BUYER’S GUIDE: Mk1 Cortina

Iconic, sharp styling, ex­cel­lent parts avail­abil­ity and al­ways loads to choose from — what’s not to like?

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words Chris­tian-Til­bury Pho­tos Jon Hill

Ex­pert tips and info to help you find the best ’60s sa­loon you can get your mitts on.


De­vel­oped un­der the co­de­name of Arch­bishop, Ford’s new Cortina was ev­ery bit as straight laced as its pre­pro­duc­tion moniker sug­gested when the cov­ers were lifted on its Septem­ber 20, 1962 launch.

While Ford of Bri­tain’s Ger­man coun­ter­parts were cham­pi­oning front-wheel-drive Taunus P4, the home-side took a more cau­tious ap­proach and en­gi­neered the Cortina so that it fol­lowed a tried-and-tested for­mula with drive go­ing to the rear wheels and a tra­di­tional three-box de­sign.

How­ever, while the Cortina’s for­mula was far from ad­ven­tur­ous, there was no deny­ing that it was in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive. Against its com­pe­ti­tion, the Cortina showed the way with class-lead­ing value and space, cost­ing the same as many 1-litre cars and of­fer­ing more room than many larger-en­gined models.

As an added bonus, the Cortina wasn’t a bad looker ei­ther, its sharp lines com­ple­mented with neat touches like the dis­tinc­tive rear lights. Un­der­neath it wasn’t quite as fresh — the en­gine be­ing an en­larged 1198cc ver­sion of the Anglia’s 105E three-bear­ing mo­tor — but the Cortina’s drive was more than ad­e­quate and, more im­por­tantly to the man on the street, was hugely re­li­able.

Con­tribut­ing to the Cortina’s lowly price was a fairly spar­tan in­te­rior, but there was the Deluxe ver­sion for any­one who wanted a lit­tle more com­fort than that af­forded by the en­try-level Stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

Car buy­ers also got to choose from two and four-door body styles and, come Jan­uary 1963, could opt for the 1498cc five-bear­ing en­gine and the more lav­ish Su­per model. The pop­u­lar­ity of the Cortina was ce­mented with the sub­se­quent in­tro­duc­tion of fur­ther re­fine­ments, in­clud­ing au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and Aeroflow ven­ti­la­tion and front disc brakes.

In Novem­ber 1966, the Mk1 made way for the Mk2, but not be­fore over 1 mil­lion ex­am­ples had been built. Fast for­ward to to­day and the orig­i­nal Cortina’s pop­u­lar­ity with Ford fans has never been stronger, even if it’s not as af­ford­able as it once was.

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