The second incarnation of the Cortina was designed by Roy Haynes, and launched on 18 October 1966, four years after the original Cortina. Although the launch was accompanied by the slogan “New Cortina is more Cortina”, the car, at precisely 168 inches (430 cm) long, was fractionally shorter than before. Nevertheless, 21⁄2 inches (6.4 cm) of extra width and curved side panels did give the car a measurable improvement in interior space. In addition to the wider body and track, headline improvements included a smaller turning circle, softer suspension, self adjusting brakes and clutch together with the availability on the smaller-engined models, for the UK and some other markets, of a new five bearing 1300 cc engine.
A stripped-out 1200 cc version running the engine of the Ford Anglia Super was also available for certain markets where the 1300 cc engine attracted a higher rate of tax. The 1500 cc engines were at first carried over, but for 1967, they received a new crossflow cylinder head design, making them more efficient. At this time, they became 1600 cc in size, with the Lotus Cortina continuing with its own unique engine.
Again, a Lotus version was produced (this time done in-house at Ford) but the most admired was the 1600E that came out in late 1967.
The Cortina was Britain’s most popular new car in 1967, achieving the goal that Ford had been trying to achieve since it set out to create the original Cortina back in 1960.
Again, two-door and four-door saloons were offered with base, Deluxe, Super, GT and, later, 1600E trims available, but again, not across all body styles and engine options. A few months after the introduction of the saloon versions, a four-door estate was launched, released on the UK market on 15 February 1967: much was made at the time of its class topping load capacity.
The Cortina 1600E, marketed to broaden the Cortina’s appeal into a higher market segment, was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1967, a year after the arrived of the Cortina Mark II . It combined the lowered Lotus Cortina’s suspension with the high-tune GT 1600 Kent engine and luxury trim featuring a burr walnut woodgrain-trimmed dashboard and door cappings, bucket seating, sports steering wheel and full instrumentation inside, while a black grille, tail panel, front fog lights and plated Rostyle wheels featured outside.
Ford New Zealand developed its own variant of this model called the GTE.
For 1969, the Mark II range was given subtle revisions, with separate “FORD” block letters mounted on the bonnet and boot lids, a blacked out grille and chrome strips on top and below the taillights running the full width of the tail panel marking them out.
A 3.0-litre Essex V6-engined variant was developed privately in South Africa by Basil Green Motors, and was sold through the Grosvenor Ford network of dealers as the Cortina Perana; a similar model appeared later in Britain and was known as the Cortina Savage. Savage was available with 1600E trim in all three body styles, while her South African stablemate was offered only as 4-door saloon initially with GT trim and later E trim.