BUYING GUIDE FORD CORTINA MKIV AND MKV
It provided transport for millions but they’re as rare as hens’ teeth now.
If ever there was a car that epitomised comfortable family motoring for the masses, it was the Ford Cortina. Between 1962 and 1982, Ford produced five generations of Cortina and they all proved to be best-sellers, largely thanks to the mind-boggling array of engines, trim, bodystyles and options. As a result, no two Cortinas ever needed to be the same.
For many years, the Cortina MkI and MkII have been sought-after as bona fide classics, perhaps due to the Lotus connection. The MkIII became collectible a few years ago, its popularity boosted by TV show Life On Mars. But there’s been little to champion the cause of the Cortina MkIV and MkV. Despite that, nostalgia for these great cars feeds strong demand.
The Cortina MkIV arrived in September 1976, with a choice of 1.3-, 1.6- or 2.0-litre engines and saloon or estate configurations. The car looked all new, but it was effectively a facelifted Cortina MkIII, with the mechanicals carried over, albeit with suspension revisions. A year later a 2.3-litre Cologne V6 joined the range in GL, Ghia and S forms, complete with power steering and firmer suspension.
A facelift in August 1979 brought a bigger glass area for the saloon (the estate bodyshell was carried over unchanged), a laminated windscreen, slatted grille, revised seats and improved ventilation. Outwardly the car didn’t change very much but it was still a new Cortina, unofficially known as the MkV. Aside from the fitting of a louvred grille in 1981, along with ribbed rear light clusters and adjustable headrests, Ford didn’t develop the Cortina further from this point onwards. The run-out Crusader of 1982 proved popular, with its sports wheels, wood effect dashboard, Ghia-style seats and centre console.
By June 1982 it was all over, 20 years after the Cortina MkI had debuted, following the arrival of the very different Ford Sierra.
■ OUR VERDICT Relatively cheap, practical, easy to maintain and ideal as a classic, these Cortinas are now so unusual that they’re outnumbered by the more valuable mainstream classics that proliferate in auction halls. If you want one, our advice is to find the best example that you can, rather than trying to source a specific derivative, due to how few are left.
The plastic trim is fairly hard wearing, although it is prone to cracking and replacement items can be tricky to get hold of.
Pinto-engined versions are easier to find than cars fitted with the smaller Kent units.