BUY­ING: Cortina Mk4

Though in­creas­ingly rare, the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Cortina makes a great clas­sic Ford, with sharp styling and de­pend­able run­ning gear.

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words Chris­tianTil­bury Pho­tos Ger­ard Hughes

Ex­pert buyer’s guide on the rarest of all the Cortina range.


A fter the Coke bot­tle body style had been drunk dry by the world’s car man­u­fac­tur­ers, and with the need to de­velop a re­place­ment for its Mk3 Cortina, Ford’s UK di­vi­sion lit­er­ally sharp­ened up its act with the re­veal of the fourth-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion in Septem­ber 1976.

In place of the Mk3’s now dated curves, the Mk4 Cortina ush­ered in a chis­elled, more squared-off de­sign that in terms of style brought Ford’s best-seller bang up to date. For the ea­gle-eyed though, the Cortina’s new clothes didn’t come as a great sur­prise as the new Ger­man Taunus had un­veiled the same body­work months ear­lier.

The crisper lines gave way to a greater glass area — up 15 per cent — which had the handy ef­fect of mak­ing the in­te­rior a brighter and seem­ingly big­ger place to be than that of the Mk3. The cabin was also en­hanced with new trim ma­te­ri­als and a fresh steer­ing wheel de­sign, but the dash­board was the same as its pre­de­ces­sor.

Like­wise, most of the run­ning gear was also car­ried over from the Mk3. From launch, Cortina buy­ers chose from the 1.6-litre and 2-litre Pinto en­gines, the former now also avail­able as a de­tuned, 59 bhp econ­omy ver­sion, and the 1.3-litre Kent mo­tor. De­pend­ing on what en­gine and body style they plumped for — two-door, four-door or es­tate — cus­tomers also got to pick from base, L, GL, S and Ghia lev­els of trim. The S and Ghia were both new to the Cortina range and they be­came even more ap­peal­ing with the avail­abil­ity of the 114 bhp, 2.3-litre Cologne V6 in 1977.

Even with the V6 the Mk4 had more show­room ap­peal than driver ap­peal, but it didn’t mat­ter, the lat­est model re­in­stat­ing the Cortina as the UK’s best-sell­ing car — a legacy it would pass over to the Cortina 80 (aka Mk5) that su­per­seded it in 1979.

Well over 600,000 Mk4s were pro­duced, but iron­i­cally it’s the rarest gen­er­a­tion of Cortina. Go­ing through the banger phase, both on and off the track, saw the ma­jor­ity of Mk4s sent for scrap, but those that have sur­vived are in­creas­ingly sought af­ter. Granted, it might not be the coolest Cortina, but if it’s rar­ity and us­abil­ity that you want then the Mk4’s un­doubt­edly the one to have.

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