Car Scoop: The first Cortina Six: source- Wheels June 1972 (sent
in by Matthew Woolard)
is the "real Cortina Six with bonnet power bulge and four headlights.
Its not for Bathurst in 1972 but is a straight out challenge to
the Torana sixes. If you want a six-cylinder Cortina get your order
in now. The long-awaited straight six Cortina WILL BE released in
June/July but in very limited numbers. Prototype testing is still
going on and it is possible the new cars will be held back even
later. With a complete change in series production regulations for
1973 this would have meant building a car for the tail end of just
one season - a waste of development manpower.
is so strong for the TC Cortina fours and the new Falcons that the
Broadmeadows plant is working overtime trying to meet dealer orders
- there just isnt sufficient capacity to build vast numbers of the
six. These are the first genuine pictures of the Cortina Six. They
reveal two distinct body changes over the four cylinder models.
Most important is a power bulge in the bonnet which is a dead give-away
for the six-cylinder engine. Second is the fitting of four headlights.
We saw two cars - a sedan and station wagon - and they both carried
the bonnet bulge and four headlights. Otherwise there will only
be small changes to the tail-lights and badge work. This means Ford
has been able to slot in the six cylinder engine without changing
the cars overall length and wheelbase. A major achievement when
you remember GMH had to lengthen the Torana wheelbase by 4.2 inches
to accommodate the six-cylinder engine. But there have been modifications
under the hood and in the suspension department.
negative camber on the front wheels is immediately obvious and the
tyres seem to be of a wider section on wider wheels. They may even
be on 14 instead of 13-inch wheels. Spring and shocker rates have
been increased to cope with the additional power and weight of the
six-cylinder models and also to improve the Cortinas bouncy ride.
Retaining the same wheelbase has meant the tight, 31.5 ft turning
circle hasnt altered - a big feature because the full-sized Holden
and Falcon now turn in 40 feet. Ford will offer the car with three
engines initially. The base model will be powered by the 130 bhp,
200 cid engine with three-speed steering column gear change. Optional
will be both versions of the 250 engine, the single barrel unit
with 155 bhp and the two-barrel [for the GT model] with 170 bhp.
bulge and four headlights reveal presence of straight six engine
under Cortina skin. Strong negative camber and big section tyres
are necessary for good handling/ride compromise. Ford engineers
slotted the six-cylinder engine in without enlarging the Cortinas
wheelbase. [refer to picture] The 250 model rates the three-speed
box but the GT gets a four on the floor unit which will be optional
with the other engines. Automatic transmission will also be available
throughout the range. Ford has been experimenting with four-barrel
versions of the 250 - these produce close to 200 bhp [148kw] - but
has decided against going ahead with this. It might be brought back
in a race special for next years Bathurst. Having a 200 cid engine
as the base unit gives Ford a measurable superiority over the smallest
Torana six engine which is only 138 cid. In fact, the smallest Cortina
six engine is just two cubic inches smaller than the biggest Torana
the engine into the compartment initially designed for the four
hasn't meant a great deal of modification. The firewall has been
reshaped and the radiator moved forward a fraction but otherwise
the changes are minor. The sump has been revised to clear the front
cross member but in every other detail the engines will be exactly
as they are in Falcons. Inside the cars will follow current TC Cortina
layout with few minor modifications, most of them to serve to identify
the more expensive six-cylinder range. Fords decision to build six-cylinder
versions of the station wagon plugs the gap left in its wagon range
when the XA wagon was released with a 116-inch wheelbase.
Cortina six wagon will be almost exactly the same size as the first
Falcon wagon. Ford is planning to slip the sixes to the showrooms
in much the same way it does with the GTHO each year. There will
be an official Press function but there won't be a great blowing
of trumpets in the advertising columns. The lack of cars makes this
pointless. Mid-year looks like being a very busy time for the go-getters
from Broadmeadows. Not only will there be the new sixes but the
Phase Four GTHO is scheduled for release in June and the dealers
have been informed the two-door Falcon coupe is due for public release
in July. Cortina six wagon caught on Ford's high speed bowl at You
article was typed by Matthew Woolard.
Mk.3 Cortina in Australia - a justly neglected non-classic?"
Ford Cortina TC XLE
vinyl roof, colour-coded wheel covers, bumper overriders, quad headlights
and bonnet bulge)
Australia the Mk.3 Cortina replaced the Mk.2 in late 1970, and the
new model was and is more commonly known as the TC, as opposed to
Mk.3. Available at first only in four-door sedan form (no two-door
was ever available), it was well received by the motoring press.
