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Ford Cortina Mk3 (1970 - 1976)

Last updated 28 January 2016


Buying Guide


  • All areas of the bodywork should be inspected for rust.
  • Original panels are hard to find, but reproduction ones are available.
  • Start with the sills, wheelarch lips and valances – then take a look under the bonnet at the inner wings.
  • The bulkhead can also corrode, as can the underside of the wheelarch.
  • Rust often starts at the front of the car, near the indicators and then spreads to the nearby metal.
  • You’ll also need to check the windscreen surrounds and the guttering, which are hard to fix.
  • Move to the underneath of the car and pay special attention to the jacking points and seatbelt mountings.
  • The boot floor, as well as the front and rear footwells also go.

Engine and transmission

  • Engines are simple to look after and parts are plentiful to keep the going.
  • Noisy valve gear is a common complaint, which indicates a top-end rebuild is due (although the camshaft is housed in the block).
  • Worn timing chains can also cause problems – listen for a rattle from the front of the engine.
  • Of most concern will be worn rings and bores – so check for fumes from the oil filler cap and blue smoke from the exhaust.
  • Cars fitted with the Pinto suffer from a weak rubber timing belt – they should last 25k but need changing every three years.
  • Pinto engines can also suffer from poor lubrication, which can damage the camshaft.
  • The root cause of this is a blockage to the spraybar fitted under the rocker cover.
  • Check for worn bearings and synchromesh on the manual gearboxes.

Running gear

  • Clonking from the front suspension could be down to worn pins that support the upper wishbones.
  • Fixing this means making larger pins and boring out the holes in the subframe accordingly.
  • The ‘void’ bushes on the rear suspension can wear but can be replaced at home (if you can get hold of the special tool).
  • The master cylinders have a tendency to leak, but new seals are available.
  • Make sure the handbrake holds the care on a hill – it can stretch but it’s an easy fix.

Electrics and trim

  • Fuel gauges can break and the sensors are hard to find.
  • Rear light lenses go opaque and indicator stalks snap, but replacement can be found.
  • None of the interior or exterior trim is being remanufactured, and new-old stock is rare.
  • Backing boards can rot and cause the panels to collapse.
  • Exterior trim is almost impossible to find – unless you get lucky at an autojumble.
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