• Production 1970-1976
    1,126,559 units
  • Body style(s) 2-door saloon
    4-door saloon
    5-door estate
    2-door convertible (conversion)
    2-door pickup (P100)
  • Engine(s) 1.3L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
    1.6L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
    1.6L OHC "Pinto" Straight-4
    2.0L OHC "Pinto" Straight-4
    3.0L OHV "Essex" V6 (South Africa)
    3.3L OHV Straight-6 (Australia)
    4.1L OHV Straight-6 (Australia)
  • Height 52 inches (1320 mm)
  • Length 168 inches (4267 mm)
  • Width 67 inches (1714 mm)
  • Wheelbase 101 inches (2578 mm)

The history of the Ford Cortina MkIII


In the late 1960s, Ford set about developing a third-generation Cortina, which would be produced in higher volumes than before.
The Mark III Detroit-inspired "coke bottle"-shaped Cortina TC was a hit amongst fleet buyers. It replaced both the Cortina Mark II and the larger, more expensive Ford Corsair by offering more trim levels and the option of larger engines than the Mark II.
The MacPherson strut front suspension was replaced with more conventional double A-arm suspension to give the car a soft 'freeway' ride which gave the larger engines distinct understeer.
Ford UK originally wanted to call it something other than Cortina, but the name stuck. Although the Mark III looked significantly larger than the boxier Mark II, it was actually the same overall length, but 4 inches (100 mm) wider.
Trim levels were now Base, L (for Luxury), XL (Xtra Luxury), GT (Grand Touring) and GXL (Grand Xtra Luxury). 1.3 L, 1.6 L and 2.0 L engines were offered, the 1.6 L having two distinct types - the Kent unit for models up to GT trim and a SOHC Pinto unit for the GT and GXL, the latter of which was also offered in 1600 form for a short while. 2.0 L variants used a larger version of the 1600 Pinto unit and were available in all trim levels except base.
Four headlights and Rostyle wheels marked out the GT and GXL versions, while the GXL also had bodyside rubstrips, a vinyl roof and a brushed metal and black tail panel on the GXL and plain black one on the GT. All models featured a downward sloping dashboard with deeply recessed dials and all coil suspension all round. In general styling and technical make up, many observed that the Mark III aped the Vauxhall Victor FD of 1967.
The Cortina Mark III TC was introduced at the London Motor Show in October 1970, but sales got off to a particularly slow start because of production difficulties that culminated with a ten-week strike at Ford's Dagenham plant between April and June 1971, which was at the time reported to have cost production of 100,000 vehicles, equivalent to almost a quarter of the output for a full year. Nevertheless, volumes recovered, and with the aging Austin/Morris 1100/1300 now losing out to various newer models, the Cortina was Britain's top selling car in 1972, closely followed by the Escort.
In late 1973 following a facelift, the Cortina was redesignated TD. Outside, there were revised grilles, rectangular headlights for the XL, GT and the new 2000E (the "E" standing for executive), which replaced the GXL. The 1.3 L Kent engine was carried over but now, 1.6 L models all used the more modern 1.6 L SOHC engine. Whilst the TD Cortina still had double A-arm suspension with coils at the front and a four-link system at the rear, handling was improved. Inside, the car received a neater dashboard that no longer sloped away from the driver's line of sight and upgraded trim. The 2000E reverted to the classy treatment offered by the 1600E and later Ghia models instead of the faux wood-grain trim offered by the GXL.
The Mark III was never sold in the US, although it was available in Canada until 1973.
The Mark III was available in South Africa as the XLE with the Essex V6 3.0L engine. There was also a pickup truck version available.
Ford Australia built its own versions using both the UK four-cylinder engines (1.6 and 2.0) and locally-made in-line six-cylinder engines from its Falcon line.
For Japan, the cars were literally narrowed by a few millimetres on arrival in the country in order that they fit into a lower tax bracket – this was done by bending the wheel arches inwards.

Type 1960s 1970s 1980s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
Supermini     Fiesta I Fiesta II
Small family car Anglia 105E / Super Anglia 123E Escort I Escort II Escort III
Large family car Consul II Cortina I Cortina II Cortina III / Taunus TC Cortina IV / Taunus III Cortina V / Taunus III Sierra
Taunus G13 Taunus P4 Taunus P6
  Classic Corsair    
Executive car Taunus P3 Taunus P5 Taunus P7 Taunus P7.2   Granada I Granada II
Zephyr II Zephyr 4/6 III Zephyr 4/6 IV  
Zodiac II Zodiac III Zodiac IV  
CoupĂ©   Consul Capri   Capri Mk1 Capri Mk2 Capri Mk3

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