September 1962 – Debut Ford Cortina Mark I model was launched. Originally, the model was supposed to be Ford Consul 325. The name was changed in the favor of inspirational Italian ski resort Cortina d’Ampezzo. Ford Cortina Mark I was designed to become an inexpensive family car to run in Britain.
February 1963 – Due to the joint work of Ford and Lotus, Lotus Cortina with high-powered, twin-cam version of the Ford engine, suspension tweaks and steering modifications, as well as the use of aluminum body panels to save weight appeared. The car was developed with the aim to bring Ford company success in the highly competitive Group 2 Touring Car series.
1964 – Ford Cortina GT with Australian race car driver Ian “Pete” Geoghegan behind the wheel won the Australian Touring Car Championship. The same year, Jim Clark behind the wheel of Cortina Lotus won the British Saloon Car Championship.
1966 – A new version of the Cortina, the Mark II model was released. The car with more interior space and some other improvements was released with the slogan “New Cortina is more Cortina”. The next year, the Mark II became the most popular car in Britain.
1967 – The first Lotus Cortina Mark II model was released. In comparison to Lotus Cortina Mark I, the Mark II model was made exactly at Dagenham, alongside the other Cortinas.
1970 – The biggest selling car in Britain, Ford Cortina Mark III was revealed. With the course of time, even nearly 50 years after its first release, the Mark III became one of the rarest and desired models ever produced by Ford of Britain.
1976 – Ford Cortina Mark IV with a renewed body and some other improvements was introduced. During the period between 1976 and 1979, the Mark IV was the most popular British car.
August 1979 – The Mark V, officially known as “Cortina 80”, the final model of the Ford Cortina, was announced. The model was produced until 1982.
July 22, 1982 – The very last Cortina, a silver Crusader, rolled off the Dagenham production line. Nevertheless, there were a few Cortinas left to be produced in 1987.
The one final unregistered Cortina GL left a Derbyshire dealership in 2005. To this day, it still remains in existence. The last Cortina built now belongs to the Ford Heritage Centre in Dagenham, Essex, a place situated not far from the factory it was produced.
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