In South Africa Ford sold Cortinas with the V6 engine from their larger car ranges – the 3 litre Essex V6. This 1974 Taunus-Cortina looks great in top specification (the GXL level wasn’t available in the market). Soft and curvy – in fact a lot like Ford’s popular models in the States.  Just smaller – and with smaller engines. Check out the early ’70s US Fords for clear evidence of which side of the pond this new styling direction was coming from.

I try to imagine this car being bought new in South Africa and who the buyer would have been given the system of apartheid that was in place. Its looks luxurious in top spec but it is still a Cortina. I can’t imagine.

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As with the “coke bottle” styling, the headlight configuration can be divisive – globally several different combinations were produced; round, rectangular and quads at least. It really looks like a practical car from our perspective today however for the time it could have been considered an entry-level luxury car.  Overall the styling is well balanced and the form appears solid and trustworthy.

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The back seats look extremely comfortable and appear in such nice condition. Again the mind wanders in search of scenarios; how did it remain in such great shape? The seller provides no detail as to the history of the car prior to being brought back to the UK or as to how it survived the typical manner in which Cortinas were used, abused and otherwise driven into the dirt.  Unfortunately no photos are provided of the front half of the interior.

The seats and door panels appear very well made and have survived nicely.

The seller does provide a nice shot under the bonnet. Globally, the big-bore V6 was the best match for the Mark 3 Cortina because it was more powerful than the inline-four options and better packaged than the inline-six variant available in Australia. During its lifespan the Mark 3 Cortina would be fitted with 9 different engines.

Compact power provided by the 60-degree OHV V6 constructed entirely of cast iron.

Although some aftermarket bits have been fitted the new owner should appreciate the headers and less restrictive intake air filter assembly. Alternator and visible brake system components look clean and contribute to a tidy engine compartment.  Notably, the Essex V6 was the starting point for the Cosworth GA racing engine programme which produced engines that powered Ford Capris in Group 2 racing at the time. The Cosworth iteration featured, like many of their programmes, alloy dual-overhead camshaft (DOHC) heads and had a 3.4 litre capacity.

Find this eXtra Luxury version of the South African Big Six here at Affordable Classics, Essex, UK for £8995.