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Ford Cortina Mk2 (1966 - 1970)

Last updated 18 January 2014

The new Cortina is more Cortina
Not as sought after as the more iconic Mk1


After getting off to such a flying start, it’s no surprise that Ford stuck to its winning formula with the second generation Cortina. Although the first car was immaculately engineered and costed, its high-fashion styling dated rather quickly. And as a result, that led it having a short shelf life – something that the company had planned for when putting together Project Archbishop. Once again, the new car’s styling took its cues from the USA, with its design chief Roy Haynes clearly being inspired by the neat minimalism that was sweeping through the Ford empire at the time. So, a mere four years after the Cortina Mk1 rolled out of Dagenham, the Mk2 version followed suit.

But it was a look that worked, and more importantly, this car proved Ford’s undoubted commitment to giving customers exactly what they wanted. And in an expanding market, what they wanted was more space, more performance and more equipment. So, with the advertising strapline, ‘New Cortina is more Cortina’, did exactly what the advertising copywriters asked of it. The new car was wider with a more capacious interior, and had a larger boot (even though engineers on the Mk1 felt that the original’s was already on the generous side of capacious). Driver comfort and ease of use were also factored in, with the increasingly luxurious interior complemented the softer ride and more ‘grown up’ feel of the new car.

It was the same story with the power units – the 1.2-litre engine may have been the entry level for the original car, but for the UK market, that was upped to 1.3-litres. The smaller 1.2-litre engine was offered in export markets, but for the UK market, this was not offered, as the higher engine capacity equated to a higher price in a buoyant market, where confidence was riding at an all-time high. The larger entry level model didn’t initially lead to an increase in size of the range-topper (which stayed at 1.5-litres), but it was only a matter of time, as Ford engineers were beavering away at a 1.6-litre crossflow version of its Kent four-cylinder.

As before, the Cortina was offered in two- and four-door saloon form, as well as a capacious five-door estate, and it was the latter that proved to be a massive hit for the company, following the slow start of its wood-clad predecessor.

The new crossflow heads were introduced in 1967, and saw a corresponding expansion of the range. The most iconic of them all was the 1600E, which now topped an expanding range that comprised of base, Deluxe, Super, GT and 1600E. It was the Cortina 1600E that truly captured the public’s imagination, when it was unveiled at the 1967 Paris Motor Show. The exterior was treated to a number of well judged modifications, such as Rostyle wheels, a black rear panel and vinyl roof – but it went as well as it looked, thanks to being powered by the 1600GT’s uprated Kent engine and uprated suspension. Inside, the 1600E was rather special, too, featuring a burr walnut woodgrain-trimmed dashboard and door cappings, bucket seats, that all-important sports steering wheel, and full six-pack instrumentation.

Next: Specifications