The second incarnation of the Cortina was designed by Roy Haynes, and launched on 18 October 1966,[12] four years after the original Cortina. It had some styling elements in common with the third generation US Ford Falcon. Although the launch was accompanied by the slogan "New Cortina is more Cortina", the car, at 168 in (427 cm) long, was fractionally shorter than before.[13] Its 2 1⁄2 inches (6.4 cm) of extra width and curved side panels provided more interior space.[13] Other improvements included a smaller turning circle, softer suspension, self-adjusting brakes and clutch together with the availability on the smaller-engined models, for the UK and some other markets, of a new five bearing 1300 cc engine.

A stripped-out 1200 cc version running the engine of the Ford Anglia Super was also available for certain markets where the 1300 cc engine attracted a higher rate of tax. The 1500 cc engines were at first carried over, but were discontinued in July 1967 as a new engine was on its way.[15] A month later, in August, the 1300 received a new crossflow cylinder head design, making it more efficient, while a crossflow 1600 replaced the 1500. The new models carried additional "1300" or "1600" designations at the rear. An 1100cc crossflow engine from the Escort was also offered for markets like Greece where higher capacities were taxed heavily.

The Cortina Lotus continued with its own unique engine, although for this generation it was built in-house by Ford themselves.

The Cortina was Britain's most popular new car in 1967,[16] achieving the goal that Ford had been trying to achieve since it set out to create the original Cortina back in 1962. This interrupted the long run of BMC's 1100/1300 range as Britain's best selling car.

Period reviews were favourable concerning both the styling and performance.

Again, two-door and four-door saloons were offered with base, Deluxe, Super, GT and, later, 1600E trims available, but again, not across all body styles and engine options. A few months after the introduction of the saloon versions, a four-door estate was launched, released on the UK market on 15 February 1967:much was made at the time of its class topping load capacity.

The four-door Cortina 1600E, a higher trim version, was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1967,[19] a year after the arrival of the Cortina Mark II. It combined the lowered suspension of the Cortina Lotus with the high-tune GT 1600 Kent engine and luxury trim featuring a burr walnut woodgrain-trimmed dashboard and door cappings, bucket seating, leather-clad aluminium sports steering wheel, and full instrumentation inside, while a black grille, tail panel, front fog lights, and plated Rostyle wheels on radial tyres featured outside.[15] According to author and Cortina expert Graham Robson, the 1600E would be the first Cortina recognized as a classic.

For 1969, the Mark II range was given subtle revisions, with separate "FORD" block letters mounted on the bonnet and boot lids, a blacked out grille and chrome strips on top and below the taillights running the full width of the tail panel marking them out.

Export markets
Ford New Zealand developed its own variant of this model called the GTE, since the GT and Lotus Cortinas were not assembled there. The four-door only GTE had a wooden dash, a vinyl roof, and special stripes and badging.

A 3.0-litre Essex V6-engined variant was developed privately in South Africa by Basil Green Motors, and was sold through the Grosvenor Ford network of dealers as the Cortina Perana; a similar model appeared later in Britain and was known as the Cortina Savage. Savage was available with 1600E trim in all three body styles, while her South African stablemate was offered only as a four-door saloon initially with GT and later E trim.

The Cortina was Canada's second most popular imported car during the 1960s, second only to the Volkswagen Beetle. Canada saw two and four door sedans, the higher-performance GT sedan, and a DeLuxe wagon. The Lotus Cortina was also available albeit in limited numbers.

Ford in the United States imported both the Mark I and Mark II Cortina models. The Mark II was sold in the United States from 1967, achieving 16,193 cars sold in its first year. Sales of the Mark II in 1968 were 22,983. Sales in 1969 reached 21,496. Sales slumped in 1970, to almost half their 1969 peak, at 10,216 units. Ford USA dropped the model after 1970 and no more English Fords were sold in the United States thereafter.

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