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Because it’s Monday: Let’s All Bask in the Glory of the Classic Compact Estate

Robert Emslie March 20, 2017 Because it's Monday 10 Comments

Since it’s the start of the work week, we need something to lift our collective spirits, and I don’t think there’s a better way to do that than to gaze longingly at a classic compact wagon with sporting pretensions. This MKI Cortina Deluxe 1500 is all that and more, as it’s decked out in GT form, with split front bumper-ettes, center dash instrumentation, and a set of sweet Minilite wheels hunkered down under the arches. You can’t see it here, but a sturdy Kent four resides under the hood, paired with a four-speed manual.

The compact wagon used to be de rigueur in any serious car maker’s lineup, and whether from the factory or modded by the owner, adding a little sport to the utility was never frowned upon. Today we get Crossovers and Sport Utilities that always seem a little too tall and a little too light on the sport quotient. That’s alright though, because as long as we have cars like this awesome little Cortina everything will be okay. 

Image: ©2017 Redusernab/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

  • crank_case

    Round these parts we’d just call that an “estate.” 😉

  • engineerd

    Rob, you just made this gloomy Monday morning a bit brighter. Thank you.


    Here’s one with a bit more sport added to it, and it’s for sale making me reconsider my bank balance.

  • outback_ute

    The closest modern car would be the BMW 320i which I’m guessing has about the same interior volume (which I like), but obviously larger external dimensions (which aren’t ideal in view of the inner-city parking game).

    This one has been lowered, but the Cortina wagon had 6.8″/172mm ground clearance, which is CUV territory these days (another mark against the 3-series IMO).

    • Maymar

      Maybe this Skoda, which gives up RWD (and maybe a bit of interior volume), but is otherwise a pretty fair compromise.

      • outback_ute

        I suppose rwd wasn’t specifically listed, but the Fabia is a bit on the small side (short load length), the Octavia would be more comparable. Otherwise I like the Peugeot 307 for sheer space low load height.

        • Krautwursten

          The Fabia estate is pretty much exactly as long as the Cortina, and I don’t see a noteworthy difference in terms of hood length. Maybe a couple centimeters.

          • outback_ute

            I was thinking on the small side for what I want from a wagon. I don’t know what the internal dimensions are for the Cortina, so I can only guess how it would compare to the Fabia but one observation is I bet the inside of the tailgate is much closer to the bumper on the Cortina.

  • Borkwagen

    Yes please.

  • Krautwursten

    In all fairness the crossover isn’t an all-encompassing trend. Modern hatchbacks including hot hatches offer about as much space as classic compact wagons (which were -really- small and not all that powerful, the Cortina GT had 78 hp), beyond that there are still regular sized wagons, and Europe still builds both a dime a dozen.

  • Amoore

    Here’s mine. ❤️


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