The MkI Ford Cortina was launched by Ford of England in September 1962. At first it was known as the 'Consul Cortina', from 1964 onwards the Consul name was dropped. The Cortina was named after the Italian winter resort 'Cortina di Ampezzo', where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held.
In the late 1950's, Ford had the Anglia 105E at one end of the market, and the MkII Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac range at the other. The market in between was filled up with cars like the Vauxhall Victor, the Hillman Minx, and and the Austin A55 Cambridge. Ford began work on a car for this market segment, and the Ford Classic made its debut in 1961. It looked like an oversized Anglia and turned out to be a quite expensive car to produce. There was still room left for another cheaper, simpler model.
The goal for the Cortina was to keep production costs low, whilst giving the best possible performance and fuel economy. This meant that planned features like an independent rear suspension were shelved. To further minimise production costs, but also due to limited development time, mechanical components from other Fords were used. Styling was completed in 9 months, finalised by the end of 1959.
The first Cortinas were all fitted with an engine based on the 1000 cc Kent engine that first appeared in the Anglia, stroked up to 1200 cc (1198 cc). In January 1963 a 1500 cc (1498 cc) engine became an option.
Cortinas were firstly available in standard or Deluxe form, with only two-doors available, but four-doors became available in October 1962. The standard cars had a simple painted grille and painted headlamp surrounds. In January 1963 followed the introduction of a Super Deluxe, in two and four-door models, which had the 1500 cc engine as standard equipment. The Lotus-Cortina also appeared in early 1963. An estate model was released in March 1963. A GT model was released in April 1963.
The MkI was replaced by the MkII model in September 1966. Total MkI production was 1,010,090 units.
Ford Consul Cortina Standard 1962
Ford Consul Cortina Super Deluxe 1963
Ford Cortina GT 1965
Ford Cortina GT 1965
Ford Consul Lotus Cortina 1963