On this day in auto history - July 22nd

Thu 22nd Jul 2021

It was on this day in 1982 that the last British-built Ford Cortina - one of the UK's best-selling cars ever - rolled off a production line at Dagenham.

Originally launched in 1962 with a name inspired by an Italian ski resort, the Mk1 Cortina was a non-nonsense family-sized car which was designed to be economical to run and could be purchased for as little as £573.

Such was its success, it spawned five generations in all and helped Ford gain a market leadership in the UK which it has never relinquished.

The Ford Cortina comfortably became the UK's best-selling car of the 1970’s, topping the table for nine out of 10 years between 1972 and 1981, the exception being 1976 when it was narrowly outsold by its stablemate, the Ford Escort.

In all, over 2.8 million Cortinas were sold in Britain during its 20-year production life, making it the fourth best-selling nameplate in the history of British motoring behind only the Ford Fiesta, Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra.

Due to its practicality and perceived reliability, the Ford Cortina was a popular second-hand buy and it remained a common sight on Britain’s roads well into the 1990’s, long after it had been succeeded in Ford’s line-up by the less popular Sierra.