by Steve Favill
Ahh, the ubiquitous Ford Cortina. I think that just about everyone who was driving in the UK during the seventies and eighties either owned or at least drove one or more of these. I was also, for a period of time, the owner of a MK3 Ford Cortina.
A revised model, with the more modern fascia and switchgear, this was a 2000XL finished in that particular shade of metallic purple that was so popular in the seventies. Termed officially as “Purple Velvet” it was pretty awful but I tolerated it. Registered JGO 994N, this car had been a company car in a past life and had been purchased by the guy who had driven it. I bought it off him.
The car was roomy, comfortable and reliable, although it had a habit of developing noisy cam followers. Yes, I know what causes that and I had everything replaced once, but after it developed again I had had enough and sold the car on for a song.
My time with the car was really rather uneventful, with one exception. I had parked outside my girlfriend’s flat one Saturday evening, and when I came back outside to drive back home I couldn’t get my key in the ignition for some reason. Upon further examination I discovered that some lowlife had tried to steal the car, and had broken his key off in the ignition switch. I was lucky in that he had not been able to make off with the car, but unlucky in that I had to leave the car there and return in daylight the following day with my tools.
An hour of cussing and some delicate use of a couple of sharp objects later, I had removed the broken piece of key and been able to start the car again. I always immobilised the car by removing the rotor arm each time it was parked there subsequently, and thankfully was able to keep the car unmolested.
After this incident, I was never able to bond with this car. Most vehicles I’d owned had something of a “personality” up until this point, but this car was rather bland and did nothing to endear itself to me. I always liked the styling if not that awful colour, but this was not one of my more memorable acquisitions.
It was remarkable for being completely unremarkable.
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