The new Cortina is more Cortina” read the advertising slogans when the Mark II was launched in 1966, but at 4,267mm long, the Roy Haynes designed car was shorter than the first generation model. It was roomier though thanks to a wider body and Ford had made improvements to the suspension and blessed it with a shorter turning circle.
Once again, a coupé and a saloon were offered in Base, Deluxe, Super and GT trims (an estate came along in 1967) and the Mk II would go on to become the most popular car in Britain. Enthusiasts sure enjoyed the peppier 1600E (it had the GT 1600 Kent engine, lowered suspension, luxury walnut trim and sports steering wheel) but things got even better when the Blue Oval revealed the successor to the much-loved Lotus Cortina.
The Mk I had enjoyed a lot of success on European race tracks thanks to the special treatment it received by Lotus engineers — not to mention legendary drivers such Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Sir John Whitmore and Frank Gardner at the wheel — but now, the range-topper was developed in-house at Boreham and built at the Dagenham plant. This was a Ford product, not a Lotus one and so the Cortina name came before Lotus this time around. Its 1,558cc twin-cam straight four engine with dual Weber side-draught carburettors made 109bhp and it could hit 100kph from rest in 11.0 seconds. Mated to a four-speed manual, it offered a very sporty ride thanks to the independent front suspension with McPherson struts, coil springs and an anti-roll bar, while at the back it had a live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs.
It was available in a wide variety of colours (the original could only be had in white) but they are hard to come by these days. If you get lucky, you’ll need around Dh100,000 to make it yours.