A base model Cortina L was A$2485, the XL - with the US Pinto 1998
cc engine - was $2570, and for $120 extra a GS pack could be purchased,
basically an all show no go sporty dress-up kit. An XL can be identified
by the chrome trim around the wheel arches. A 2000 XL (112 bhp @
3500 rpm) with a GS pack could reach 113.6 mph and cover a quarter
mile in 17.2 seconds, a big improvement over the Mk.II.
sales dropped away. Perhaps the increased dimensions meant it was
too close in size to Ford Australias best selling model, the originally
American-derived but now homegrown Falcon. Mk.II sales had been
up to 17,000 a year, a substantial number given Australias relatively
small population, but this dropped away to about 12,000 in 1971.
The release of the station wagon (estate) in 1971 improved sales
somewhat, but soon they were down again, with Japanese cars making
strong inroads into the 4-cylinder market. The Cortina had also
gained a bad reputation for poor quality and reliability, something
the Japanese cars generally could not be accused of.
assessed their situation. They had an English car with a few modifications
to suit local design rules, and the local climate and manufacturing
system. They also had no car to compete with General Motors Holdens
mid-sized 6-cylinder Torana. The obvious answer was to put a six
into the Cortina. About 500 Cortina V6s had been imported from the
UK in 1971/72, but it was felt that the locally built straight sixes
used in the Falcon were more reliable (Ford Australia had not enjoyed
the Capri V6 experience), and the company of course had much expertise
with the local sixes. In addition, more modifications would have
been required to meet local design rules if the V6 had been used.
sixes (originally American designs) available for the Falcon were
available - 200 ci (3.3L) and 250 ci (4.1L). To fit in the straight
sixes the engine bay had to be lengthened. A new radiator support
panel was designed, and mounted 3" further forward. A new bonnet
with a slight bulge in it had to be fitted. The other way to externally
identify a six was by its quad headlights. Other Falcon parts were
used, including the 3-speed manual. The Falcons 3-speed auto was
made an option, as was the 4-speed manual ($53 extra) from the lethal
Falcon GT. The Falcon brake master cylinder, and steering and suspensions
parts were also used.
6-cylinder models appeared in November 1972. The resulting car wash
not blisteringly quicker than the 2000, but certainly ate up the
long Australian roads with much less effort. By this time a 1600
L was $2590, a 2000 L was $2675, and the XL was $2815. The base-model
six, a 3-speed manual 3.3L Cortina L, was $2895. This could be uprated
to a 4.1L for $75. An XLE model was now also available, a luxury
model, which sported such finery as a vinyl roof, snazzy hubcaps,
and bumper overriders.
six was a more relaxing car to drive, but, as could be expected,had
a poorly balanced, sloppy front end. The six was contender in the
1972 Wheels Car of the Year award, the year when the leading Australian
motoring magazine notoriously decreed there were "no suitable
contenders". Sales did go up, but then down again, and sales
of the sixes were being tripled by the Torana. Quality problems
continued, and Ford Australia were having difficulty in getting
components from the parent company.
1974 saw the release of the TD Cortina, the facelift that would
be known in the UK as the Mk.3 Series 2 - new grille, instrument
panel, exhaust, transmission linkage,better seating, ventilation,
and articulated wiper arms. The Falcons steering column was fitted,
while a bench seat was no longer available. The XLE picked up rectangular
headlamps. Many of these changes were to address past problems,
but Wheels had this to say:
big disappointment. We hoped for improvements beyond the obvious
changes, but failed to find any... on anything but smooth bitumen
the road-holding and handling is terrible and bits fall off. The
brakes fade away and the steering wheel can be torn out of the drivers
hands under hard braking on a loose surface. The 2000 engine, the
package size, gear change, driving position, new dashboard and steering
column stalks deserve something better."
they believed the six had all it deserved. A 4-cylinder manual L
was $3516, the six-cylinder was $3786. The XL four was$3699, while
the six was $3960. The wagon was an extra $291. Nothing much improved
until the release of the TE Cortina in July 1977, which was followed
by the TF in October 1980. These two cars are the Australian equivalents
of the two Mk.4. models.
