Tuesday May 28, 2019
‘Petrol station trips can be interesting and long’, remarks Adrian Bowler, but this is only to be expected when you are the proud owner of a Ford Cortina 1.6 GL Mk. V. This is one of the most ultra-1981 sights you are likely to encounter in 21st century Britain; a car that predates Channel Four and mobile telephones and when Stand and Deliver topped the charts. And, as a “GL”, you gained seats trimmed in the very finest ‘York’ upholstery, a quartz clock, a remote-control driver’s door mirror and even a radio.
The Mk. V, aka the “Cortina 80” debuted in 1979 and it was essentially a very clever facelift of the Mk. IV. The new grille, lights, glass area and roofline refreshed the brand and allowed the Ford to better compete against the Vauxhall Cavalier and stole a march on the Morris Ital, which would not make its bow until 1980.
‘In most respects, the market leader is better than ever’ thought Autocar of the 2.0 GL, which was music to the ears of Ford dealers and fleet managers alike. When RNS 464 W left the factory, the Cortina was still the nation’s best car.
July 1982 marked the end of Cortina production, and Adrian has owned his GL ‘for almost two years and ‘she is all original with 18k miles on the clock. There is even has that new car smell’. Since 2017 he has carried out ‘just basic servicing, a new exhaust and a good tune-up’ and he is unperturbed by the lack of modern luxuries. – ‘strangely you don`t miss them driving the car’.
There is no PAS, but the steering is ‘quite light when moving along’. The four-speed transmission ‘gives the diff a nice sound at 70 mph, even though you do sometimes reach for a fifth gear!’. And as for the heating and ventilation – ‘I’m not a big fan of air-conditioning’.
In short, Adrian’s GL is a reminder of the very early 1980s of the pre-Sierra age. It is regularly photographed when he is out and about and equally naturally people approach him with the line ‘my dad had one of those’.
But this is the main reason that he likes the Mk. V; ‘there is a lot of memories people have of the cars- I remember all the holidays etc. as a child’. Indeed RNS 464 W joined the Bowler fleet after Adrian hunted for ‘a car that was the same as my Dad’s Cortina back in the ‘80s!’.