1962-66 FORD CORTINA MKI
WHY IT MATTERS Britain’s motorway age may have dawned in 1959, but it took Ford to make a car that could stand up to the relentlessness of pounding the tarmac between cities.
With Ford’s careful product planning, and £13m of budget, the Cortina turned out to be just the sort of car family and business motorists craved. In 1963, its first full year, 260,000 were sold, massively beating Ford’s own 100,000 estimate. The final MkI tally in 1966 amounted to 1,013,391, making this the fastest-selling British Ford so far. The reasons for its success were remarkable straightforward. It was slight yet gutsy, using aircraft industry techniques of ‘stress technology’ to get a roomy body that was simultaneously light and strong. And the methodology also made the Cortina very profitable, allowing Ford to forever more be attentive to the subtly changing demands of the British car-buying public. It came to be regarded as utterly conventional, but only after most other cars had changed to mimic the Cortina’s expertly planned success.