Cortina Mk. 4

THE CRAYFORD CORTINA MK.4

In 1976 Ford launched the new Cortina Mk.4, the first three Cortina models had each sold over a million cars. For some the Mk.3 had been a little bit too American in its styling but with the Mk.4 Cortina Ford proclaimed an all-new European look with a larger, light and airy, glass cabin, it would be marketed across Europe with both Cortina and Taunus badges. Crayford soon followed with the Mk.4 convertible, choosing to adopt a similar roof layout to the Mk.3 Crayford, which had only been a sunshine roof conversion, mainly because it was simple, fast to convert, and financially very successful – it had been Crayford’s most profitable Cortina with over 400 sold.

The Cortina Crayford Mk.4 would elevate their convertibles to a higher level, with new incoming safety legislation, and a demand for more power and luxury. To meet these challenges Crayford went for a more open convertible but incorporated an integral single hoop roll bar to provide a very stiff shell. This would be developed and improved even further on some later Mk.4 Crayford Cortina’s when they where given a new ‘T’ roll bar, very similar to the Triumph Stag and Reliant GTE convertible. All these convertibles were expected to have to pass the ministry rollover crash testing in the near future.

Marketing for the Mk.4 Cortina Crayford took a new direction too, gone was the passing on of single pre-paid orders between dealers and the factory. Just after the October Motor Show Crayford met with the directors of Bristol Street Motors (Birmingham) at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, London. After a freezing drive in the new open Mk.4 around the roads of Hyde Park, the directors returned to the Dorchester for a warming meal. Following a lot of brandy, Bristol Street Motors were persuaded to sign a deal to supply 35 vehicles and take on the sole Mk.4 convertible franchise. It provided regular work over the quieter winter months, and after Crayford’s Heinz order for 57 Hornets, this was one of Crayford’s largest single orders.

Today, only 11 survivors are known to the club, and they are hardest of all the Crayford Cortina’s to find.

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