TE and TF performed better, but it was a sign of how things had
changed in the Australian market when the Cortinas replacement,
the Mazda 626 clone, the Telstar, sold far better. Japanese cars
were dominating the four-cylinder market, where once most fours
sold were imported or locally assembled versions of UK or European
Fords. Only in recent years has that trend started to reverse, with
one example being that Ford now sells the Mondeo as its entry into
the medium-sized market.
we can see, the Mk.3, and even the Mk.4, have a poor image in Australia.
They are still a common sight on the roads, but few are treated
with any care, apart from those that are turned into street machines
- they make undoubtedly good-looking examples. Ive yet to come across
a restored Mk.3. Mk.1s and Mk.2s draw favourable recollections,
but the Mk.3 seems to remain side-note in Australian motoring history.
Perhaps in Australia it is the justly neglected non-classic?
Andrew Hardie 1997
CHASES AWAY THE FAULTS - from Wheels November 1973 (sent in
by Matthew Woolard)
Ford of Britain
has just released a new Cortina■Ford Australiaõs immediate reaction
was "there will be no change for some considerable time." But Australia
will see the improved Cortinaõs in April/May next year. MEL NICHOLS,
in London, has the story.
BRITAIN has released a new Cortina - with the main improvements
concentrating on ride and handling. The new car also has a completely
redesigned dashboard with new instrumentation, control layout and
ventilation system. There is a new grille, and a lot of work has
gone into making the car quieter. Overall, the aim is to make the
Cortina look and feel much more sophisticated.
new model goes on sale in England this month. It isn't known when
nor how many of the improvements will be incorporated into the Australian
Cortina. Officially, Ford Australia says only: "There will be no
change in our car for some considerable time," but local sources
inside Ford indicate the new Cortina, incorporating most of the
improvements, including the new interior, will go on sale in Australia
in the second quarter of 1974. But sooner the better - because the
õ74 modifications, particularly those to the control and instrument
layout, improve the car a lot. Essentially, the "aircraft" type
binnacle dashboard has been diced and replaced with a flat dashboard
similar to that of the Cortinas that preceded the TC model and also
the Fiat 132 sedan.
The accent is
on simplicity and ease of driver comprehension. More importantly,
the minor controls have all been switched over to a new stalk-operated
system. This gives you indicators and horn on one stalk on the left
of the steering column, and lights and wipers on two more stalks
on the right of it. Like the dashboard, the ventilation system returns
to a style almost identical to pre-TC Cortinas - Ford frankly admits
the slit vents in the top sections of the dash that it introduced
in the TC range donõt work well enough, and it has reverted back
to the old "eyeball" outlets.
has been given a very basic styling facelift: only the grille is
changed, apart from a couple of jazz-up flashes across the boot
panel on the higher-priced XL and E models. Instead of the basically
blacked-out grille with one central chrome strip running across
it, as on the current Australian Cortina, the new car has a more
pronounced and wider central band of horizontal strips that flow
across from side-to-side, giving the car a lower, more subtle appearance.
The headlights are now rectangular halogen units on the XL, E and
GT model, too, although whether or not the Australian car will use
them is another matter. Ford Australia may prefer to stick with
round headlights to maintain identification with the Falcon and
Fairlane, rather than the Escort.
the most work has gone into the suspension. Ford wanted to overcome
criticism of the Cortina's harsh ride and as a result it has softened
both the springs and shock absorbers, compensating by fitting anti-roll
bars front and rear. Previously, a roll bar was on the front of
only the GT and GXL models. To back up these modifications, the
bushes which insulate the body from the suspension sub frame have
been redesigned, increased in size and changed from rubber to micro-cellular
polyurethane. The steering geometry has also been slightly altered.
Under the bonnet, the only change is adoption of the 1 600cm3 American
Pinto-type overhead cam engine instead of the old-pushrod 1 600.
But the 1 600 TC Cortina sold so poorly in Australia it has been
dropped so this change wonõt make any difference here. To match
the new 1 600 engine, which develops 53.7Kw [72 bhp] at 5 500 rpm,
the ratios of the four-speed gearbox have been re-thought, and are
To improve drive-train
smoothness, the tailshaft is now a two-piece unit on all models.
Since the Australian Cortina uses a Falcon drive-train, this isn't
likely to affect our cars. As you get into the new Cortina, it seems
more airy and modern than the current Australian model. This impression
comes from the new dashboard, which doesnõt close in around you
quite like the old binnacle-style job. The dashboard is well-planned
and very functional-looking, but not at all unattractive. Coming
across from the left it gives you first the passenger's eyeball
event, then a wide, flat-lidded glovebox, a central section housing
the heater/vent controls and the radio, a small section beside that
for the cigarette lighter and two piano switches for the hazard
flashes and heated rear window. Then comes the wide instrument panel,
which houses a big tachometer, a smaller central split gauge for
fuel and temperature then the big 120 mph speedo with the driverõs
ventilation eyeball finishing it all off. The whole lot is topped
by a clean and fairly hefty padding surround.
