saw the release of the TD Cortina, the
facelift that would be known in the UK as the Mk.3 Series
2. With it came a new grille, instrument panel, exhaust,
transmission linkage, better seating, ventilation, and
articulated wiper arms. The Falcons steering column was
fitted, while the bench seat available in earlier models
was deleted from the options list.
Following criticism of the TC
model, Ford was to market
the TD with the following statement "...extensive
quality improvements, increased durability and upgraded
ride, handling and comfort characteristics have been the
major objectives in the development of the new TD Cortina".
Most commentators of the day knew that the objective of
the TD release was to remedy the misdemeanours of the
previous model, but many lamented the continued lack of
quality and poor road manners.
Brake fade, steering with
a mind of its own on unmade surfaces and, in the case
of the 4 cylinder, completely underwhelming performance
became the hallmarks of the TD.
Only the XLE model was to gain new rectangular headlamps.
New "Full" wheel covers were introduced on
the XL and XLE models – but under the skin there
were significant engineering improvements to the suspension,
while inside there was a totally new dashboard.
lets take a closer look at the changes brought about
on the TD. While the suspension remained almost totally
unchanged (coils and wishbones up front with coils
and four links at the rear), larger bushes between
the front sub-frame and the now bigger side member
helped isolate the suspension and reduce NVH (noise,
vibration and harshness).
Ford also introduced new disc brake pad compounds with
the TD (code named BMX), which helped eliminate brake
pull, squeal and dive - all points of criticism on
the previous model. The exhaust system was re-designed
to help reduce rattles, while special attention was
given to the sealing of the doors and windows to help
prevent the Aussie dust from entering the cabin.
On the inside, the new dash was much better than the
outgoing TC's, with the instrument cluster being mounted
higher for easier reading and important switch controls
(such as wiper and headlight flash) being mounted
on column stalks. The old fresh-air slits above the
instruments were dropped in favor of eye-ball vents
(which looked almost identical to those used on the
1966 Cortina). Ford boasted that the new system gave
a 77 percent greater air flow. There were also foot-level
vents with individual controls.
The new dash was also to help reduce scuttle shake,
as it acted as a positive locating crossmember giving
lateral stiffening across the car. These changes were
not enough to change the TD's reputation, and nothing
much improved until the release of the TE Cortina in
July 1977, which was followed by the TF in October
1980. Eventually the Cortina would be pensioned off,
and the Mazda 626 re-badged as a Ford Telstar would
provide much better sales results for the blue oval.
Japanese cars were dominating the four-cylinder market,
where once most fours sold were imported or locally assembled
versions of UK or European Fords. The Cortina TD cannot,
however, assume total responsibility for the general public
deserting the European cars in such droves (see Morris
Editors Note: In 2004 I was lucky enough to take
a drive in a one owner 6 cylinder TD XLE Cortina in
very good condition. For a 30 year old car it had
certainly held up well, offering a spirited performance,
disciplined ride and reasonable road-holding ability.
Unfortunately, Fords decision to leave air-conditioning
off the options list made for only a quick ride in
the 32C+ heat. It was disappointing to see that, despite
the great condition and its use as an every-day commuter,
the owner sold it for $600 and purchased a second hand
Toyota Camry (albiet with air-con) instead.