Barry Gill talking in a Ford promotional video claimed Ford had brought motoring to a new peak when they launched the Cortina MK III in 1970 and sales would prove that the claim was not without substance in the minds of the paying public.
The new car with late 60’s wide hip US Ford Torino influenced styling was several inches wider and lower than the million plus selling Ford Cortina Mk II.
As with the Cortina Mk II there was a plethora of different models L and XL models featured a pair of head lights while the GT, GXL variations featured twined pairs of headlights and Rostyle wheels as seen in the photo below. The XL model in the top photo appears to have a set of out of period RS wheels.
The Peak Performer came in 2 door, 4 door and 5 door estate versions while specialists like Crayford would be more than turn a Saloon / Sedan into a convertible. In South Africa a pickup ‘P100’ variation of the Mk III Cortina was also built.
In late 1973 the Cortina recieved a mild face lift known as the TD, the Cortina (TD) 1300 above seen in Malta is almost indistinguishable from the XL at the top of the post the GT and 2000E which replaced the GXL featured square headlights in place of the twined pairs of head lights of the original Mk III.
In the UK 4 cylinder overhead valve Kent and single overhead cam Pinto engines from 1.3 litre / 79 cui to 2 litres / 122 cui were available dependent on the different trim specifications.
Despite the Peak Performance tag Mk III Cortina’s were never intended for competition although Radio Presenter Noel Edmonds gained a fair amount of publicity for driving one in production saloon car races and Ford did organise a celebrity series called the BAE Trident trophy when the Mk III was launched with participants including Formula One champions Graham Hill and John Surtees along with British Rally ace Roger Clark. Those in the UK wanting larger motors had to turn to Jeff Uren who fitted Essex 144 hp 3 litre V6 motors which could be specified with Westlake cylinder heads giving 190 hp or additionally with Tecalemit fuel injection under an impressively ventilated bonnet / hood to give 218 hp and a zero to 60 mph time of 7 road burning seconds.
Those living in Australia could order their Cortina’s with a factory fitted straight six Ford (Australian) Falcon 4.1 litre / 250 cui motor while in South Africa a Essex V6 versions of the Mk III Cortina were built with the top of the range 3 litre / 183 cui carrying a Perana badge. Like the Mk II Cortina sales of the Mk III Cortina reached well over a million by the time production ceased in 1976.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘A New Peak’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at Ford Torino a US contemporary of the Mk III Cortina. Don’t forget to come back now !
09 05 12 PS I did not know it at the time of the original post but a Ford Cortina features in a car chase in the 2011 Robert De Niro action movie ‘Killer Elite‘.