The new instruments
are beautifully lucid. Simple dials with white figures on black
backgrounds and white needles, they look really good and work excellently.
A new rheostat for the instrument lighting is just below the driverõs
vent eyeball and is easy to reach. At night, the heater/vent controls
in the middle of the dash are lit. The small warning lights for
indicators left and right, oil pressure, headlight main beam and
electrical failure are arranged neatly in a strip between the tach
and speedo where they are easiest to see. Apart from the suspension
improvements, the new stalk-operated minor controls are the õ74
carõs most important feature. Ford has picked a rather different
system in that it uses three stalks instead of the more normal two.
It takes quite a while to get used to this - the confusing part
is having the indicator stalk on the left of the column, like that
of a Fiat. Some people at the British Press release were criticising
the placement because they said it was too much of a hassle having
the indicator stalk worked by the hand that has to look after the
gear changing or automatic selection. But really, itõs not a significant
point once you get used to the layout. In feel and in reach from
the wheel, the left stalk is excellent, placing the push-the-tip-in
horn right at your fingertips. On the other side of the column,
it is a little harder to reach the short stalk that turns the side
lights and then the headlights on and the flashers. The longer stalk
in front of it for the two-speed wipers is much better placed. In
total the system works well, and the sooner we get it on the Australian
car to replace those stupid toggle switches on the dashboard the
better. How much better does the car ride and handle? Well, the
ride feels immediately softer and more supple, though not by much,
and there is a feeling of better body control as you move down the
with the new roll bars front and rear the body does not move about
so much. In the corners, the car is tauter, more secure and pleasanter
to drive. It hangs on well and is more precise, although there is
still that centre vagueness in the rack and pinion steering, and
a period of little feeling at all as you move the wheel across dead-centre.
This is enough to let the car move about in moderate to strong winds
above 60 mph on the open road. The modified steering geometry and
revised suspension bushes eliminate harshness and a lot of feedback
from the steering, making the car nicer to drive on rougher roads.
But whether those modifications will be made on the Cortina Six
and can cure its problems remains to be seen. Certainly, though
you feel you can pitch the new 2-litre into the bends with more
security and enjoy it more than before. Which all means that the
car handles well. So far as the ride goes overall, it is better
but it is still not really good. You benefit from the softer springing
which makes cresting bumps a softer feeling because you come down
more gently and your highway ride is more relaxed and supple. However,
the basic design inefficiencies of the trailing arm/coil spring
rear suspension are shown when you counteract ripply surfaces and
you feel the shockers working pretty damned hard to keep it all
under control. If they ever [and they will] get a little soft your
backside is going to take a pounding. On bigger bumps you still
get a degree of tail hop, although not as soon nor as much as before.
There is about the same nose dive under brakes, but the car feels
more secure now.
England, Ford has supplemented the new range with an "E" model,
the equivalent of our XLE model. This car is a luxury package 2-litre
with real wood on the fascia and door tops and a really beautiful
new knitted nylon trim that Ford calls "Savannah". Soft and extremely
comfy to sit in, as well as very pleasing to the eye in its pale
shades, this trim really gives the E a luxury impression. It is
a new material that Ford says has proven exceptionally strong and
resistant to stains. However, it may not be suitable for Australiaõs
hotter, harsher conditions. Taking about heat, the new ventilation
outlet system is an improvement on the slit system of the Aussie
car. You get more volume and you can direct it better. Conditions
for judging the ventilation were appropriate: Merry Old England
has been hot this summer. Iõve been thinking Iõm in Victoria, not
the Olde Sod, for the past two months. Often with the heat it is
quite muggy, rather like the way it is in a Sydney February, and
on just such a day I found the new vents quite good. All up, Ford's
õ74 changes to the Cortina are gimmick-free, honest-to-goodness
been changed for changeõs sake, which is how it should be. Now itõs
just a matter of waiting until the good points are incorporated
into the Australian Cortina - although with the new and radically-changed
Torana coming up soon to give the Cortina curry itõs a pretty safe
bet Ford Australia will add in quite a few more modifications when
it does upgrade our car.