Gallery : Ford Cortina Mk1

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…



Keith Adams


  1. The Cortina was a perfect example of a reaction to a flop. The Ford Classic was a complete flop, although it was extremely well engineered. Ford went different with the Cortina, trying to make sure that they could make as much money from an impecially costed car. It was well marketed as well which meant it sold in bucket loads. And because it was designed so well, it formed the basis for a range of Cortinas that went on into the 80’s. It may have never been revolutionary in design but it kept Ford alive finacially when the US business was struggling.

  2. Who would have known back then that the Cortina in all its forms would become so famous and such a mammoth seller? My Dad was a Vauxhall owner in those days, but a friends father had a MK1 Cortina Estate in the mid 60s. Great times!

  3. The Classic seemed overstyled in a way that had dated fast.

    Ford seemed to sort things out with the Cortina very quickly.

    A slight shame the Saxon coupe didn’t make it into production.

  4. The original “Tina” would love a late version with the round clocks! or would settle for a Lotus version… The 60s was the rise of the unstoppable market domination which would last until the late 1980s/early 1990s? Crushing anything in its path !

    Rootes were the 1st to buckle under although they had been in trouble before the new star came along, It’s best selling model the Minx was shoved aside by the Anglia and its then newly launched Hillman Super Minx just couldn’t compete in terms of performance, fuel consumption and most importantly price, for the cost of a basic Cortina you could of bought a Singer Chamois (posh Hillman Imp) but despite a bit of wood and carpets the Tina was a proper car with a big boot so more metal for your money and anyone could fix em! It took some beating, which BMC/Leyland found out to their cost.

  5. Trouble is,cortina lotus apart,they were never great cars,they just sold in large numbers.A success yes but not great.

  6. Too True Francis, Never brilliant but competent at the time of what they were designed for, The Mk1’s were positively Anorexic being amazingly light for their size (lighter than the smaller BMC 1100) so even the 1.2’s were adequate, though not without their early teething problems as early examples had AWOL Nylon bush in the Gearbox, uncertain Handling (re circulating Ball steering, skinny tyres) but for the money in 1962 what would you have bought? The BMC 1100 was considerably more money back then..

  7. Hi,

    in my view, this car represents the beginning of the end of BMC.

    What were the BMC response to this

    1 – keep the overweight 1957 Farina going

    2 – the ADO16, 1100 until 1968 (and no synchromesh until then either)?

    3 – the Landcrab?

    4 – the Maxi, 1968, with that interior and gear change?

    5 – and did the dealer network structure help?

    But the dividends were good………..

    Harriman lost to Beckett by a innings

    Amd the Marina was targetted on the Mk2 Cortina, not the Mk3, by Roy Haynes……

    • You do wonder if Roy Haynes stayed on a retainer from Ford. He must have known the Cortina was about to grow in size with the Mk3 and swallow up the Corsair, but he designed the Marina to compete with the Mk2, a car that was already effectively obsolete by the time he arrived at BMC/BL.

  8. @3 – your right about the saxon richard, a beauty. Saw one of the two prototypes that were built last year at Motorbilla at Battlesbridge and it certainly would have been the orignal Capri

  9. Mk I and early Mk II’s (1967 IIRC) were sold in the USA in 2 door, 4 door and Estate models. I believe many had the 1600 cc ‘Kent’ engine. There pricing was too close to the (relatively) small domestic Ford Falcon and by the end of the 1967 model year with new safety and pollution controls being put in, dealers reluctant to offer or do service on them and weak sales, Ford USA ended importation. Some ended up being used in racing, many were gutted for their engines for other racing cars. They were also available in a sport/performance Lotus model (dual carbs?) tying to Lotus’ big standing in car racing (incluidng F-1, Indy 500, etc.).

  10. My favourite Tina, and as a child of the 1970s (born in 69), whilst I recognised that the styling was ‘out of date’, it nonetheless failed to lose any charm (and not many Fords had that in abundance).

    I thought even in early childhood that the Mk2 was a very bland, style-less box by comparison- most of the turn-of-the 70’s square box cars looked far more dated, far more quickly.

    I’d dearly love a Lotus Mk1 if I had the dosh.

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