BUYING: Cortina Mk4
Though increasingly rare, the fourth-generation Cortina makes a great classic Ford, with sharp styling and dependable running gear.
Expert buyer’s guide on the rarest of all the Cortina range.
“FORD SHARPENED UP ITS ACT WITH THE REVEAL OF THE MK4 IN SEPTEMBER 1976”
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reinstating the Cortina as the UK’s best-selling car — a legacy it would pass over to the Cortina 80 (aka Mk5) that superseded it in 1979.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.