In 1979, the ever-successful Cortina received yet another update. It was enough for Ford’s mid-range saloon to retain the mantle as the UK’s best-selling car until 1982, an achievement which the model had maintained in consecutive years for a decade. In any event, as it was eventually toppled from the top spot by the Escort, this probably didn’t unduly concern Ford's management.
The MkV had a new, wider grille, flatter roof and even more glass area than its predecessor, surviving until the controversial yet hugely successful Sierra was unveiled. The old model thrived thanks to a number of limited edition, added value models.
The final and most successful limited edition Cortina was called the Crusader and was available with a 1.3-litre Kent engine or larger 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre overhead cam Pinto units. Over 30,000 Crusader special editions were sold, the plush upholstery and excellent value making sure that the vital fleet market continued to appreciate the winning formula.
Dating from the last year of Cortina production, this Caribbean Blue Crusader 1.6 was supplied new by Autosales of Holywell, Clwyd, to a Susan Sykes of Rhyl in August 1982. It has had five further keepers since then and has been in the current ownership since 2002.
There is a good history file with the car including nine old MOTs from 1993 to 2016 during which time the mileage rose from 58,935 to 75,908. Various invoices show regular upkeep over the years including a major service, brake overhaul and localised body repairs in January 2015 at a cost of £882. A new carburettor and four new tyres were also fitted in 2016.
Supplied with all its original handbooks in the original wallet, it also retains its original Dagenham factory specification sheet, a 1979 Ford Cars catalogue, Haynes workshop manual and old-style V5. Appearing to be in very original condition throughout and running nicely as we moved it around for these photos, it is due to have a fresh MOT in time for the sale.
These MkIV Cortinas are good-looking cars and (whisper it) can easily be uprated by fitting later Zetec or Duratec engines and transmissions to give modern car performance in a classic package.