Only One in US? 1972 Ford Taunus TC

While most car guys recognize the Cortina name, the Taunus moniker is less familiar. The Taunus TC (Taunus Cortina) was a family of cars built by Ford of Germany from 1970-82 and was based on the same platform and drivetrains as the Ford UK’s Cortina range, hence the nod to Cortina in the name. These cars were not imported to the U.S. by Ford, although at least one person did so on his own. This 1972 TC is in good condition save some rust and is available in Lakewood, Washington and here on craigslist for $7,500. Thanks, local_sheriff, for once again finding an unusual car for our scrutiny.

First generation TC’s were built between 1970-75, including the seller’s 2-door sedan (or saloon in some European circles). It was considered a full-size car abroad, but not so in the U.S. At a wheelbase of 101 inches, length of 176 and width of 67, it was more the size of the Ford Maverick at the time – and resembled one in my opinion. The car’s used several powerplants over the years, including a 1600cc OHC 4-cylinder like in the Pinto, with a 4-speed manual transmission. This is the set-up used in the seller’s car.

The seller of this ’72 TC is its second owner. He purchased it from the family of the original owner who brought it over from Germany. He’s been using it as a daily driver ever since with 43,000 on the clock (we suspect that’s in kilometers since the car was not built for the U.S. even though it’s left-hand drive). The car was repainted once while still in Europe, and the color it wears today is a shade different than the original. The seller says the car has some rust, although the photos show very little. The lower rear quarter panels, arches and other small areas are of concern to the seller.

We’re told the TC’s maintenance has been regular and it needs nothing to drive it home today. During the seller’s possession, he replaced much of the brakes along with the rubber steering coupler (was rubber, now poly). The interior is especially nice, having had the front seats recently recovered. Everything works as it should, including the Blaupunkt radio. The seller has tried to find records of other Taunus TC’s in this body style in the U.S. and found few – if any so this could be a one-of-a-kind on these shores.


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  1. Big_Fun Member always jogs my memory from long ago – I thought that I forgot about.
    That front end takes me back to when I was a kid and had a Matchbox replica of this – probably the English version. Still – haven’t thought about those Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Corgi brands in a long time.
    As a GM guy, I would own this….

    Like 7
    • Bob C.

      IIRC that matchbox was called a Ford Zodiac, I had one as a child. They had a lot of European Fords in their collection.

      Like 2
      • local_sheriff

        FYI the Zodiac (and its Zephyr sibling ) is a completely different animal than the Taunus/Cortina and not produced in mainland Europe

        Like 2
  2. MitchRoss Member

    The Taunus is a bit different from the Cortina in this generation. The body looks similar but is completely different. Mechanically they are the same. Cortinas from this generation were available in Canada, The writer should know that the US is not the only country that uses left hand drive, in fact,t he Taunus’ native country of Germany also does, along with all but 2 countries in the European Union. The following generation, Taunus and Cortina were identical.

    Like 13
    • Chris Webster

      When I saw the ‘1600’ I thought of that wheezy dog called the ‘Kent’ engine. At least this has the OHC engine. Put the 2.0 or 2.3 engine and a five speed in and you could have some fun while keeping a stock appearance.

      Like 3
      • Tiberius1701

        A 2.3 turbo would look nice in the engine bay as well!

        Like 2
      • Miguel

        The 1600 CC engine was an overhead valve engine. This car has either the 2000 OHC or the 2300 OHC.

        The ad says this is the 1600 but it can’t be by the picture of the engine.

        Like 3
      • Miguel


        I just read on Wikipedia that the 1600 in this car was an overhead cam. I don’t see how that is possible though.

    • belinda

      The engines installed per my data, 1.3l v4(?) 63 H.P. w/ 8.2 comp ratio, “export” = 9.21 comp/r. 1.6l @100 h.p. 2.0l v6 @103 h.p. and 2.3l v6 @123 h.p. The Taunus Turnier seems to have round head lamps, while all others have rectangular. The GT coupe, to me has a lot of 68-9 Ford Torino in its look
      (Source= World Cars 1972 Published by The Automobile Club of Italy)

  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Mitch is right – they look the same,unless you can compare them.
    Here’s a picture of my 1972 Cortina MKII L.It had an OHV Cortuna 1600
    in it.I bought it in Canada.

    Like 3
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    Lets try that again (wouldn’t let me edit).

    Like 9
    • Solosolo Solosolo UK Member

      Hi Miguel. I’m having more trouble than that as I cannot either edit or post pics.

      • Miguel

        You have to be signed in and then you can post pics, unless there is a problem with the site.

  5. Wayne

    With Cortina underpinnings, these should be very nice handling cars. I always like these cars, but have never has a chance to drive one.

