New Car Scoop:  The first Cortina Six

Source - Wheels June 1972

This is the “real" Cortina Six with bonnet power bulge and four headlights.  It’s not for Bathurst in 1972 but is a straight out challenge to the Torana sixes. (Click on the thumbnails below to get an enlarged image)

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If you want a six-cylinder Cortina get your order in now.  The long-awaited straight six Cortina will be released in June/July but in very limited numbers.  Prototype testing is still going on and it is possible the new cars will be held back even later.  With a complete change in series production regulations for 1973 this would have meant building a car for the tail end of just one season – a waste of development manpower.  Demand is so strong for the TC Cortina fours and the new Falcons that the Broadmeadows plant is working overtime trying to meet dealer orders – there just isn’t sufficient capacity to build vast numbers of the six.  These are the first genuine pictures of the Cortina Six.  They reveal two distinct body changes over the four cylinder models.  Most important is a power bulge in the bonnet which is a dead give-away for the six-cylinder engine.  Second is the fitting of four headlights.  We saw two cars – a sedan and station wagon – and they both carried the bonnet bulge and four headlights.  Otherwise there will only be small changes to the tail-lights and badge work.  This means Ford has been able to slot in the six cylinder engine without changing the car’s overall length and wheelbase.  A major achievement when you remember GMH had to lengthen the Torana wheelbase by 4.2 inches to accommodate the six-cylinder engine.  But there have been modifications under the hood and in the suspension department.  Strong negative camber on the front wheels is immediately obvious and the tyres seem to be of a wider section on wider wheels.  They may even be on 14 instead of 13-inch wheels.  Spring and shocker rates have been increased to cope with the additional power and weight of the six-cylinder models and also to improve the Cortina’s bouncy ride.  Retaining the same wheelbase has meant the tight, 31.5 ft turning circle hasn’t altered – a big feature because the full-sized Holden and Falcon now turn in 40 feet.  Ford will offer the car with three engines initially.  The base model will be powered by the 130 bhp, 200 cid engine with three-speed steering column gear change.  Optional will be both versions of the 250 engine, the single barrel unit with 155 bhp and the two-barrel [for the GT model] with 170 bhp.

Power bulge and four headlights reveal presence of straight six engine under Cortina skin.  Strong negative camber and big section tyres are necessary for good handling/ride compromise.  Ford engineers slotted the six-cylinder engine in without enlarging the Cortina’s wheelbase. [refer to picture]

The 250 model rates the three-speed box but the GT gets a four on the floor unit which will be optional with the other engines.  Automatic transmission will also be available throughout the range.  Ford has been experimenting with four-barrel versions of the 250 – these produce close to 200 bhp [148kw] – but has decided against going ahead with this.  It might be brought back in a race special for next year’s Bathurst.  Having a 200 cid engine as the base unit gives Ford a measurable superiority over the smallest Torana six engine which is only 138 cid.  In fact, the smallest Cortina six engine is just two cubic inches smaller than the biggest Torana six engine.  Shoehorning the engine into the compartment initially designed for the four hasn’t meant a great deal of modification.  The firewall has been reshaped and the radiator moved forward a fraction but otherwise the changes are minor.  The sump has been revised to clear the front cross member but in every other detail the engines will be exactly as they are in Falcons.  Inside the cars will follow current TC Cortina layout with few minor modifications, most of them to serve to identify the more expensive six-cylinder range.  Ford’s decision to build six-cylinder versions of the station wagon plugs the gap left in its wagon range when the XA wagon was released with a 116-inch wheelbase.  The Cortina six wagon will be almost exactly the same size as the first Falcon wagon.  Ford is planning to slip the sixes to the showrooms in much the same way it does with the GTHO each year.  There will be an official Press function but there won’t be a great blowing of trumpets in the advertising columns.  The lack of cars makes this pointless.  Mid-year looks like being a very busy time for the go-getters from Broadmeadows.  Not only will there be the new sixes but the Phase Four GTHO is scheduled for release in June and the dealers have been informed the two-door Falcon coupe is due for public release in July. Cortina six wagon caught on Ford’s high speed bowl at You Yangs.

This article was submitted by Matthew Woolard (June 2000).




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