Ford's Cortina was the car which should have made it big in Australia. It was introduced at a time when the trend from large to medium-sized cars was just beginning to gain momentum and, by the time of the release of the TE, had demonstrated its ability to last through the transition.
It was in the box seat to inherit the bulk of the enormous number of sales thus created in its range, but it was never the seller it should have been. It had the right size inside and out (if lacking a little in rear seat leg room) and the right size engines. And it came equipped with a range of engines to suit everyone’s taste, from the venerable 2.0-litre four-cylinder to the powerful and smooth 3.3 and 4.1 litre six cylinder units, the latter giving surprisingly good fuel economy for its size.
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.
What let the TE Cortina down was a lack of quality control at the manufacturing level, and the cars left the factory with faults that were not fixed at the pre-delivery stage, and often never at all. Sheer frustration drove many owners on to other pastures. The strange thing was that the larger Falcon never suffered the same problems.
However, for those who were prepared to take the risk and stick with the car until it was finally bolted together soundly, the Ford Cortina TE was a good buy. More effort appeared to be put into this top-of-the-line Ghia, which bore the name of the famous Italian coach-building firm, and was also fitted out with all of the extras that a few hundred dollars can buy.
The Cortina measured in at a length of 426 cm and weighed 1138 kg in four-cylinder form. All versions would top 160 km/h speed and the sixes provided impressive acceleration, although many lamented their handling
quality, or lack thereof. If you’re a Cortina fan, its best to just leave it at that, but if your game, check out Holden’s HZ Radial Tuned Suspension
commercial in the Media section. The six cylinder TE Cortina was, simply put, scary.