Ford Cortina TD

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Ford Cortina TD


Ford Cortina TD

1974 - 1977
4 & 6 cyl.
2000 - 4100cc
112 bhp (4 cyl.)
3/4 spd. man, 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
168-172 km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Ford Cortina TD
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1


December 1974 saw the release of the TD Cortina, the facelift that would be known in the UK as the Mk.3 Series 2. With it came a new grille, instrument panel, exhaust, transmission linkage, better seating, ventilation, and articulated wiper arms. The Falcons steering column was fitted, while the bench seat available in earlier models was deleted from the options list.

Following criticism of the TC Cortina, Ford was to market the TD with the following statement "...extensive quality improvements, increased durability and upgraded ride, handling and comfort characteristics have been the major objectives in the development of the new TD Cortina".

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.

Only the XLE model was to gain new rectangular headlamps. New "Full" wheel covers were introduced of the XL and XLE models – but under the skin there were significant engineering improvements to the suspension, while inside there was a totally new dashboard.

So lets take a closer look at the changes brought about on the TD. While the suspension remained almost totally unchanged (coils and wishbones up front with coils and four links at the rear), larger bushes between the front sub-frame and the now bigger side member helped isolate the suspension and reduce NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

Ford also introduced new disc brake pad compounds with the TD (code named BMX), which helped eliminate brake pull, squeal and dive - all points of criticism on the previous model. The exhaust system was re-designed to help reduce rattles, while special attention was given to the sealing of the doors and windows to help prevent the Aussie dust from entering the cabin.

On the inside, the new dash was much better than the outgoing TC's, with the instrument cluster being mounted higher for easier reading and important switch controls (such as wiper and headlight flash) being mounted on column stalks. The old fresh-air slits above the instruments were dropped in favor of eye-ball vents (which looked almost identical to those used on the 1966 Cortina). Ford boasted that the new system gave a 77 percent greater air flow. There were also foot-level vents with individual controls.

The new dash was also to help reduce scuttle shake, as it acted as a positive locating crossmember giving lateral stiffening across the car. These changes were not enough to change the TD's reputation, and nothing much improved until the release of the TE Cortina in July 1977, which was followed by the TF in October 1980. Eventually the Cortina would be pensioned off, and the Mazda 626 re-badged as a Ford Telstar would provide much better sales results for the blue oval.

Japanese cars were dominating the four-cylinder market, where once most fours sold were imported or locally assembled versions of UK or European Fords. The Cortina TD cannot, however, assume total responsibility for the general public deserting the European cars in such droves (see Morris Marina).

Editors Note: In 2004 I was lucky enough to take a drive in a one owner 6 cylinder TD XLE Cortina in very good condition. For a 30 year old car it had certainly held up well, offering a spirited performance, disciplined ride and reasonable road-holding ability. Unfortunately, Fords decision to leave air-conditioning off the options list made for only a quick ride in the 32C+ heat. It was disappointing to see that, despite the great condition and its use as an every-day commuter, the owner sold it for $600 and purchased a second hand Toyota Camry (albiet with air-con) instead.

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