Images are from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News
Although it’s little remembered today, European Fords have a surprisingly long history in the American automotive market. This isn’t surprising, considering how the Ford Motor Company’s British arm dated back to 1910, and its German subsidiary, to 1925. These branches were developing unique products for their own markets from the 1930s, and in the postwar years, those automobiles began to trickle into the U.S., with the British Anglia and Prefect beginning importation immediately after World War II, and the German Taunus officially arriving roughly 10 years later.
The Hemmings Motor News brochure collection contains a number of interesting FoMoCo Ltd. pieces, with this selection dating from 1959 to 1963 and highlighting the four-cylinder Consul, six-cylinder Zephyr, the economy-minded Anglia and the sporty Cortina GT.
The 1959 Consul and Zephyr shared distinctly American Ford styling, looking like smaller, less elaborately trimmed 1955-1956 U.S. models. Indeed, their 59 hp four- and 90 hp six-cylinder engines and 172.15- and 178.5-inch overall lengths made these cars true “compact” variants.
Ford emphasized their roomy interiors, trim sizes and “big car feel with ideal economy.” Both models shared 13-inch wheels and tires, and in four-door sedan forms, neither topped 2,700 pounds. The Consul Mk II was also available as a station wagon or convertible -prices ranged from $2,034 to $2,772 ($16,647 to $22,687 in 2016 dollars)- and the Zephyr Mk II offered the same three body styles and cost $2,215 to $2,945 ($18,128-24,103).
Also imported for American buyers from the U.K. for 1959 were the Anglia, Prefect, Escort and Squire, and the flagship Zodiac, and records show a total of 42,413 were sold here that year.
The 1960 Anglia got a most unique re-styling, becoming instantly recognizable in this generation for its reverse-angle rear window and that brought new meaning to the car’s venerable (circa 1940) name. That rear window profile was echoed in the colorful and creative model brochure (see below), which was available in two sizes. Ford would advertise this new Anglia as “The world’s most exciting light car!”
This Anglia featured a 997 cc (61-cu.in.), 41 hp four-cylinder engine that gave it a top speed in the 75 MPH range. It cost $1,583, the rough equivalent of $12,735 today. It’s believed that about 23,600 English Fords were sold in the U.S. in 1960.
The 1963 model year saw the introduction of a new compact Ford, the crisply-styled Cortina. It would be advertised with a graphic, photo-illustrated brochure, rather than the charming illustrations of prior years. This car was available as a two- or four-door sedan, and as a four-door station wagon, all sharing a 1,198 cc (73.1-cu.in.), 53.5 hp four-cylinder. Soon added for the home market was the giant-slaying DOHC, 105 hp Lotus-Cortina (which we would only receive for 1966) and the GT, which, here, was officially a 1964-’66 model in this generation.
The Cortina GT nicely bridged the gap between the base model and the Lotus, with its Weber-carbureted 1,498 cc (91.4-cu.in.), 83.5 hp four-cylinder and four-on-the-floor transmission. Its $2,225 price (roughly $17,031 today) would actually fall to $2,122 ($15,783) in 1966, when the Lotus-Cortina cost $3,420 ($25,438).
Of course, the most popular European Ford to reach our shores in that era would be the fabulous Capri…
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.