Almost exactly a year after the MkII Cortina was launched, Ford made two big announcements at the Paris Motor Show on 13th October 1967.The first was a new series of engines, the Heron “Bowl In Piston” Crossflow Kent engine.
Ford said “The new 1,298cc unit (Deluxe saloons and estate cars) develops 5.5 BHP more than the 1967 engine of identical capacity, giving a total power output of 63 BHP (gross). On Super models (saloons and estate cars) there is a new 1,599 cc engine which gives over 20% more power than the previous 1,499 cc unit. GT engine capacity has also been increased to 1,599.”
Talking more about the GT Cortinas, Ford told us “the bowl-in-piston/crossflow head design gives 92 BHP compared with the former figure of 83.5. From 0-60 mph takes only 12.5 seconds and maximum speed is raised from 91 to 95 mph. Yet the car still gives touring fuel consumption of around 31.5 mpg.”
Tremendously successful for Ford, they would still be using the crossflow engine as late as 1982 in the Fiesta XR2 with it making a comeback, albeit in a much modified form, in the first generation Ka. Originally only 1300cc and 1600cc versions were available, but an 1100cc was soon added not just for the MkI Escort but also for the MkII Cortina in certain export markets.
The press fleet of MkIIs used to launch the new Crossflow engines wore a series of WEV **F number plates.One of them, WEV 26F, a Super in Saluki Bronze was liked so much by one of the journalists that tested it that he bought it for himself. His widow later donated the car back to Ford where it remains today as part of the company’s Heritage Collection. We were very honored to have been allowed to borrow it to display as part our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2016.
Alongside the new engines came the last major model to be added to the MkII Cortina range, the 1600E.
It was built around the 4 door heavy duty body shell and has often been rather poorly described as just “a GT with Twin Cam suspension”, but the 1600E was so very much more.
On the inside it featured extra sound deadening, deep pile carpets, reclining front seats, deep dish leather trimmed steering wheel, a cigar lighter, polished wood dashboard and door caps and a spare wheel cover in the load area. On the outside there was additional badging, twin driving lamps, matt black radiator grille, a narrow hand painted coach stripe, and, initially at least, full chrome Rostyle wheels. The 1600E also had dual tone horns and an internal bonnet release.
It all added up to a luxurious package that the buying public absolutely loved and is still many peoples favourite MkII Cortina model today. Ford would go on to build 57,524 1600Es with 2749 of them using a 2 door body shell. The 2 door 1600E was primarily aimed at export markets so all but a handful were left hand drive.
The 2 door 1600E appeared later, after the facelift in 1968
October 1967 also saw a few other revisions made to the MkII Cortina range. Amongst them were the centre consoles of the GTs and Twin Cams (and the new 1600Es) gaining a clock while the remote gear change – though not the gear ratios – of the GTs was added to the Supers.
The Deluxes gained the same door trim cards and also the vinyl covered dashboards from the other models. A redesigned heater was introduced across the whole range. This was to include a new matrix to change the position of its supply pipes through the bulkhead, a slightly different casing, and the aeroflow controls were moved from either side of the dashboard ash tray to the centre of the eyeball vents. All models also benefitted with a breakaway rear view mirror mounting to increase occupant safety.
Soon after the crossflow engines had arrived Ford started building GT versions of the Estates. These special order only cars were never mentioned in any of the Cortina’s advertising or brochures so few were ever sold. Out of a total of 90,290 estates built it is believed only 877 were given GT treatment with just 77 of those being Series I cars, making this the rarest factory MkII model by a long way.
Hand finished by Ford’s SVO team, a part built Super was taken off the production line at Dagenham to be given the GT specification, slightly modified to suit the estate body shell.