What were some of the safety features of the Ford Cortina?

Ford Cortina Mk2
© Wiscan | Dreamstime.com - Ford Cortina MkII 1600E

The Ford Cortina, produced by Ford Motor Company, was a popular family car that was manufactured between 1962 and 1982. While it was known for its style and affordability, the Ford Cortina also incorporated several safety features that were quite innovative for its time. Let’s explore some of these safety features that set the Cortina apart from its competitors.

1. Strong body structure: The Ford Cortina featured a robust monocoque body construction, which provided enhanced rigidity and strength. This design not only improved occupant protection in case of a collision but also contributed to better handling and stability on the road.

2. Front disc brakes: The Cortina was one of the first mass-produced cars in its segment to come equipped with front disc brakes. Unlike the more common drum brakes of that era, disc brakes offered superior stopping power and were less prone to fading during extended use. This feature significantly improved the car’s overall braking performance.

3. Seatbelts: The Ford Cortina was one of the early adopters of seatbelts as standard equipment across its range. While seatbelts were not legally mandated in many countries until years later, Ford recognized the importance of restraining occupants during emergency situations. Seatbelts greatly reduced the risk of injury in the event of a sudden stop or collision.

4. Collapsible steering column: Ford Cortina models produced from 1966 onwards introduced a collapsible steering column. This safety feature was designed to reduce the risk of chest and head injuries for the driver during frontal impact accidents. The collapsible mechanism absorbed some of the impact energy, minimizing potential harm.

5. Padded dashboard: In the 1970s, Ford introduced a padded dashboard to the Cortina, which aimed to mitigate the risk of head injuries in case of a collision. Instead of rigid materials, the dashboard was made with softer foam padding that absorbed and distributed the energy of an impact, protecting occupants from severe blows.

6. Improved visibility: The Cortina’s large windows and slim pillars allowed for excellent visibility from the driver’s seat. This enhanced view of the road and surroundings reduced blind spots and contributed to safer driving, enabling drivers to anticipate and avoid potential hazards.

7. Upgraded lighting: Ford updated the Cortina’s lighting system over the years, incorporating improvements such as halogen headlights and brighter taillights. These enhancements enhanced visibility for both the driver and other road users, particularly during nighttime driving or in inclement weather conditions.

8. Optional safety additions: As the years went by, Ford introduced additional safety options for the Cortina. These included headrests for improved occupant neck support, side impact bars to reinforce protection against side collisions, and laminated windshields that reduced the risk of glass shattering upon impact.

In conclusion, the Ford Cortina was not only appreciated for its affordability and style but also for its commitment to safety. The car’s strong body structure, disc brakes, seatbelts, and collapsible steering column were all groundbreaking features for their time. By incorporating these safety measures, Ford aimed to provide customers with a vehicle that prioritized their well-being, making the Cortina a reliable choice for families around the world.

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