    Like 2
  6. Rich

    I remember this car from my childhood. Although not common, seem to recall a fair number of them in the area of Mn., Mich., Wisc. Even recall seeing a new Mercury Capri and one of these side by side on a Ford dealers floor. So my question is was there a gray market for these at the time, could they have been brought in from Canada in limited numbers? Just wondering because I remember these very well at that time. Not confusing with the Cortina though, grew up with a Cortina for a couple years.

    Like 1
  7. Patrick Farmer

    Put a new Mustang turbocharged 4 cylinder in it and hang on.

    Like 1
  8. Beyfon

    A lot of people are nostalgic about their first car – I am not. Back in 1980 I bought a fancier version of this car, a Taunus 1600XL Fastback Coupe. It was honestly a piece of junk. Very cheaply built. Tons of understeer, and very soft suspension so no joy in the handling department. 72 hp so certainly not fast even though it was reasonably rev happy. I think the best part was the gearbox, with short distinct throws. But the most memorable moment of joy was when I managed to sell it on and bought a BMW 2002 instead.

    Like 3
    • Chris Webster

      If you think a 1600 in a Cortina understeered, try the Australian 200 and 250 cube 6 cylinder versions.

      Like 4
    • Solosolo Solosolo UK Member

      Buying the BMW 2002 is the best thing you ever did!

  9. Eskild

    In Europe the Taunus was the most selling one. The difference is Taunus is German build,the Cortina is English build…..Cortina is rubbish. Its a difference the Taunus is more square than a Cortina. It came in a coupe version,like a smal Mustang. Lots of different engines. Most common was the 1600 ccm. The cheapest was the L version,then u had the XL and the GXL was the expencive one. Taunus is Taunus,not Taunus TC….never excisted.

    • Miguel

      BY looking at the picture of the engine, what size do you think it is.

      The German 1600 CC was an overhead valve engine and this car clearly has an overhead cam in it.

      I just read on Wikipedia that the 1600 in this car was an overhead cam. I don’t see how that is possible though.

      • angliagt angliagt Member

        They came with both 1600 ohv & SOHC.

    • local_sheriff

      Eskild; TC is the name of this platform as Taunus/Cortina from this model on were developed with shared architecture but were intended for their specific UK/ mainland Europe markets. Behind the curvy Cortina lines and different tail lights they’re the same. Both succeeding Taunus/Cortina ‘generations’ are labeled TC2(’76-) and TC3 (’79-) – I say ” as you probably know they’re basically the same shell from ’70-’82.

      Regularly, Cortinas wouldn’t be sold in markets alongside the Taunus. That wasn’t always the case thanks to individual dealers who would sign contracts outside Ford’s regular agency system. As a kid I remember some Cortinas had managed to sneak in onto Scandinavian markets were I suspect you’re located – likely several other markets experienced that too

  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve heard of the Ford Taunus. But because I’m not from Deutschland (Germany), I’ve never seen one in person. Nice looking car. I find it more attractive than the Ford MkIII Cortina.

  11. chrlsful

    I was thinkin the Lima or pinto motor (& 2v DGV) & a swap to the ranger’s 2.5L, frnt discs, D shape port head, etc…
    The last pic above shows a “DOHC” sticker. As the pulley under that cover looks above the rockers I think it could B a SOHC?

  12. Tony Hill

    I am restoring 1972 mk3 cortina 2drGT it has the 2.0 pinto ohc engine, bright yellow with black vinyl roof. Wish I could post a picture

    Like 3
  13. Chris Webster

    British Cortinas had the choice of either a 1600 pushrod or the 1600 OHC engine, amongst other options. Not sure how long that situation lasted, but it was there for a time. The OHC engine is MUCH better, and easier to work on as well. In Australia, the 1600 was the pushrod. Alas.

  14. SubGothius

    At least one other Taunus made it to these shores. My great aunt Clara worked for the US State Dep’t in Germany and had her Taunus shipped back when she was reassigned to DC. Hers must have been an earlier gen. than this one however, as she eventually replaced it with a ’68-70 (year uncertain, but it had the square taillights) Falcon coupe, which she drove well into the late ’80s.

  15. Pete

    We got the ford Fairmont and the europeans got these. Go figure. I had some buddies who had the 4 door versions of these while I was stationed in Germany. The 2 doors were not as often seen back then.

  16. Simon Dawes

    In Australia you could get these with a 3300 or 4100 straight 6 engine with 4 speed top loader gearbox and they flew.

    Like 1
  17. JoeNYWF64

    I’m looking under the hood
    & do not see any strut towers or even the very tops of shock absorbers!
    What kind of crazy front suspension does this car have? lol
    Also does it have rack & pinion steering?
    Very handsome car with good proportions, big trunk & rare to see good looking
    AMBER & red tail lites.
    Is that the entire heater core under the hood? If so, i guess it’s super ez to replace?!
    A plastic air cleaner on top of a hot engine is probably not a good idea.

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