Lotus. The new model Cortina retained much of its dynamic performance too, yet it was a much more refined car than its predecessor. More>>
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Savage Cortina V6  

Ford Cortina 1600E

1967 - 1970
One of the best loved versions of the Cortina appeared in 1967, the 1600E. The 1600E offered a blend of sporting style and luxury with its comprehensive specification. Standard equipment included sports suspension, Rostyle 5.5" J rim wheels, spot lamps, vinyl roof and metallic paint. More>>
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Savage Cortina V6  

Savage Cortina Mk. II V6

1967 - 1970
The "Big Engine - Light Chassis" formula had been tried before, and Uren knew that significant chassis modification would be required if the V6 iteration was to be anything more than simply a quick straight-line performer. More>>
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Ford Cortina TC  

Ford Cortina TC

1970 - 1974
There are perhaps 2 main reasons for the downturn in the popularity of the Cortina, for starters the Japanese were making big inroads at the time, and unfortunately the Cortina was quickly gaining a bad reputation for poor quality and reliability. More>>
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Ford Cortina TD  

Ford Cortina TD

1974 - 1977
Most commentators of the day knew that the objective of the TD release was to remedy the misdemeanours of the previous model, but many lamented the continued lack of quality and poor road manners. Brake fade, steering with a mind of its own on unmade surfaces and, in the case of the 4 cylinder, completely underwhelming performance became the hallmarks of the TD. More>>
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Ford Cortina TE

Ford Cortina TE

1977 - 1979
When the TE body style first appeared it almost created a sensation; it was the first of the European-look medium cars. It looked impressive and solid, and gave an air of rugged dependability. Buyers were familiar with the engines and their reliability had never been in doubt. More>>
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Ford Cortina TF

Ford Cortina TF

1980 - 1983
The rest of the world knew it as the Cortina Mark V, but here in Australia we knew it as the TF. Released in 1980, there were 4 variants, from the L, GL and Ghia variants and with an optional S-Pack also available (There was over $1000 of options on the S Pack list, but Ford only asked for an extra $583). More>>
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