Regina delle Dolomiti

We travel to Cortina – by Cortina. In a manner of speaking. 

Back at a time when both the world and DTW was young, we had the time, imagination and intellectual bandwidth to employ a monthly theme, a literary device which would both inform the site’s content over the period in question and serve as something of a creative spur to the writers. And spur it did, garnering innumerable articles on subjects both diverse and arcane – many of which I would urge you to revisit.

Whether they were subjects the broader readership necessarily appreciated is perhaps debatable, but we did make the effort and one certainly wasn’t going to find anything remotely of that ilk on AutoCropley et al.

Earlier this week, guest-writer, Daniel O’Callaghan discussed the vexed subject of model hierarchies, both past and present. As such, the Ford Motor company somewhat inevitably entered the conversation, both US carmaking giants being masters in the art of both stimulating and requiting desire. And what Ford better encapsulates this principle, (for these funny little Islands at least) than the eternal Cortina?

In 2016, as part of the ‘Places’ theme, former staffer, Richard Herriott considered the morphology of the Cortina nameplate, contrasting the manner in which the car was perceived (formerly and latterly) with the reality of its namesake; Cortina d’Ampezzo, a resort high in the Dolomite mountains of North-Eastern Italy, a place suffused with images of high-born European aristocrats enjoying winter sports (of many varieties) in a picturesque, exclusive and suitably remote setting.

What carmaker wouldn’t wish for their product to be associated with such a place or indeed to become a cultural symbol, although careful what you ask for – in the Cortina’s case, those latter resonances weren’t necessarily ones the manufacturer might ideally have chosen.

As juxtapositions go therefore it was one of the more striking ones, given the strong likelihood of high society’s nose being cast downwards upon Ford’s midline bestseller (even in Ghia specification), and naturally, Richard makes his case with erudition, wit and balance. How he would navigate a pair of skis sulla pista however, remains something you, dear reader will have to speculate upon amongst yourselves. I of course, couldn’t possibly comment.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

5 thoughts on “Regina delle Dolomiti”

  1. Good morning, Eóin and thanks for pointing us to Richard’s entertaining piece, which I had previously read and enjoyed when I first stumbled upon DTW.

    I wonder how much the enduring appeal of the Cortina name depended on its association with the undoubtedly lovely place of the same name? Given its relative obscurity (especially so back in the early 1960’s when the Cortina was launched) I suspect that it’s actually more about phonetics: the word trips off the tongue so pleasantly. I think the dark art of automotive nomenclature is a subject that warrants further investigation on DTW (if this hasn’t already been done). Leave it with me!

    1. I can’t be the only person raised in Britain in the 1980s who assumed Cortina and Capri must be tacky, tired places that now held little appeal or relevance.

      Great branding (for a while) for Ford, but these upscale Italian holiday resorts probably rued the association.

    2. “I think the dark art of automotive nomenclature is a subject that warrants further investigation on DTW (if this hasn’t already been done). Leave it with me!”

      Yes, you do that.

  2. I had the good fortune to visit Cortina in 2017: it was during the summer. All I can remember is the devilish difficulty of finding the right turn-off from the road from Bressanone. I have a rather tastesess fridge magnet to commemorate the trip.

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