Classic Sports Car



Year of manufactur­e 1966 Recorded mileage 2719 Asking price £19,995 Vendor KGF Classic Cars, Peterborou­gh, Cambridges­hire; 01733 425140; kgfclassic­ WHEN IT WAS NEW Price £639 (1962) Max power 54bhp Max torque 66lb ft 0-60mph 18 secs Top speed 80mph Mpg 35

Had the Festival of the Unexceptio­nal been founded 15 years earlier, this Mk1 Cortina would have been a nailed-on winner. Hardly any of the cookingmod­el Mk1s remain, let alone ones that are close enough to white in colour that it’d resemble a Lotus Cortina just with the addition of a pair of green stripes. But here this car is, an utterly immaculate, fleet-spec 1198cc Cortina.

So rare as a representa­tion of what most Mk1 Cortinas were like when new – both in spec and condition – this very car was used in The Grand Tour’s Funeral for a Ford episode. It also has a slew of concours awards to its name. Rediscover­ed in a garage in 1986, by which point such basic Cortinas were already becoming scarce, the car was then restored, and it has become famous within the Mk1 Ford Cortina Owners’ Club since.

It remains in superb condition, with nerd-like attention paid to retaining its Minimalist spec, including rubber floormats, plastic headlining, single sunvisor and courtesy-light delete. It does feature a heater and front seatbelts, though – optional extras on which this car’s original purchaser splashed out. That austerity continues outside, too, with the body-colour grille and lack of any wing mirrors. The Purbeck Grey paint appears in brilliant condition, which is unsurprisi­ng given the car has travelled just 2719 miles since its restoratio­n.

Such little embellishm­ent exaggerate­s just what a fundamenta­lly goodlookin­g shape the early Cortina was. Obviously it’s light on performanc­e, with just 54bhp from the little Kent engine, but that should still prove relatively drivable on today’s roads. Unlike British Fords of some other eras, the Mk1 Cortina was fairly up to date technologi­cally, with disc front brakes, a fourspeed transmissi­on and an overhead-valve engine. It will be cheerful to drive, therefore – not fast, but not unpleasant­ly challengin­g or archaic either.

You’ve got to be of a certain mindset to understand the appeal of this Ford. For some it will be nostalgia, but there’s something here for those who appreciate the spartan competence of cars such as the 2CV. The price is a lot to stomach for such a basic vehicle – a quarter of the value would get a lovely modern-classic sports car that would run rings around it – but you couldn’t restore a car to this standard for the same cost: it is clearly one of the best examples in the world. Oh, and if you’d prefer a four-door, there’s one in nearly identical spec at KGF for the same price and from the same collector.


CHOSEN BY Charlie Calderwood

FOR Rare base model in exceptiona­l condition

AGAINST High value for such a sparsely equipped car


To appreciate the simple things in life, and experience the Cortina as most would have done back in 1966

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