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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.

The Lotus Cortina – a stroke of genius for Ford.

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.

Yet every single variation of the Mk1 is an elegant and fully-fledged classic.

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.

But hang on a second, the Mk2 isn’t entirely without virtues of its own…!?!?

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.

And Ford proclaimed that it was for the young at heart. Ehrm… just like me!

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?

Yes thank you very much.

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…..

Claus, you’re going that way!

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:
And not least, feel free to share your views on Cortinas and Mk1’s versus Mk2’s in general. Let the debate begin…!

Someone please stop me before I start on the Mk4!


4 Responses

  1. K. Holm

    Never seen a Cortina Mk. 3 with power bulge and that kind of mirrors.

  2. YrHmblHst

    I certainly lack much knowledge about these as we only got a few in the States, but Ive always preferred the looks of the Mk2 personally…
    Cant comment on 3, 4 etc, because Ive never seen one in the flesh, but there were and are a few of the first two iterations around; make mine a maroon GT please. [which is odd because thats not normally a colour I would pick, but Ive seen a few and it just ‘works’ for me on that car]

  3. Anders Bilidt

    @k-holm, well spotted!! I hadn’t noticed, but now that you mention it, I too haven’t seen such a power bulge on any other factory Cortina (or Taunus for that matter). So what is this?? Some South African assembled Cortina sporting a 302 Ford V8?? Does anyone know??

    Claus, you can rest assured that you’re not the only one to prefer the Mk2. While I’m happy to acknowledge the Mk1 as the most iconic and classic of the Cortina range, my own personal choice would have to be a 4-door saloon Cortina 1600E – preferably in either gold metallic or aubergine and naturally with a black vinyl roof.

    To be honest though, it’s a very rare occurrence that I prefer the mk.2 of any given model. Off the top of my head, I can only think of very few examples, but I would have an Opel Rekord B over a Rekord A, just like I would prefer both the Kadett B and C over the Kadett A. A Bluebird 510 is also cooler than a Bluebird 410, but at this point I’m running out of examples…

  4. Dave Leadbetter

    First of all, congratulations on the title of this article. Personal positive affirmation is a good technique, and if you make a statement often enough everyone will believe it. This is an excellent start.

    Anyway, if the Mk2 was good enough for Michael Caine in Get Carter… he was modern and trendy once too. I must admit that the more humble variants don’t appeal quite so much but Anders has beaten me to it referencing the 1600E, especially in Aubergine. I always feel the rear wheels are a little too far recessed leading to a slightly heavy looking tail on the two door cars, but the four door 1600E seems to sit much better.


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