Ford Cortina Mark III (1970–1976)
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 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.
MK3 Cortina with Cosworth Turbo
The MacPherson strut front suspension was replaced with more
conventional double A-arm suspension to give the car a soft
'freeway' ride. The larger engines induced distinct under steer.
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
Cortina Mark 3 seen in 1983
Cortina Mark III
2-door convertible (conversion)
2-door pickup (P100)
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)
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.
In late 1973, the car received a facelift. 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.
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 instead of the
faux wood-grain trim offered by the GXL.
From 1972, the third generation Cortina was the most popular new
car in Britain. 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
For Japan, the cars were literally squashed by a few millimetres
at each end on arrival in the country in order that they fit into a
lower tax bracket.
In British television series Life on Mars, DCI Gene Hunt
drives a then-current bronze Ford Cortina 2000E dressed to resemble
an earlier GXL.
Cortina III 2000E 1973
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