Road Impressions

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

The New Ford Cortina

The Ford Cortina has long been one of the most successful cars of its kind. The first version appeared in September 1962 and the Cortina has been successively improved ever since. The Mk. I sold to the tune of more than 1,000,000 and so did the Mks II and III. The Mk. IV that came out in 1976 is well on its way to a similar very complimentary sales success. In the first six months of this year nearly 120,000 were sold, which is more than the Cortina has ever before achieved and double the sales of any other car apart from the popular Ford Escort. In fact, for six out of the past seven years the Cortina has consistently out-sold every other car on the British Market; in 1976 it was surpassed in this respect by the Escort.

With buyer-satisfaction at such a high level Ford could have rested on their laurels. However, C. G. Grey, Editor of The Aeroplane, remarked in 1939 that when he heard of people resting on their laurels he always wished a little holly could be mixed with the laurel, so he would have been glad to know that the Cortina has been improved and made more attractive still, under a £50-million development investment started four years ago. Ford claims that, by listening to experienced drivers’ comments, the latest version is the most economical, most refined, best-protected and fastest Cortina of them all — which, in view of the model’s popularity, is significant.

The range continues with the four-cylinder 1300 c.c. Kent push-rod-engined Cortina, the HC o.h.c. 1600, 1600 2V and 2000 (these engines gain a substantial power increase from the fitment of twin venturi Weber carburetters instead of single venturi Motocraft), and the HC push-rod 2300 V6-engined cars. The model-range has been extended by choice of the S (improved handling)-pack now being available for the 1.6L, 2.0GL and Ghia, and the 2.3 GL and Ghia models, and a new Estate, or “Business Wagon” (which I see has adopted the Fiat 126’s slogan of “A Vehicle for All Reasons”), is available. The styling has been enhanced, and the engineering changes are directed at improved fuel economy by the use of an average weight reduction of 40 lb., a new Weber carburetter and a clutched fan, and slightly raising the gearing of the 1.6 and 2.0 models. Also by reducing piston-ring friction and valve-spring loadings on the o.h.c. engines. This has resulted in increased power outputs. The V6 Ford power-pack has been given larger valves, a 9.2 to 1 c.r., transistorised-ignition, and timing and carburation changes, resulting in eight extra b.h.p. The new bodies are not only very handsome but have an increased glass area for improved driver-vision, and inside there are improved seats, with special resistance to sag after a period of usage, and sound-damping and trim have likewise been improved. The radio has been rehoused, and Ford’s hitherto excellent ventilation system enhanced by two additional louvres in the facia centre. For improved handling the coil-spring suspension now has a bigger front anti-roll bar in conjunction with 9% reduction in spring rate. At the back the 1980 Cortinas have springs stiffened by 5% in initial response and by 9% under full load. The new Cortinas are the first Fords to have revised anti-corrosion protection, introduced after a study of 4,500 vehicles across Europe, searching for the real reasons why cars rust under salting of highways, etc. Closed cavities are flushed before priming, wax is injected after painting, and stone-resistant PVC is applied to wheel arches and the lower body panels, while after assembly the entire underbody is sprayed with a special wax coating.

Other aspects include items that assist servicing, which is now set at 12,000 miles, with an interim 6,000 mile inspection. The very heavy bonnet-lid is hinged at the back. Plugs, battery and dipstick are accessible but there is a tortuous top water hose. These Cortinas which have been subtly but effectively improved go on sale on September 13th and those interested should presumably place orders immediately.

I was allowed to try the new four-cylinder-in-line o.h.c. 2.0 Cortina Ghia Saloon before the public announcement. It is a very fine medium-sized family car. The impression I got is that it might be put in the same category as a BMW, a category towards which Ford (and GM Opel) have been steadily moving in recent times. The whole car now feels solid, with nothing “tinny” about it. It corners with precision and in appointments, instrumentation, and appearance is a very up-market product indeed. There is performance in the order of comfortably over 100 m.p.h. and the ability to get to the normal legal pace of 60 m.p.h. in 9.8 seconds. The gear change (not spring loaded) functions with the expected Ford infallability and smoothness, even when reverse is required. The clutch is very light and smooth, the seats are extremely comfortable, the sound level low, so that a little wind flutter can be heard round the driver’s door, and this Michelin-X shod saloon was stable under rapid cornering.

The instruments in their “woodgrain bezel,” to quote the specification, are easily read, but the steady-indicating fuel-gauge is rather oddly marked (not calibrated), so that its needle traverses very little of its arc from full to half-full reading, far more of it down to “empty,” apart from which it takes a long time to indicate a drop from the tank full position. However, this was not intended to deceive, for the fuel economy is generous — the check I did showed 31.9 m.p.g. (four-star) from the Weber sequential twin-choke carburettor.

This would not have disgraced a mediocre 1 1/2-litre family saloon some years ago, and is praiseworthy from a decently high-performance 2-litre. The tank holds 12 gallons, giving a range of some 360 miles. The fuel filler and its flap are not lockable. Ghia equipment includes a tachometer, Kent alloy road wheels, 185/70 tyres, pile carpet, clock, wood cappings and remote-control door-mirror, etc.

Ford use triple stalk-controls, but the turn-indicators are operated from the I.h. one in Continental fashion, and I did not altogether care for the separate r.h. lever that puts on side lamps and headlamps, with dipping to be done rather clumsily; from the r.h. lever. There are two high-mounted, rather vulnerable, Ford Carello spot-lamps to supplement the Lucas-Ford halogen headlamps on full beam. The headlamps are cleaned by four water-jets. The car’s 1980 styling caught more than one eye, when it was all supposed to be hush-hush, testimony to the handsome, attractive new lines. The boot holds 11.8 cu. ft. of luggage. I would have liked central-door-locking but enjoyed the wind-open sunroof. This was a very new car, so one can overlook the slam needed to completely shut the o/s rear door and a vibrating rear-view mirror. The disc/drum brakes are powerful but spongy, which is better than being over-servoed but they are not entirely reassuring, although powerfully progressive. And under emergency action the front end of the car became a trifle “squidgy,” as on a Granada. These are, however, minor matters in a car of high overall good qualities, although perhaps without much “character.” The rack-and-pinion steering asks 3.7 turns lock-to-lock, with a turning circle of 32.8 feet between kerbs. The wheel is small and mounted sensibly low. The Ford’s ride is good but not outstanding. This 102 b.h.p. (PS) 2.0 Ford has an engine that peaks at 5,400 r.p.m., runs safely to 6,000 r.p.m., gives maximum torque at 4,000 r.p.m. (which makes it just outside the all-day-in-top-gear-if-you-must kind of car) and is geared to do 70 m.p.h. at just 2,300 r.p.m., which is economy gearing indeed. No oil was required in over 600 miles. My preview of the newest 2.0 Cortina Ghia convinces me that the 1980s models will continue to maintain Ford’s fine sales-records. Comments on the 1979 Cortina 2.3 Ghia Estate appeared in November 1978. — W.B.

You may also like

Related products