Ford Cortina Mark IV
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
Everyone Knew It Was Really A Taunus
The transition from the Mark III to the new Mark IV Cortina in 1976 was a good indication of just how alert Ford was to changing fads and fashions in the motor industry. Indeed to a great extent the company led fashion rather than followed it with the Mark IV; the previous Cortina, with its more rounded lines and 'coke bottle' effect over the rear wheels, was still a firm favourite when it was phased out, and it said a great deal for the new car that it eclipsed its predecessor so comprehensively to become immensely popular in a very short time.
In retrospect, the changes between models were a very clear improvement; the glass area was increased by some fifteen per cent overall, adding to all-round visibility, and a lower bonnet line made the new Cortina seem smaller to drive. The German-designed bodyshell appeared, at least in the late 1970s, to have that almost ageless look. Of course everyone knew it was really a re-badged Ford Taunus. However, although the updated Taunus was introduced to Continental Europe in January 1976, Ford were able to continue selling the Cortina Mark III in undiminished numbers in the UK until they were ready to launch its successor as the Dagenham built Cortina Mark IV at the end of September 1976.
Many parts were carried over, most notably the running gear. The raised driving position and the new instrument panel had, along with some of the suspension
upgrades, already been introduced to the Cortina Mark III in 1975, so that from the driving position the new car looked much more familiar to owners of recent existing Cortinas than from the outside. Underneath, the changes were certainly there, even if less overt, and perhaps the most important was the change to the suspension
The layout remained the same-double wishbones at the front and a live rear axle with four trailing arms - but the settings felt much tauter, thanks in part to variable rate springs at the rear. As a result the car felt much more manageable, and the Mark IV Cortina was in fact fun to drive with a traditional front engine, live-rear axle feel to the safe handling.
The engine in the 1.6 GL remained the well known and very willing 1593 cc overhead-cam four which produced 73 bhp at 5000 rpm and, although this was not a particularly high output, or the performance on paper all that impressive (0-60 mph in 14.3 seconds), the excellent and smooth Ford four-speed gearbox enabled the driver to get the most from the car very easily. It was not difficult to see why the car became a great fleet favourite in the UK. Overall it was an impressive car in its class, and almost the epitome of what Ford motoring meant in the 1970's.
Ford Cortina Mark IV Quick Specs
Front mounted, in-line, four-cylinder. 87.6 mm (3.45 in) bore x 66mm (2.60in) stroke - 1593cc (97.2cu in); maximum power (DIN) 73bhp at 5000rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 871b ft at 2700rpm; cast-iron cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 9.2:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated via rockers by one overhead camshaft. Single Motorcraft downdraught carburettor.
Single dry plate clutch and four-speed manual gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.580, 2nd 2.010, 3rd 1.400, 4th 1.00. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 3.890:1.
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 3.70.
Discs front and drums rear.
4.5 in x 13 in. Tyres 165SR x 13 in.
4 door, 4 seat. Integral with front sub-frame.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 101.50in; track-front 56.90in, rear -56 in; length 170.35 in; width 66.90in; height 52 in; ground clearance 5.12 in; weight 22051b; turning circle 32 tt: fuel tank capacity 12 gal.
Maximum speed 94 mph; acceleration 0-60 mph 14.3 secs; fuel consumption approximately 32mpg.