It pro­vided trans­port for mil­lions but they’re as rare as hens’ teeth now.

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - WORDS Richard Dredge PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Magic Car Pics

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.

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