OK, we know this site is all about RS Escort’s but we like most old Ford’s and the Cortina 1600E is no exception. Couple that with the fact that in 2012 the Ford Cortina celebrated its 50th Anniversary (and we also happen to like football), we thought this would make an interesting feature.
Now here’s a sight you wouldn’t see these days. The year is 1970 and it’s the England World Cup football squad. However, unlike today there’s not an Aston Martin, Bentley or Ferrari in sight…. just a batch of Cortina 1600E’s.
Back then, England were the current World Champions having won the 1966 World Cup four years previously at Wembley. When they defended the Cup in Mexico during 1970, every squad member was loaned a 1600E for the Summer.
As you can see from these publicity pictures, the players all wore their own club’s colours rather than the national team kit.
All the cars carried the registration plates ‘GWC’ (abbreviation for ‘Great World Cup’) and were consecutively numbered GWC 1H through to GWC 30H. The legendary Bobby Moore was handed GWC 1H whilst Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst had GWC 9H and GWC 10H respectively, corresponding with the numbers worn on their shirts.
Introduced in 1966, the MK2 Cortina proved a big hit with private buyers and the increasingly large numbers of company car drivers. Ford recognised this and in 1968 created the 1600E model. This used the GT’s 1600cc engine, the Lotus Cortina’s suspension, had special ‘Rostyle’ wheels and a luxury interior including a smart polished wood fascia and door cappings. It was truly an ‘executive’ model and overnight Ford had an instant sales success and initially couldn’t keep up with demand. Today, there’s still a cult following for the 1600E.
Below is an official Ford Press release from the period about the World Cup squad Cortina 1600E’s.
If anyone has any other pictures or details about these cars then please contact us, we’d love to hear from you.