If you caught the One Show last night, you might have spotted some Cortinas leaking oil onto your TV screen. That's because the iconic Ford's celebrating 50 years in 2012, and Top Gear's neighbours - with the help of Alexei Sayle - presented a rather fitting tribute.
So much so, that we hit the classifieds this morning in search of one to call our own. This is what we found - a MkIV 2.0-litre Ghia manual, in rust brown with 32,000 miles on the clock. But why did this one tickle our pickle? Because of the Ghia badge.
The MkIV Cortina - named after the equally glamorous Italian ski resort - was a massive hit with fleet buyers thanks to its, erm, sensible styling and vast options list. Need a company car for the new sales rep? Get a 1.3-litre four-pot with vinyl seats. What about the boss? He'll need a Ghia (only a 2.0-litre four-pot, mind - the 3.0-litre V6 is far too juicy) with a vulgalor interior and metallic paint.
Which could explain why the Cortina remained Britain's best-selling car from 1972 to 1981, even if it did upcycle parts into "new" generations. This MkIV, for example, used most of the previous generation's running gear and dashboard. But Ford managed to change things up enough to keep new Cortinas interesting.
This one was 14kg lighter than its predecessor, and Ford claimed an overall increase in window area of 15 per cent with 40 per cent better visibility. It was also the first to wear said Ghia badge - the range-topper, which replaced the 2000E, and was the first Cortina to get a V6. That said, it was considerably more thirsty and only a touch faster (0.5 seconds quicker to 60mph with a 109mph top speed as opposed the 4 cylinder's 104mph).
So, the original owner of this little beauty was a savvy buyer. Fastidious, too - Ford didn't offer much in the way of rust proofing, so it's remarkable that this one's so well preserved. The seller claims you can even see the original paint underneath, where it's never been welded.
A fine foray into the rarified world of seventies gaffers cars, then. And it'll only cost you £6995.
Any takers, TopGear.commers?