Ford Cortina Mk1

Ford Cortina Mk1, 1966
This looks to be very late registered Cortina Mk1. Mk2 production had started by 1967. Image by Duncan Harris licensed and distributed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped).

The Ford Cortina was advertised as the small car with a big difference. It was introduced by Ford in 1962 in response to BMC's new Mini, which was now beating Ford's small car, the Anglia, on price. The Cortina was a medium-sized family saloon offered at an incredible price. It was a conventional car in terms of design, yet it was small, light and easy to drive.

The new Cortina was an instant hit with the public. Ford sold 60,000 Cortinas in the first three months. In contrast, the public were slow to take to the Mini when it was launched.

In January 1963 a new model was launched, the Super. The main difference being a 1500cc engine instead of the basic and the De Luxe model's 1200. It also had extra chrome trim, a heater and screen washers as standard, as well as more comfortable seating.

Later that year, it was joined by an estate model and the sporty GT which had a high compression ratio version of the 1498cc engine fitted to the Super. The GT was an extremely fast sports saloon for its time. It had a top speed of 95mph and was able to reach 60mph from standing in only 13 seconds.

The biggest change to the range came in October 1964 when the "Aeroflow" ventilation system was introduced. All cars now had eyeball style vents in the facia and extractors in the rear quarter panels. There were restyled instruments, a new three-spoke steering wheel and nylon seats. Externally the new cars had a new grille with a finer mesh. Overall, the package made the Cortina look more stylish and upmarket. However, a completely new model was only two years' away.

Cortina Mk 1 - fact file

Basic and De LuxeSuperGT
Engine4 cyl ohv4 cyl ohv4 cyl ohv
Capacity1198 cc1498cc1498cc
Max BHP48 @ 4800 rpm59.5 @ 4600 rpm78 @ 5200 rpm
Overall length14 ft 2 in14 ft 2 in14 ft 2 in
Overall width5 ft 3 in5 ft 3 in5 ft 3 in
Maximum speed77 mph81 mph95 mph
Acceleration 0-60 mph22.5 s19.0 s13.0 s
Price£639 basic, £666 De Luxe (1962)£670 (1963 2 door) £748 (1963 2 door)

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By Steven Braggs, February 2022

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★