Ford TF Cortina
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
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).
The TF had minor exterior differences to the Cortina
models sold elsewhere, the rubber RIM moulded bumpers being the most noticeable. Another example was that the TF's front numberplate was mounted below the front bumper, further distinguishing it from its European Mark V counterparts. Like the TE
, the whole TF range had a higher centre pressing in the bonnet to accommodate the six-cylinder engine's air cleaner.
Unfortunately, however, many critics believed the fit and finish, always a bone of contention with the previous TE Cortina
, had not been improved with the TF. Options included a stereo cassette player at $228, a tinted and laminated windscreen ($128) and tinted side glass ($71).
The Cortina S Pack
The TF Cortina S Pack would start life as a humble GL model with the familiar 2 litre four. The most obvious feature of the S Pack were the 14 inch chrome mags, which were very distinctive and a little like those on the Saab. Some described them as noughts and crosses wheels, but to our mind they were not all that good looking. Apparently the design originally appeared on a Bertone show car back in the mid-seventies – and on which they probably looked much better.
The distinctive wheels were fitted with low profile Uniroyal 185/70 H14 steels, and the suspension
was stiffened to suit – but few road testers could tell the difference, so we’ll have to assume Ford’s press release was accurate. Almost as distinctive as the wheels were the side stripes of the S-Pack. In all, three stripes ran along the lower edges of the car below the thick bump mouldings. Incorporated in the stripes were large 'S' motifs on each side. Paint black-outs were used selectively too, giving the S-Pack a very individual colour treatment.
Also included in the 'pack' were Carello driving lights, a passenger side exterior mirror, an intermittent setting for the wipers and wool faced seats. Added to the other options, the S-Pack made for a comfortable package, though for the more conservative it was probably a bit too gaudy. The handling of the Cortina was never rated very high, and the S Pack did little to improve things, save for the tyres
which were much better than the standard treads. The two litre engine fitted to the Cortina was willing and strong, offering plenty of performance in even big cars (for the size of the engine) like the Cortina. The gearbox too was excellent; it could have been improved by the addition of another cog and the placement of reverse to the right and toward the driver, rather than to the left and away.
On the Road
On the highway the 2 litre Cortina
would sit happily all day at 120 -130 km/h, though wind noise was a problem once you went much above the speed limit. The engine was not particularly frugal either, averaging 12 litres/100 km when pushed, this dropping to a more reasonable 9.8 litres/100 km (28.8 mpg) when you drove sparingly. In the late 1970s, the Cortina wagons were built in Renault's
local Heidelberg factory in Melbourne, (now closed), as Ford Australia's own factories did not have the capacity. For the last year of Australian Cortina
, a Ghia wagon was produced, although this was also listed in the September 1980
Despite the TF Cortina introducing worthwhile improvements in ride, handling, noise reduction and fuel consumption, the Cortina
generally was seen by the motoring press as outdated, and buyers generally preferred the rival products - in marked contrast to New Zealand where the Cortina was a highly regarded success. Ford Australia, however, found enough customers to last to the end of the model's life. In 1982
it was replaced initially by the smaller Ford Meteor (a rebadged Mazda 323
sedan) and then the Ford Telstar saloon / hatchback range in 1983