Ford Cortina TE

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Ford Cortina TE

Ford TE Cortina

1977 - 1979
4 & 6 cyl.
to 4100cc
92 kW @ 3700 rpm
4 spd. man, 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
160+ km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Ford TE Cortina
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1


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.
TE Cortina

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Ford Sierra
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
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Posted Recently
My first car was a TE station wagon. Bought from the original owner with a three speed manual and 3.3L my mechanic dad quickly pointed out to me how much faster a four speed manual and 4.1L would be. While heavy on the fuel, it kept up with anything on the market 30 years later. The best part? The rear seats that folded down flat and gave you a huge amount a storage. The worst part? How under engineered the front end was for the Australian six cylinder...wet weather and low tread meant aqua planing if you were too aggressive. Always have a sweet spot for these old units. Couldn't have learned to drive in a better car.
Posted Recently
Couldn't agree more about the quality glitches. I had a 1978 TE GL with 3.3 six and auto. On dirt roads there was no protection from dust-it totally invaded the cabin and covered the seats,dash,etc, at higher speeds the engine and fan noise was excessive and the handling shocking.These last two problems were easy to cure by simply keeping the car beneath 100km/h and driving to the conditions.
After a few years I became sick of this car and traded her on an XE Falcon and had no trouble whatsoever. The updated six in the XE started easier and performed quicker and smoother.The handling was perhaps among the best available at that time.
But i must add-the Cortina was still the better looking car.
Posted Recently
have one now its been sitting in backyard from previous owner pulling it apart manual doeasnt say alot my guess is if you buy one buy it running or know what youre doing.
Posted Recently
Wheres your review of the TF-the model after this one? It was the very last before Ford switched to Mazda for this segment. The TF in my view was in all likelihood better built,but not as nice to look at as the TE. That may explain ,among other things,why so fewer were sold. I was so excited when the TE was finally replaced after so long,but sales of the new model never really took off....buyers just lost interest. If there was a modern Cortina on the market now,it would probably be Fords best selling model,given the sliding popularity of Falcons these days.
Posted Recently
had one of these and with abit of money to spend that 4cld engine can do amazing things hi christine
Posted Recently
I have had cortina's all my life and i would have to say they are one of the best cars ever built in this country. p.s i build cars for a living luv them
Posted Recently
Still look great. I have two TE Ghia's. One 4 and one 6. Love them.
Posted Recently
i now am proud owner of 3 tinas all 6cyl steel head and compared to other cheap 2nd hndcars they are the bees nees hands down
John Gibson
Posted Recently
My Grandad bought one new-a GL 3-3 sedan with 3 on floor. Beautiful looking car-still one of Fords best,comfy seats and power to boot. In late 1981 I was hanging for the all-new model that would have replaced the TF-but it never came. Instead we got a sea of rebadged Mazdas. Looking back now,it was probably for the best.
Posted Recently
I modified a stock TE Wagon 4.1 with a HP engine with a set of headers etc and very modded suspension. I worked just down the road from Lovells at the time and changed many shock and spring combos to get it almost not scary.
To say the car was fast is an understatement.
My brother did his CAMS licence in it at Oran Park against numerous venerable Group 3 308 commodores. Only a modified one was faster than my TE.
I often had to have the rear chassis welded up because of pulling out the leading arm. Scary Scary.
I wish i still had it.
Posted Recently
My father had the 1.6 Cortina in GL trim not the TE as you have but the UK version. The last Cortinas in Ireland and the Uk were the Crusader,Calipso and the Carosel. The Sierra replaced the Cortina and now the Mondeo is the Sierras successor.
Posted Recently
I have just bought my 3rd corty after mourning my last one for so long. Yes the TE has its flaws but I'm in love all the same. With a bit of work I'm sure this one will be around for another 31 years.
Posted Recently
i actually have a TE ghia now it was my grandparents and they bought brand new its the 77 model, so its 31 years old as of now. i'm 20 so its a pretty good first car yeah the handling is pretty dodge and it is a gas guzzler but i personally like it. its nice to have a car that u dont see many of and its got a bit of a personality.
Posted Recently
Had a 4.1 Ghia. Went well with headers and Lovells springs. Better springs improved handling, etc. Awesome for towing, however, very heavy on fuel.
Matthew T
Posted Recently
My parents owned a TE Cortina sedan in GL guise fitted with a 4.1 auto. It was quick off the mark but soon ran out of puff. The handling, paticularly with power steering, was pretty horrible - super light and very wallowy. It was a nice looking car with alloys fitted, but not a good drive.
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