Born with the Anglia 105E in 1959, the 997cc Ford Kent engine (using contemporary designations) was an overhead-valve (OHV) inline 4-cylinder – with 2 valves per cylinder and 3 main bearings – cast in iron. Originally the cylinder head was fitted with both the intake and exhaust manifolds on the same side (intake and exhaust ports next to each other), which was declining in use at the time, however is important to the classification of the Kent engine. Kent is the name of an English county across the river Thames from the Ford Dagenham plant (east of London) where many Cortinas were built. This first “Kent” was utilized in 5 different Ford models (39-78 bhp) as well as in a few specialty vehicles; even in it’s initial guise the Kent provided an excellent base for motorsports applications.

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After a redesign of the engine in 1967, which placed the intake and exhaust ports on opposite sides of the head, the Kent became alternatively known as the Ford Crossflow. The Crossflow also offered a sturdier block with 5 main bearings which delighted the racing teams who expanded their competition engine programmes with much success. This engine lived on for many years in both production and motorsports and as of 2016 the Kent block was still being manufactured by Ford for speciality applications.

So the Cortina was powered initially by the pre-Crossflow Kent or in the case of the Lotus Cortina the pre-Crossflow block, modified and transformed into the Lotus Twincam engine. The Mark 2 then debuted the Crossflow but also offered the pre-Crossflow Kent as well as the Lotus Twincam. When the Mark 3 debuted the pre-Crossflow was no longer available however the Pinto single overhead-cam (SOHC) engine appeared alongside the Crossflow. The Ford Crossflow (aka Ford Kent) engine was available in the Cortina for the remainder of its production.