Postcard From Schleswig 5

Or Wanderup,  to be more precise. It is about 7km from Flensburg. Making a change from the more prevalent Ruesselsheim cars is this Taunus 1600 seen there (by me).

1970-1975 Ford Taunus 1600

From 1970 Ford paired the Taunus with the British Cortina. Arguably the Taunus name sat better with the car’s image than the somewhat/extremely pretentious Cortina moniker. 

The cars’ had slightly different sheet metal, making the Taunus look like an alternative styling proposal rather than a properly distinct one compared to the UK car. Isn’t odd that the UK looked more American than the German car. Is that a deliberate difference or an accident?

1970-1975 Ford Taunus 1600

Things have come a long way now that Ford can’t distiguish the US and Euro Mondeo. Speaking of which, those I saw barreling down the Autobahn are monstrous road sharks with their narrow eyes and gaping AM grille.

Notice inside this car the decorative pleats in the door-card vinyl.

Warm, cosy: velour and vinyl.

On the door we find an ashtray down by where the passenger’s knee would be: that’s a good position. The legroom looks tight, doesn’t it?

Forty five years later cars’ doorskins have become really complex. I doubt you’d find as simple a design as this on anything larger than an Aygo.

Good to go, Frank.

It occurs to me now that I ought to drive one of these  and that this is a matter of greater urgency than testing a Lancia Obscurata or Renault Oubliable. These cars are the white line on the middle of the road and are the yardstick by which other cars should be assessed. When we read that X is better/good/interesting, it is often implied to be in comparison with the cars of this class and price. Yet how many have ever been in one let alone driven one? I’ll have to change that.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

18 thoughts on “Postcard From Schleswig 5”

  1. An uncle owned a mark 3 Cortina GXL, of which I have fond memories. Resplendent in Retina Searing Orange, the car looked materially rich and incredibly ritzy compared to what BL were churning out at the time.

  2. I assume the roof and the rear wind would not have been one piece. Would the C-pillar have been welded to the rear wing at the top or bottom? Bloody good welding, wherever it is.

    1. I visited the Cortina Mark 3 production line in 1975. The most striking memory was seeing the welded seam where the roof pressing joined to the top of the C pillar pressing being leaded and smoothed in the manner of old-school coachbuilding. At the time I thought it impressive to see that level of craftsmanship on a production line, but I found it incomprehensible that Ford’s production accountants would tolerate it.

      I’ve mentioned this before on this site. Aren’t any of you paying attention?

  3. I think the rear of the Taunus looks much more American than the Cortina. And Sean, I remember that anecdote from last time!

  4. I’ve never noticed before until seeing that first photo how similar the side profile is to the Cortina Mk IV.

    1. Well, the Cortina Mk 4 / Taunus ’76 was basically a reskin of the model shown here. So the similarity of the profiles isn’t much of a surprise to me.

  5. There seems to be a surplus of postcards in Schleswig. And the post seems to deliver in random order…
    But with pictures like these, I’m glad to receive whatever comes.

  6. Going by the Nordfriesland registration, the Taunus has migrated a few kilometres east. That part of Germany has an interesting carscape in a pleasingly low key-way. It’s always a pleasure to see well-kept examples of old ordinary cars, rather than the obvious classics.

    The Taunus TC and the Cortina Mk.3 were Köln and Dagenham’s last taste of individuality before knuckling down to 1970s One (European) Ford, so perhaps the two nations went all out to differentiate their mid size saloons, within the constraints of a shared structure.

    The dashboard interests me. The 1970 Cortina had a huge and hideous American-style dash with instruments at the end of deep tunnels. Lots of chrome and ersatz wood featured, unsurprisingly. My Taunus knowledge runs out at this point. Did the Taunus TC start out with the Germanic dashboard pictured, which was adopted for the British car as part of the 1973 facelift?

    That dash lasted a further two generations practically unchanged, until the Sierra arrived in 1982.

    1. To be certain I’d need to check brochures on the topic of dashboards. A casual internet search is not conclusive at this late hour. Out of interest I might compare GM and Ford’s unification strategies in the 1970s. Who did it fastest?

  7. Another research question: what nationality were the clay modellers and studio managers at Dunton and Merkenich. I can see a German accent in the Taunus here but the corresponding Cortina is American. PhD material, this.

  8. Good question regarding GM and Ford unification. Fords looked unified on the surface, but the first supposedly Anglo-German Transits, Escorts, and Capris had far less commonality of components than might appear.

    The HA Viva and Kadett A were the first Rüsselsheim / Luton joint venture, but it was kept very quiet. Gerald Palmer mentions it in his autobiography – he was unimpressed by the Germans’ suspension design and felt vindicated when the next generation cars adopted an all-coil chassis. The Viva and Kadett engines were built to a shared pattern, but following British and German suppliers’ input the only interchangeable parts were the pressed steel rocker arms.

    The Rekord D and Victor FE shared a floorpan, and bulkheads, but it wasn’t obvious. Vauxhall masked the Opel origins of the Chevette, Cavalier, and Carlton, but gave up the pretence with the Astra and second generation Cavalier. By that time, German was what UK car buyers wanted, and British GM never looked back.

  9. simonstahel: In my recollection the Mk III Cortina side profile had a much curvier window line/more pronounced Coke bottle hip curve than the Mk IV.

    1. Yes. I think this Taunus here and the Mk III Cortina was the last time when the two models had different bodies. The Taunus was already much straighter than the curvy Cortina. From Mk IV on, both went unified, but more the German way (as seems to be the destiny of the whole car industry…).

  10. I’ve driven a large number of Mark III and IV Cortinas, as reported elsewhere on this site. But I’ve never driven any model of Taunus. Yet, for no reason other than unapologetically ignorant and lazy prejudice, I’ve always assumed that they were better to drive than their Cortina cousins. Feel free to disabuse me.

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