In September 1962, Ford of Britain launched the brand-new Ford Cortina. It happened in the run-up to the London Motor Show of October 1962, and that moment was conveniently chosen. The curiosity was aroused, and the class of smaller middle class that grew at that time immediately had a formidable competitor.
The smaller midsize class also hailed another new Ford, and it came from Germany. That was the Taunus 12M P4, which was originally intended as a Cardinal project to become the new world car of the American concern. Lee Iacocca saw nothing in the (American) market opportunities, but saw opportunities to make the P4 a success in Europe. Ford Germany was therefore allowed to make the 1962M P12 finally ready for market in 4, and that had to be done quickly. The 12M P4 was also presented in September 1962. Almost at the same time as the Ford Cortina, or rather: the Consul Cortina. Remarkable: Ford - despite the market for smaller cars collapsing - did offer the Cortina in America, in contrast to the originally American-designed Cardinal / Taunus P4.
The assumption that the 12M P4 and the Ford Cortina debuting as Consul Cortina 225 were cut from the same cloth is a misconception. The carriages of both cars looked alike, but underneath the skin the Ford Cortina and Taunus P4 were of an entirely different order. In addition, the Ford Cortina was neither American nor German. The new model was a British design, which included Kent engines (four in line) and rear-wheel drive. The Taunus P4 had front wheel drive and a V4 engine. And there were also differences in appearance.
The Cortina, born under the Archbishop project name, was a design by Roy Brown. That was the man who was held responsible for the Edsel debacle. According to tradition, Brown was allowed to play outside by the Ford management in Dearborn, and in his case that meant a forced move to the British Dagenham. Of course, Brown will have been aware of world car Cardinal, and have gained some inspiration for that. But in the UK the P4 configuration (Cardinal assumptions) was not approved. And so the Ford Cortina still got its own specifications.
Initially, the Ford Cortina was available with a 1.2 liter 113E engine. That was an enlarged version of the 998 cc 105E engine from the Ford Anglia. From January 1963 a 1.5 liter engine was added. Remarkable: again parallels with the Taunus P4 history are visible. The body variants were the two-door coach and four-door sedan. Ford also presented a five-door estate car. The Super Estate in particular was a story in its own right and above all: with a Woody look it was very recognizable.
Multiple trim levels
The buyer could in any case quickly choose from several equipment levels. Those were initially the Standard (1200) and the Deluxe. The Super and the GT came on the market in January 1963. The GT was available with a fast 1.500 cc engine. The power source was equipped with an adapted (read: sharper) camshaft and had, among other things, a double Weber 28/36 DCD22 register carburetor. Moreover, Dagenham mounted disc brakes on the front. The Standard got the 1.200 cc, as well as the De Luxe. From January 1963, both the De Luxe and the basic version were also available with the 1.500 cc 116E engine (61 DIN-PK), as well as the then new Super. The equipment levels were also body-dependent.
The topper, Lotus Cortina
The hit then still had to come, and that was the Lotus Cortina. It received a modified Kent engine with two overhead camshafts, an aluminum cylinder head, two double Webercarburetors and a displacement of 1.558 cc. The power source generated 105 DIN HP and enabled the Lotus version to run to a top of 175 kilometers per hour. He received a dashboard with a number of meters and clocks, and a sports steering wheel. The Lotus also received a modified gearbox
Custom suspension, and aluminum plate parts
The Lotus Cortina was recognizable by the painted profile on the sides and the larger wheels. It also got modified rear suspension with longitudinal arms, triangles and a rigid rear axle. As with the regular Cortina's, the front of the chassis was equipped with Mac Pherson suspension, transverse wishbones and a stabilizer. In addition, the weight was well taken care of. Due to the use of a number of aluminum sheet parts (doors, bonnet, boot lid) and a differential housing made of ditto material, the weight remained low.
In recent years
The first generation Ford Cortina has been refined in recent years. He got a facelift with a modified grille. And the ornament on the hood no longer bore the name Consul, but Cortina. The dashboard also changed (round clocks instead of tape measure), and the ventilation system was improved. From October 1964, all versions of the Ford Cortina now had front disc brakes. Finally, in October 1 - after the production of just over a million copies - the Cortina Mk1966 was replaced by the Mk 2. That would become an internal competitor to the P6, which succeeded the P1966 in July 4. It is remarkable that the developments between the P4 and the Cortina ran parallel. But also with the successors, it was true that the English Ford Cortina and the German “M” had substantial differences. And once again both were strong in the busy European smaller middle class.