Ford's Cortina is coming back

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IOL mot mar31 Cortina . The reincarnated Cortina will be a completely new car for the modern age, although its design will be influenced by past models like the fifth-generation pictured here.

As the clock strikes noon, we have to confess that this was an April Fool’s joke, although most readers appear to have figured that out already. Hope you enjoyed the laugh and happy April 1!

Last year Nissan announced that it was wiping the mothballs off its Datsun brand and the move has had nostalgic car fanatics from around the world chinking their glasses in celebration.

Now Ford wants a slice of that action, although it will be reincarnating a model series rather than a brand. That model is none other than the Cortina and it's going to be designed, albeit overseas, with a fair degree of input from South Africa and other countries where the Cortina was popular.

Although the announcement has been under strict embargo until now, Ford did recently allow selected media to interview some of the important people involved in the project, prior to today's announcement.

Ford is going right back to grassroots level with this project and has commissioned numerous Cortina fans to provide input that will help Ford create the ultimate modern Cortina.

Ford calls them Cortina Ambassadors and IOL was afforded the privilege of interviewing one of them at his home - although his name has been withheld at Ford's request (his nickname is 'Kortie' and it has nothing to do with his size).

Arriving at his home, I'm greeted by a tantalising selection of Cortinas dating back as far as the '60s, although the majority of his cars are fifth-generation Cortinas, which were the last ever produced.

I hardly had a moment to admire the metal before being called over to inspect his workshop. Actually it was more of a bellow with some colourful language thrown in, something I'll take as a sign of his enthusiasm. I step into his lounge to find a work bench and loads of greasy car parts laid out on pieces of newspaper to protect the carpet beneath them.

Although his wife is deeply unhappy with the arrangement, the Ambassador tells me it's the only way in which he can strip engines and watch the rugby at the same time, before pouring a brandy and Coke for us.

Not being much of an early morning drinker, I politely decline, although I suspect there was some revenge in my coffee.

OLD VERSUS MODERN

In the hope of finding out more about what the next Cortina will be like, I cut to the chase by asking him about his encounters with Ford's design and development teams. I hit a raw nerve here. He feels completely betrayed by the fact that Ford is planning to use its new 1-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine in the new Cortina.

“That's for sissies, man. One litre is a bottle brandy, not an engine. If they make a new Cortina, it must be a three-litre,” Kortie quipped angrily.

Not even the news that Ford's 1-litre is a hugely sophisticated engine that's almost as powerful (not to mention significantly more economical) than the old three-litre could change his mind. He's quite adamant that any engine worth its salt must have a displacement of at least 3000 cubic centimetres. Pretty much one for every bar fight that he's won, he laughs.

Another thing our Cortina man is pushing for is a bakkie version, and I must admit that I fully agreed with him on this point - as I did with the rear-wheel drive suggestion - but opinions diverged somewhat when he suggested rear louvres as standard fitment on all models.

Kortie has gone to great lengths to dictate to Ford how the reincarnated Cortina should turn out. He's even prepared a selection of beige and brown carpet designs that he believes Ford needs to glue to the dashboard of the new models to protect the plastic from the sun and add some spice to the cabin.

Yet many questions remain and quite franky we doubt whether much of the aforementioned input will actually influence the final project. We’ll have to wait another two years until Ford reveals its new Cortina to the world.

How would you suggest Ford tackles the project?



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