Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
1 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT MOTIVATED THE REAR LIGHT DESIGN
Nope. While the Cortina’s threesegment rear lamps are often referred to as ‘ban the bomb’ lights and do bear a resemblance to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) logo, the real story is very different. We’ll let their designer Charles Thompson tell the tale. ‘It was nothing to do with CND though. It was simply that I didn’t have much time because I was due to go into hospital for an operation. So I divided a circle into three segments. Funny how things like that happen. There was no real thought to it at all.’
2 THE PRESS LOVED IT
Ford sold more than four million Cortinas over 20 years, and it’s regarded as one of its big success stories. But the motoring media was decidedly lukewarm about it when the MkI was launched in 1962. It wasn’t front-wheel-drive like BMC’s Mini and 1100, it was mechanically traditional and simple with drum brakes and non-independent rear suspension, and the only feature of merit seemed to be its light weight. Ford dealerships worried that the car wasn’t going to sell, but they needn’t have worried – competitive pricing and effective promotion made the public love it, despite the conventionality.
3 THE NAME CAME FROM A CAFÉ
Did the Cortina name come about because Ford’s product planning department head got his lunch from an Italian sandwich bar of that name? No. The moniker refers to the then famously fashionable Cortina d’Ampezzo Italian ski resort. The original title was Consul 225 for the 1200 model and Consul 255 for the 1500. The Cortina name – which unfortunately means ‘curtains’ in Spanish – was settled on very late in the day.
‘Ban the bomb’ lights had nothing to do with the famous CND logo.