That’s right – this beautifully restored Cortina was originally a CKD (complete knock-down) kit sent from Ford UK to Australia and assembled at the Ford plant in New South Wales. Ford of Australia imported CKD kits for model years ’63 & ’64 and then switched to SKD (semi-knocked-down) kits for subsequent model years incrementally adding locally-produced parts and eventually pressing their own bodies.
According to the body tag this Cortina was assembled in November 1963 and its provenance confirmed by the MK1 Cortina owners club. Such a clean, tasteful design is apparent in Ermine White with it’s simple grille, conservative wheel trim and lack of body-side adornment. All export Cortinas utilized a heavy duty body shell which was also used as a base for the Lotus variants.
It appears that either the door has been left ajar in this photograph or the door gap is simply a little on the wide side. This restoration is believed to have been focused on returning the vehicle to as-produced condition so if that is the case this Cortina may have left the factory with such gaps. Again the clean lines are apparent here especially without the Aeroflow vent trim and Lotus-inspired stripe. One can get a clear view of the shape and contour of the factor sheet metal. The formal roofline and those iconic taillights round out the sanitary appearance of this example and allow the observer to feel the body designer’s intent.
The red seats and door cards really make the interior pop and add a hint of excitement to an otherwise utilitarian cabin. The aftermarket steering wheel doesn’t distract much and will most likely be appreciated by the new owner however thankfully the seller includes the original component. For those who cherish simplicity this is a good place to be.
Under the bonnet is where the most liberty has been taken during the restoration. However, given the nature of this particular Ford, the deviations should be welcomed by all but the most devoted purist. As anyone who has spent time with a base-level Cortina could attest, the things could use a bit more power! That is what has been tastefully done here. The owner chose a simple upgrade to GT-spec power rather than the more typical twincam upgrade – or more serious V6 or Pinto swap. In addition a more stout transmission has been fitted in the form of a bulletproof 2000E gearbox. Although not race-level preparation, the power upgrade as well as the addition of GT suspension components (including disc brakes) will certainly provide a more pleasurable driving experience.
Overall this is a great little Cortina that can be driven and enjoyed and will certainly attract a lot of attention at car shows here in the states. The restoration is fresh, the clean design uncluttered, and the driving experience improved – what more could one ask for? Find it for sale here at Minchins in Chichester, West Sussex for £14,750.