The Ford Cortina was the brainchild of Ford UK’s product planner Terry Beckett, and its success was to lead to chairmanship of Ford UK, a knighthood and chairmanship of the CBI. Beckett would say this of the Cortina: ‘The Cortina came in under cost and, most significantly, we did it in record time. I believe we took just 21 months from full-size clay style to Job 1, which was then an all time record for the industry…
‘We decided we needed a bigger body shell and we also needed more wheel movement. We decided that we would provide a proper boot – in a way we overdid that, but it was perfect for a rep who wanted to take samples, and it was perfect for the family motorist.’
The Cortina was aimed at the expanding fleet market, it was designed to be reliable and cheap to run and was sold at a low price, but still enough to make a profit. Ford had astutely researched the car market and produced a product fleet buyers wanted. Fleet buyers were not interested in advanced cars if they were going to be unreliable and spend most of their time in garages being repaired.
For the rest of the 1960s the Cortina battled it out with the BMC 1100/1300 for sales supremacy. In 1966 the re-styled MkII appeared and, in 1970, the larger MkIII. The MkIII correctly anticipated the demand for larger cars and was itself superseded by the MkIV in 1976. A revised version known as the Cortina ’80 or MkV appeared in 1980 before assembly ended in July 1982 after 4,279,079 Cortinas of all types had been made.
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The one to beat… IN the brave new world of 1960s Britain, there was an admirable back-to-the-wall can-do mentality, it must have seemed that anything was possible. Ford certainly thought so, given that the Cortina project only really came together in 1960, following a three month consultation resulting in the definitive full-sized clay, before going […]
Fab and groovy man! 1967 will forever be remembered for the summer of love, for hippies and love-ins, the Torrey Canyon Disaster, Jimi Hendrix, Sergeant Pepper, pirate radio, Radio 1 and the Six Day War. In Britain both homosexuality and abortion were de-criminalised – although, in the case of homosexuality, decades of criminalisation meant it […]
Ian Nicholls One of the influential factors in the BMC>MGR story was the success of its main rival, the American-owned UK division of Ford. Back in 1959 Ford UK was managed by Sir Patrick Hennessey, an Irishman who had been a prisoner of the Germans during the First World War. Ford then only had one […]
The cars that form the backbone of AROnline are some of the fastest disappearing motors on British roads. New research into the top British family cars by Honest John Classics reveals that many of UK’s once-popular family cars are on the most endangered.
Rep race Back in 1980, if you wanted the ultimate business tool on wheels, you (or your company’s fleet manager) bought a Ford Cortina. Vauxhall and Talbot didn’t necessarily agree, offering the Cavalier and Solara as very capable rivals. But which was best then and now, the Ford Cortina 1.6L, Vauxhall Cavalier 1600GL or Talbot […]
The Ford Cortina celebrated its launch 50 years ago on prime-time TV with a feature on the BBC’s One Show. Presented by comedian and actor Alexei Sayle (above), the feature recalled an hour-long documentary hosted by him on the BBC arts show Arena in 1982 called The Private Life of the Ford Cortina. The Ford […]
This weekend the world’s most popular historic race meeting, the Goodwood Revival, will celebrate 50 years of the Ford Cortina with a display of some rare Mark I models outside the RAC Earls Court exhibition. The Cortina was Britain’s best-selling car for 10 of the 20 years it was on sale and laid the foundation […]
In 1970, the Ford Cortina grew up – taking in the 2-litre class, and replacing the Corsair as well as the Cortina Mk2 in the same process. This growth was a gamble for its maker, but a prescient one, as it was this generation of Ford’s favourite repmobile that became the UK’s best-selling car.
The Ford Cortina Mk1 was launched in 1962, and proved an immediate hit for its maker. The engineering, lightness and overall rightness for its purpose have resulted in this car being an all time classic…