The last of the line, the Cortina 80 would herald the end for one of the most popular cars in British history...
Meet the old fleet car, same as the old one. More a facelift than a wholly new car, the Ford Cortina 80 (Or MK5 as everybody knew it) was a thorough upgrading of the previous MKIV. Whilst similar inside and out, few panels were shared – even the roof was a new, flatter panel. Designed for fleets, Ford Cortinas are reliable, roomy, sensible classics which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Families enjoyed them new, too.
As with the MKIV, check the door bottoms, the sills, both front and rear valance and the bulkhead. Whilst many Cortinas have led hard lives and may have become crumbly elsewhere, these are the classic rot spots for a Cortina 80. Also keep an eye on the boot floor and fuel filler area, if these have rotted out it’s bad news for the chassis, for they cover areas which were never rustproofed when new. As with the MKIV, the estate body dated back to the MK3 Cortina; panels are thus not unduly difficult to source.
Tried and tested units all; from the 1.3 Kent through Pinto to the 2.3 Cologne V6 – all however were modified to produce more power. Due to the ubiquity of these engines, parts should be simple to source in all cases. Both the Kent and Cologne are known for tappets, with fibre-tooth timing gears an additional cause for concern on the Cologne. The 1.6 and 2.0 Pintos need regular oil changes to prevent premature camshaft wear, and the timing belts need changing every 30000 miles. We recommend the 2.0 as the best compromise between economy and performance.
Again, this was carried straight over from the MK3 – a proven drivetrain which gives few issues in service. In addition, the fact that parts were common to Cortinas III, IV, and 80 ensures that there is a healthy stock of spares for those who may need them. Sierra 5 speed gearboxes – a common modification – need to be kept well topped up with oil; 5th gear is prone to oil starvation if forgotten. The differential casing rusts, causing leaks which can lead to a dry diff – watch the oil level there too. Heavy steering indicates worn track rod ends and ball joints, whereas sloppy handling is caused by worn void bushed on the rear trailing arms. Rubber replacements are not long lived; the poly bushes are a wiser investment.
The interior remained largely unchanged from the MKIV – and thus, unchanged from that used in the last of the MK3s. There are several models to choose from; from 2 door Base right up to Ghia S – check the trim, as whilst Cortinas are still easy to get parts for, it may be difficult to find trim in rare colours or specs. Note that there are few 2 door MKIVs or 80s left, so sourcing 2 door specific trim might not be terribly easy.
Why Should I Buy One?
There are two real reasons for buying a classic that in its day was seen as mundane. The first is nostalgia; we all know someone who had a ‘Tina and seeing one has the ability to make one feel six again. The second reason is pure sense; a car designed for daily use by family will still be perfectly capable of doing that job thirty years on; the Cortina makes an excellent daily classic for all the family. Should you be interested – and we could well understand why – be prepared for onlookers to gawp in amazement and for every stop to turn into a discussion!
Engine - 1993cc/4-cyl/OHC
Power - 102bhp@5200rpm
Torque - 114lb/ft@3500rpm
Top Speed - 102mph
0-60mph – 10.3 seconds
Economy – 24 mpg (urban cycle)
Gearbox – 4 speed manual