The Ford Cortina MkI

The Ford Cortina, a cheap end of the market family saloon made from the 1960s to the early 1980s.

There were 5 marks of the Ford Cortina and some of the models like the Mk II 1600E are absolute iconic classic cars. During the 1970s, when me and my mates were of an age to pass our driving tests, the car that most of us aspired to was indeed the 1600E Cortina MkII. Although one mate, who shall remain nameless, aspired to a lime green Renault something or other. He was a bit odd in many ways!

The first incarnation of the Ford Cortina MkI, came in September 1962. It was developed as ‘Project Archbishop’, thank goodness that it was not named for the project. I doubt that the ‘Ford Archbishop’ would have been a big seller. The car was given the much racier name of the Ford Consul Cortina, Cortina being the name of a popular jet-set ski resort in Italy. Happily, no-one really bothered about thinking what Cortina actually meant in Italian – Curtain. So to the Italians, the Ford Cortina MkI was the Ford Curtain!

Here are some items about the Ford Cortina, Manuals, memorabilia etc that I found on Amazon:

The rear light cluster of the Ford Cortina MkI was a tad controversial. It was circular with a Y shaped chrome divider. Mercedes Benz were a bit miffed that it looked like their logo, as was the CND which was very active at that time.

The Consul part of the name was dropped in 1964 when several design changes were made. Front disk brakes were added to all models as standard, the front grille was redesigned into a single chrome grille with a widened bottom section that surrounded the side lights and indicators. Overall, there were still elements of the 1950s evident in the design throughout the MKI Cortina phase (rear fins, rounded headlights with the bonnet line lower that the top) but nevertheless, it was a good looking vehicle. The MKI Cortina finally went out of production in October 1966, replaced by the MkII. Not only did England have the World Cup, it also had the MKII Cortina!

Engine wise, for the Cortina MkI, Ford stuck with what they knew. They fitted a version of the Anglia 105E engine with the lengthened bore giving it a capacity of nominally 1200cc. It had a 3 bearing crankshaft. In Jan 1963, Ford made a 1500cc 5 bearing engine available as an optional extra. It was this engine that was tuned to give 78bhp in the GT version, the first of the faster MkI Cortinas. Later the same year, the bhp was upped to 105 in the Lotus Cortina, yet another iconic classic car.

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