The 1600E is a cult car these days, and I'm sure it was viewed with just as much affection at the time by Ford, because it was a 'parts bin' car, whose development time could be measured in weeks, and sold like the proverbial - a bean-counter's dream.
It was introduced with the crossflow engine in autumn 1967, at £982.2s.1d (inc. delivery and purchase tax). The basic package was a Cortina GT, with the very low Lotus-Cortina suspension settings, a sexy paint job, a plush interior, and those groovy Rostyle 5.5"J rim wheels.
Identifying badges appeared on the bootlid and on the C-pillars, plus the car also featured extra driving lamps mounted in the grille using support brackets, and reversing lights mounted on the body underneath the rear bumper. You could also spot one by its blacked-out grille. All kinds of snazzy colours were used that normally appeared on more upmarket Fords, and many cars were sold with a vinyl roof.
The crossflow engine put out 88 bhp at 5400 rpm at a 9.0:1 compression ratio. Top speed was just under the ton, and the 0-60 time was 11.8 seconds. Mileage was about 25 miles to the gallon (Imperial gallon, that is).
The interior was based on the GT, but featured polished wood veneer on the dash and below the windows, a steering wheel with a padded leather-covered rim and alloy spokes, and a leather gearshift gaiter. On the floor were black cut pile carpets, the front bucket seats fully reclined, the centre console featured a clock, and static seatbelts were fitted, with inertia-reel belts an option. In the boot the spare got its own cover.
For some reason, Ford deemed that 1600Es would only
be available in four-door form in the UK, with two-doors being assembled
only for export markets, and this only began in 1969. Also for 1969,
the 1600E picked up all the changes that were made to the Cortina GT,
namely a new grille, dash, handbrake location, gearchange mechanism,
and gearbox casing, and the addition of an internal bonnet release and
fully fused electrical system. Some changes unique to the 1600E were
a black finish on the tail panel, more contoured rear seats, and a new
Priced midway between the GT and the Lotus-Cortina, the 1600E took a little while to get going, but soon over 1000 were being built every month, and by 1969 this figure reached over 2000. The last 1600E was built in August 1970, after 55,833 four-doors and 2,749 two-doors had been built.
A brief driver's impression is recorded in 'Thoroughbred
& Classic Cars', June 1978:
There, so if being 'susceptible to sidewinds' bothers you, don't buy one...
The 1600E was never marketed in Australia, while New Zealand had a bit of a 1600E copy in its own unique model, the GTE (an 'executive' GT I suppose). I'll let Tony Braam supply the details:
"From what I've read, the GTE of NZ equates mostly to the specifications of the 1600 GT which was exported to America. It has a wooden dash like the 1600E and also a wooden gear knob, but not door cappings. It has Lucas driving lights, no Rostyles, but standard 4.5" rims with fancy wheel covers. It came standard with radial ply tyres with red wall stripes. It came in metallic colours, silver, blue, green, brown, maybe others, with side stripes either in black or red, these are narrow above wide above another narrow. The interiors were either in black or brown I think, and they have a vinyl roof, and a matt black grill and back panel. It has an internal boot release beside the driver's seat, and a fully carpeted boot with a covered spare wheel. GTE badges are on the lower side front panels and there's one on the boot lid. It cost $3445 when new, a review of the time said that they are mechanically the same as the 1600E."
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