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They certainly don’t make cars like they used to, and for the majority of people, that’s a good thing! However, we’ve all got great memories of cars from the 70s we loved. Maybe it was an old family car you loved driving in, or a car you once owned that you have fond memories of, we’ve decide to celebrate the cars of the 70s (many of which were UK-made) by picking the best-sellers based on registration figures from 1970-1979.
Ford Cortina – 1,412,102 registered
The Ford Cortina was no doubt the best-selling car of the 1970s, despite being a massive gamble for Ford when it was first produced. Known as the Cortina MK3, and with a name inspired by an Italian ski resort known as Cortina d’Ampezzo, the model which preceded the MK1 and MK2, the Cortina was the first car to introduce a 1.3-litre entry point engine, with top models taken up to 2-litres. In 1976, the MK4 retained the top-selling position until the end of the decade by offering key features such as square-rigged styling and an even larger range of engines.
Ford Escort – 1,119,004 registered
The Ford Escort was built as a small family car from 1968 onwards and was originally designed as the new Ford Anglia. It took on its new name to introduce a fresh small saloon which was aimed at the younger market. Although it was less distinctive than its counterpart, it was good-looking in its own right and it started to become popular with buyers who were looking for an affordable and reliable small car.
Morris Marina – 703,686 registered
Despite the Morris Marina being the third most popular car of the 1970s, there are very few surviving models. Built as a quick fix for the Ford Cortina boom, British Leyland had to act fast to produce a car that was going to beat its ultimate rival. And so emerged the Morris Marina which was described as a bit of a “parts-bin special”. After spending years building front-wheel drive Issigonis-designed cars, the rear-drive Marina would have seemed to be a step backwards but luckily for Morris, it emerged that this was exactly what the current market at the time was looking for.
Austin Mini – 611,695 registered
The original Mini was such as success that once it reached the Mk3 version in 1968, there really wasn’t much left that Austin could do to improve it, so between the late 1960s and early 1990s, very little changed other than the trim levels and equipment available. A boost in sales came after the 1973 energy crisis, and from then onwards it remained popular until the arrival of the Austin Metro in 1980, when it began to slowly lose sales.