Cortina Mk 3


The Crayford Cortina MK.2 had become Crayford’s best ever selling car with over 400 sales, due mostly to its clean open style and a long production run of over four years. But in 1970 the Ford Motor Company introduced an all new Mk.3 Cortina with its distinctively American coke bottle look. Crayford followed on with a Mk3 Crayford Cortina, which also took on a new direction, it was not even called a convertible, but a “Sunshine Conversion” in its press literature. Like French and Italian predecessors, ie the Fiat 500 and Renault, it had a full length sunroof that folded all the way back down to the boot. Retaining its side -windows and roof gutters helped maintain more of the convertible’s upper body strength. As an option the main hood support bar in the centre at the B post, could also be dropped with the hood. This gave all 5 passengers clear open sky views, or in the up position it was also a safety roll hoop.

All Mk.1 & 2 cars had to be stripped completely internally and then, interiors rebuilt after the conversions, this was an expensive process that kept production down to two cars a week. With the more simple conversion on the Mk.3 sunshine roof, gone was the fully open Crayford look but build speed doubled and so did profits, total production over a long run again reached 400-plus sales. But as David McMullan the MD once said, it was our best profit maker ever, so it has to be my favourite Crayford.

The Mk.3 had an opposite number in Germany, where it was marketed as the Ford Taunus convertible, notable for its more square body sides. Crayford’s German partners Carl Deutsch of Cologne had been building convertibles as far back as the 17M and built all Crayford cabriolets under licence.

A Cortina Mk3 Cabriolet did make it as far as the artwork but not production and looked even more handsome with the hood up than the sunshine roof.

Any fully open Mk.3 convertible you may come across, and there are a few, is not a Crayford but homemade. The most sort after Crayford Mk.3 has to be the GT or GXL with its four headlights, and a dash that took on the maximum American influence.

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