Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Auction News -

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.

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