This is a list of the 1970s European Cars of the Year. No mention of the real winner of the best car of that decade. Hindsight is a fine thing. Realisation is even better, but really the best car of the 1970s was the Mk 4 Cortina,
Talking of Ghia (which Ford had brought by then) and so labelled their top model (and for years to come) I believe styled the Mark 4. To my eyes it’s the happiest and best looking of all the Cortina models. The Mk4 has a better roof line than the flattop Mk 5. (more Ghiaish?)
The Mark 3 was the big development and left everything in its wake. I’m sure Harley Copp looked at the Rover and Triumph 2000s and thought ‘nice cars’... We could do this cheaper and better. Suddenly with the advent of an American engine (from the Pinto) it was all on.
Quite simply in the 70s the Cortina / Taurus was way ahead of the pack. It performed better, it rode and handled better than any of its competitors. It brought European handling to the masses. Everything suddenly looked old fashioned. It held the Japanese at bay from complete domination of the New Zealand market. It was the best seller and nothing could get close.
After the Mk5 Ford moved on we got the Telstar (Really a Mazda 626) and the Seirra Wagon.(Really a Mk 5 in a jelly mould shape. Things have never been the same since for Ford. The Toyota Corolla took over as best selling car.
In the collectors market 70s Cortina’s are non event. Escorts get collected, (But I’m not a great fan , having driven too many 1.1 litre autos a common variant in NZ)
Time hasn’t been kind to the 70s Cortinas, but really they are a great car, They still feel good today, They feel substantial, modern but classic. They outperform all their contemporaries in nearly every way and their handling and poise wasn’t beaten by the Japanese till the 90s. They deserve better.