EXCLUSIVE: 1966 Ford Cortina GT 1500

I have a very long list of cars that I would love to experience, but sadly half of them are cars that were either never offered in the US or were sold in such limited quantities here that they are impossible to find. Well, this Exclusive is on my list and happens to be one of the cars that there aren’t many of here in the States. It’s going to need a full restoration to be a road going car, but the body looks solid and it’s complete. William E is hoping to get $5,000 for it but is interested in hearing offers. He might also be willing to part it out if that helps move it along. If you are interested in it, be sure to contact him via the form below.

From William – Was running when parked. Has 135,636 original miles, but the engine was rebuilt at 96,000 miles. Also replaced the transmission at 102,000 miles with a ’68 transmission and clutch, as a result, it has a larger clutch. Brake and clutch hydraulics need repair. Cracked windshield, missing/broke passenger door window and all window gaskets need replacing. The trim and badges have come off in some locations, but I have all the trim and some spare parts. Interior needs new headliner and upholstery, but carpets could possibly be repaired. The front fender has damage with a partial repair. The inside of trunk and top of the gas tank have rust.

While this Cortina is rough, I think it’s actually worth saving. For one, there just aren’t many of these on our shores, plus these are such fun little drivers. Whether you restore it or turn it into a Lotus Cortina clone, it would be an absolute blast. I do wish the interior were in better condition, but at least all the major components are here. Does anyone know of a good source for interior parts?

This GT is powered by a pre-crossflow 1.5 liter Kent 4 cylinder. These little engines are quite robust and capable of producing a respectable amount of power. It won’t ever be a monster but can produce more than enough power to be fun. With a new cam, a little head work, dual Webers and better flowing exhaust and you could have this engine churning out about 100 horsepower. That’s about on par with the Lotus Twin Cam powered Cortina, which has been called the tin-top version of the Lotus 7. Add a few suspension upgrades and you’d have the perfect work day driver and weekend autocross warrior.

I know it’s going to need a ton of work, but I actually wouldn’t mind taking this one on. As cool as it would be to turn it into a Lotus clone, I would keep it a regular Cortina GT. It would look fantastic done up in bright red with all the chrome polished up. Finding parts on this side of the pond might be tricky, but everything is available for it in the UK. As long as the rust in the trunk isn’t too bad, I really do think it would make for a good project. Let’s just hope someone saves it rather than parts it out!

Special thanks to William for listing it with us! If you happen to have an interesting project parked in your garage that just needs to go, please consider listing it with us. Oh and if you have any questions for William, feel free to message him or leave them in the comments section.

Asking Price – $5,000 OBO
Location – Goodyear, Arizonia

Contact The Seller

Fast Finds


  1. Dave Wright

    Wonderful little cars (even though a Ford) when they were inexpensive. That time is long past. Every owner thinks he has a Lotus…..their are many better cars for 5,000…….look for a nice Alfa, BMW, (or others) with that cash…..it will give more satisfaction, a better driving experiance and appreciation in the long run.

  2. John Wallace

    Wow! I’d love a LHD GT. Plenty of parts here in NZ. Even a young guy who will build a modern bolt in front suspension for you. Aussie has a shop that will install a Nissan SR20 turbo and turn it into a tyre smoker. Always loved this shape. Learned to drive in one

  3. Howard A Member

    Cortina’s were cool little cars. My old man had a Mk ll, which I liked better, but these were fun. This one is shot ( looks like mad dogs were left in the car) While non-existent here, there’s got to be a better body overseas somewhere. These weren’t very popular here. Too soon. People laughed at this little Ford. Little did we know, this would become the norm in 10 years, in a slightly different form. I’d say good parts car.

  4. SortedCorty.com

    LOVE IT !!
    Somebody please save this little guy!

  5. sir mike

    Stop with the Lotus Cortina clone crap….Let it as a 1500GT….worth saving…

    Like 1
    • Josh Staff

      sir mike,
      I didn’t suggest turning it into a Lotus clone, I said to leave it as a Cortina GT. Sadly though, a lot of people would want to turn it into one. Personally, I would use the Lotus as a benchmark for performance and possibly as a guide on what things to change to improve handling, but it really should stay as a GT.

      • RH FACTOR

        I think a modern Ztec DOHC from a Focus w/ electronics would be a great choice and would really liven up performance!!

  6. rustyvet

    looks like a candidate for a LS swap. Just install over the ole 4 banger, looks to be roomy enough…

    • JagManBill

      LS swap no. 289/302 is a drop in however. I have a 2.0 OHC in mine. Churns out about 125hp. Its a 64 GT titled as a 66 (titled by when it came over/imported, not when it was built – go figure).

