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Ford Cortina Mk1 tail-lights – Why we love…

Ford Cortina Mk1 tail-lights – Why we love… Classic and Performance Car

Richard Heseltine explains why we love the Ford Cortina Mk1’s tail-lights.

They adorned everything from beach buggies to Le Mans weaponry. Ford Cortina Mk1 ‘Ban the Bomb’ tail-light clusters remain among the most easily recognisable proprietary components ever employed by low-volume specialist manufacturers. Roy Brown Jr, the designer famously banished to the UK following the failure of the Edsel with which his name remains inextricably linked, is widely credited with penning the distinctive lamp unit. It marked a slightly OTT styling flourish for the Cortina’s otherwise orthodox outline.
Britain’s cottage industry of small-scale marques were early adopters, with the likes of TVR to the fore. Then there was Lola, whose Mk6 was equipped with Mk1 lenses. And let’s not forget the American Howmet TX sports-prototype, the only gas turbine car ever to win a motor race. And it did so wearing Cortina lamps. 
Our particular favourite application? It has to be the Mini Moke-based Space Rocket that appeared in The Persuaders. Naturally.

TVR rear light
Image: Paul Harmer

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