BUYER’S GUIDE: Mk1 Cortina
Iconic, sharp styling, excellent parts availability and always loads to choose from — what’s not to like?
Expert tips and info to help you find the best ’60s saloon you can get your mitts on.
“FORD ENGINEERED THE MK1 CORTINA TO FOLLOW A TRIED-AND-TESTED FORMULA”
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.