  7. Alec McCutcheon

    This would fetch big money here in the UK – any old sporty Fords are highly prized. Just check out uk eBay

    There are some companies here providing reproduction trim – here’s one: http://www.aldridge.co.uk

  8. Terry

    It’s a phenomenal car. Phenomenal. First car I ever experienced G force in. It went very fast. It was in mint condition and was treated like a baby. This was in the 70s.

  9. DG

    That car must be saved, but its gonna be real hard to find the appropriate parts for it here. I’m surprised its a LHD, maybe German market car? This would be a fun car to drive, Ford’s answer to a BMW 1600.

    • johnincm


      MkI and MkII Cortina’s were sold new in north America (both USA & Canada) along with many other English Fords all with the steering wheel on the left side of the dash.

      The Cortina was first offered in 1962 and the BMW 1600 was release in 1966. I’m thinking it’s more likely BMW was inspired by Ford’s success than the other way around.

      Agreed this is a great project waiting for someone to rescue.

  10. angliagt

    I would have laughed at that price a few years ago,
    but these are getting hard to find,that aren’t complete rust buckets.
    I sold a ’65 GT a few years back for $2500.One of those
    I should have kept.

  11. Phil

    Well worth saving as a solid shell.

  12. Michael Rogers

    For the general Lotus Corty, there isn’t much difference between that and the GT, Then there were the bits and bobs from Dagenham, Ford’s speed shop where you could buy about anything you dream of: alloy Transmission and diff cases, 5 speeds, four valve heads (BDA) alloy panels: doors, boot,
    bonnet, whatever it took to make the Corty, Anglia and Capri win!
    YES you did get the nice DOHC head, Webers, a better set of ratios and wider rims etc.
    A modern Focus engine is the now common BDA equiv and will screw in!!!

    • Charlie

      Rear suspension setup in MK1 locorts was completely different than standard MK1 cortina- even the GT.

      I’d argue that the MK1 Locorts can’t be compared to any other MK1 cortina. The rear suspension isn’t a bolt on piece between lotus and ford.

  13. Guggie 13

    I had a 68 GT in 68 ,not quite the Lotus or a BMW 2002 , but a Great handling , dependable ride that surprised some Detroit iron back in the day. You could have a sweet ride if you want to save this one !

  14. Bapid

    After seeing this, it’s a shame it has got so bad especially the interior. I had a tip from an rv dealer on how to protect the interior from the pesky rodents and that was to put laundry sheets (bounce etc) around the vehicle. It appears they do not like the scent and so far it has worked well for me

  15. That Guy

    My very first car was a Mk I Cortina GT, bought for $125 back in 1976 with a fried wiring harness. I didn’t even have my license yet. With my dad’s help I re-wired the whole car using a harness from a junked car.

    This car may look a mess, but from what I can see it’s rust free, and that’s a huge plus. Trying to do a concours-correct restoration is probably not worthwhile, but I think it can probably be made into a nice driver for a moderate cost in time and money. More recently I owned a Mk II, and it really was a great-driving car, very taut and responsive and contemporary-feeling.

    Yes, these were sold new in the US. They were moderately popular actually, but mostly were gone 15 years later.

  16. Charlie

    I’ve got one of a handful of GT’s on the east coast (series 2). Parts are fairly easy to get from the U.K., but the biggest are the small changes between the years. Getting a complete car is much easier than playing guess this part.

    It’s tough to go 5k on this when you can spend another 10k or so and get a good daily Mk1. Lotus conversions aren’t worth much except to the owners, as the locort crowd values the matching numbers and the original lotus specific rear suspension setup.

    This car is going to require a lot of work. And the money you put into it will never net out. But that being said if it’s something to restore with a family member and keep for its sentimental value, it’s worth it’s weird in gold.

  17. Garm

    I have a ’67 Mk2 body but a Series1 so it’s the same 1500 powertrain. Pretty fun to drive, but I definitely would not call it spirited. Gets great looks and stories everywhere she goes. This one is about the same condition I got mine — lots of work to do there, definitely check the strut towers for rust, that’s a terrible spot to try to fix.

    • JagManBill

      Actually Garm, they’re not hard at all. The Cortina Club in the UK has an amazing spares program including the tower top sheet metal. Runs from a few inches forward of the curve all the way back to the cowl and wraps down about an inch or so. I had to do my right tower top. Just don’t loose the piece you take out as you probably have a VIN number stamped around there…

  18. Garm

    Yep, I’m a member and have bought much needed spares from the Club. My point is that it’s not a job for the weak of heart to get it right; welding skills (or money) will be needed.

  19. JagManBill

    ahh…thats true…that why I let my Son-in-Law the welder do it!!

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