In your May edition, Mr. H.J. Green praises his Volvo 121 Estate enthusiastically and wonders (naively?) if a British car could give such satisfaction. With three true stories of rally-type journeys in varying Cortinas I hope to show Mr. Green that he has wasted £423 by buying a Volvo estate instead of a Ford Cortina estate.
(i) Ljubjana to Austria, 320 kms. (200 miles) in just under six hours in February (snow most of the way) over the most appalling roads, including 50 kms. of unmade road and a 4,000 ft. descent on a 32% gradient (1 in 3 and unsurfaced). The car—a 1964 Cortina GT with 42,000 miles to its credit and no major overhaul.
(ii) Vienna—Ostend in 14 hours non-stop. This trip is 900 miles of autobahn motoring. The car—a 1964 Cortina 1500 with 64,200 miles on the clock at the start of the trip and has today, approaching 70,000 miles, had no major overhaul.
(iii) Dunkirk—Zurich (via Rheims, Langres and Bask) in 9 hours with 6 cwt. of spares. The car—a 1965 Cortina 1500 estate with 37,000 miles to its credit, and no major overhaul.
All these cars approach 100 m.p.h. [ Speedometer reading?— Ed.) on the motorways, have excellent handling, are comfortable and apart from dirt have no body blemishes in spite of being cleaned only about once every two months and battling through snow and ice in proportions unknown in England.
All these cars belong to an engineering company which also uses Cortinas as representatives’ cars in England where they regularly cover 40,000-50,000 trouble-free miles each year.
In conclusion I would add that the car in the first example, which is at the moment in my possession, outperforms Volvos, Mercedes 220s and standard B.M.W. 1800s. ft has the added advantage of wide wheels, Armstrong shock-absorbers and a balanced engine, but is otherwise standard GT. So far this year it has covered 14,000 miles in nine countries with one broken silencer.
To reverse Mr. Green’s challenge, I could ask which foreign car in the price range can offer equal performance and reliability to Ford’s marvellous Cortina?
Heidelberg. John Mathew.