Really? Is the situation quite that advanced? Apparently so, as I found myself suddenly preferring the Cortina Mk2 over the evergreen and ultra-classic Mk1.
I found myself stood in front of a Cortina Mk2 last week. The happy owner praised the model for all its virtues, as he compared it with the earlier and more recognised predecessor. Everyone knows the Mk1 – especially in race trim. And especially here in Denmark where Prince Joachim has sprinkled the model with a hint of royalty as he races one in the pre-’65 class in Historic Motorsport.
Truth be told, I’ve always felt that the Mk1 (which it of course wasn’t called in period, but only in retrospective) was the better looking of the two. It’s a bit of an understated design icon – clean, balanced and elegant. The Lotus Cortina was of course all of that, but with muscle added to the equation, and of course that brilliant go-faster strip down the flanks.
But here I was, taking in all the simplistic beauty of the Mk2. Previously I always considered it the somewhat boring little brother of the proper Cortina. How narrow sighted I was! Granted, it’s not as extravagant and flamboyant as the first incarnation, but by late 1966 when the Mk2 hit the streets, that style certainly wasn’t regarded as trendy any longer. And its clean and square-cut styling contributes to a much more timeless design. It’s also got broader shoulders than the somewhat feminine Mk1.
And as an added bonus, the Mk2 also came with the Lotus twincam. However, Ford shuffled the name around a bit, so the Mk2 is officially a Ford Cortina Lotus. I suppose it reflects that the Mk2 was not quite as focused on being a homologation special with the sole purpose of winning races. Instead it was a Ford – albeit a fast and entertaining one – which Ford could make a profit on selling.
All of which doesn’t really explain why I suddenly have this newfound admiration of the Mk2. Perhaps the reason lies in the estate version? Yes, both the Mk1 and Mk2 were available as estates, but I feel that the unadorned, clean-cut design of the Mk2 compared to the Mk1 is amplified even further when you look at the estate versions. The Mk2 is everything which a classic estate should be. Sadly, it was never available with the Lotus engine, but I can live with that. After all, everyone knows that classic estates are the new black! So who needs a twincam anyway?
In fact, I’m sure of it now – it must be the estate-car-effect which has really opened my eyes to the Mk2.
Alternatively, with me going all modern and trendy, there’s of course also the next in line – the Cortina Mk3.
Mmmmm, “coke bottle”-curves and shapely hips…..
Or what say our knowledgeable readers? Back to reality Mr. Ebberfeld, for everyone knows that properclassics are from the early sixties and don’t come in brown. Or, you are so right Claus, the Cortina Mk1 is so last Christmas! What you need is a Mk2 estate, and I happen to know where there’s a light blue metallic one in good condition which is up for sale at a very reasonable price. If that’s the case, please send the link to: firstname.lastname@example.org
And not least, feel free to share your views on Cortinas and Mk1’s versus Mk2’s in general. Let the debate begin…!