Produced in five generations between 1962 and 1982, the Ford Cortina was Britain’s best-selling vehicle during the 1970s. It was almost identical to the German-made Taunus from 1970 onwards as the two shared the same platform. Before that year, it was also imported as a left-hand version to the United States between 1967 and 1970. But it was never really popular on that side of the big pond with just several thousand Cortinas delivered to customers.
But even though the Cortina was never a great sales hit for Ford in the United States, one very rare gem was recently found sitting in a storage unit in Detroit. The latest episode of Hagerty's "Barn Find Hunter" YouTube series shows us a Cortina GT wagon, which was never imported officially into the country. In fact, the LHD variant of this vehicle was reportedly never built for public use and Ford only assembled a handful of cars for the Kenyan police.
More interestingly, however, there are reports that Ford may have sent five cars to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but their history isn’t known at the moment. One of these cars, however, was discovered in a barn in Pennsylvania a few years ago and it is believed to be the very same vehicle featured in this video. Talk about rarity!
The Cortina GT wagon – as its name implies – is an estate version of the Cortina GT, which in turn was designed to fill the gap between the regular Cortina and the range-topping Lotus Cortina. Under the bonnet was an upgraded 1.5-litre petrol engine with a twin-choke carburettor and a peak output of 78 bhp (58 kilowatts), making it slightly more powerful than the Cortina 1500 Super with its 60 bhp (45 kW).
Unfortunately, the only Cortina GT wagon known to exist in the United States doesn’t look particularly good today. It is missing quite a few parts but the good news is it is still perfectly restorable with no big spots of rust. Will it ever be restored, though? The current owner of the car doesn’t disclose their plans in the video but we are happy the rare wagon is now in safe hands.