Ford Cortina was launched in September 1962, just a month after the
Morris 1100. BMC were going for the maximum space in a small family
saloon but Ford decided to stick to the tried and tested formula of
the very popular Anglia 105E with an overhead valve engine, four speed
gearbox, MacPherson strut front suspension and recirculating ball
steering. Of course the 1100 on the other hand boasted the then
revolutionary Hydrolastic suspension. Both the Cortina and the 1100
were available in 2 or 4 door saloons.
Many people wonder why BMC were worried about the Ford Cortina, and
why it was classed as a rival, perhaps the biggest reason was what
Ford fitted under the bonnet. Up until January 1963 the Cortina was
fitted with an 1198cc engine. Then for a cost of £84 you could have
had an optional extra of a 1498cc. The 1100 was only fitted with the
1098cc engine, and with the Extra power under the Cortina's bonnet BMC
thought they'd loose out.
It is important however to remember that the "family" car BMC were
producing was smaller than the Cortina. Not only the length, but the
height and the width. Therefore the car was easier to park, and there
was less to wash! BMC also had got themselves a winner in the leg room
department, the 1100 boasted more front and rear passenger leg room.
Also launched in January 1963 was the 1500 Super that was immediately
identified by the chrome tapered strips along the side flutes. Later
in the same month came the GT launch. The 1500 engine under the bonnet
of this sports Cortina was fitted with twin choke Webber carburettor,
disc brakes on the front wheels, remote gear change and modified
suspension. March 1963 saw the Estate car added to the range, the 1200
deluxe and the 1500 super , the latter being identified by the
American style mock wood panelling on the sides and tailgate. 'Woody'
panelling was available only as an optional extra on the 1200 models.
Ford again had added, a sporty model to range, and not forgetting a
versatile estate car. Both of which would come along later in the BMC
1100 range, but its because of the speed Ford could get their range
moving. Despite this BMC knew that the Ford's were "gas guzzlers" and
the 1100 gave better fuel consumption touring, and overall.
The final model launched to complete the range was the 'Lotus modified
Cortina'. However by this time BMC had launched the MG version of the
1100, and the Austin version was on its way. While Ford had claimed
the "Bank Mangers", BMC had a ball in every court, and a model to
suite everyone's motoring needs.
19 Selling features of the 1100 over the Ford Cortina: