“PEOPLE used to say: ‘Oh my dad had one of those’, but nowadays it’s more a case of ‘My grandad had one of those’”.

Steve Butterworth’s pride and joy is his Ford Cortina 1600E, a car he became “besotted” with back in the 1970s and has had a love affair with ever since.

“Even in modern times they are a joy to drive and will happily keep up with today’s traffic,” he says. “The car never fails to attract admiration, whether it’s at a show or on the road.”

Retired gamekeeper Steve has always loved cars. “Generally speaking I first became interested in cars to enable me to get to work more easily and, more importantly, to enhance my social life," he says.

His first car was a 1964 Mini. “It had the registration 569 EMU. A previous owner had changed the 850cc engine to a 1300cc but, amazingly, it had not been altered on the logbook.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve with his beloved Ford Cortina 1600E at a rallySteve with his beloved Ford Cortina 1600E at a rally

“I bought the car for £75, passed my test in it and then sold it on for £85, having not improved it in any way, which I was very pleased about,” he laughs.

After selling the Mini he acquired an Austin 1300 estate from his father in law.

“Although the car was roadworthy the mechanic who I used at the time fancied the car for his wife. He offered me a nice car as a part exchange deal and this turned out to be my first Ford Cortina 1600E in Aubergine.

“I had never seen one before let alone driven one, but after a test drive I fell in love with it, so the deal was done.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve's car appeared in two stage productions of Made in DagenhamSteve's car appeared in two stage productions of Made in Dagenham

He adds: “I was besotted with the 1600E and in the back of my mind even then - 1972 - I could see the marque becoming a collector’s item. I liked the overall styling of the car, the walnut dash board and the door cappings.

“The Lotus suspension married up to a 1600 GT engine makes for a superb drive. Even now, 50 odd years on, I still get that same buzz when I am out in it. Examples of this model do come up for sale from time to time but I have to say that members of the owners’ club tend to get to know about such a proposal before it goes on the market.”

A few years ago Steve was appointed vice chairman of the Ford Cortina Mk2 and 1600E Owners’ Club. “I was very proud when that happened,” he says.

“The benefits of belonging to this fine club are remarkable to say the least. Being a member includes access to a much envied spares section, a quarterly magazine, discounted insurance and as much technical advice as required.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The car's smart dashboardThe car's smart dashboard

“There are invitations to shows including the much coveted nationals which are held at The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, in Warwickshire.”

Established in 1977, the club - which is recognised by the Ford company - covers all variants of the Cortina Mk2 range.

“This owners club is, I believe, head and shoulders above other classic car clubs and, in my humble opinion, it has been a bench mark for others to follow.”

Steve has owned five Cortina 1600E cars in total and has owned his current one - his favourite - for eight years, finding it through the owner’s club.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Taking centre stage at the NECTaking centre stage at the NEC

“Each one has been a pleasure to own but I have to say that I am getting the most pleasure from driving this one - it is an early Series 1 unlike the earlier four I have owned which were Series 2. In the 70s they were a prime target for car thieves and I was unfortunate enough to lose two to these unscrupulous individuals. Sadly they were never heard of again, they used to get broken up and sold off in bits.”

Steve has visited many classic car shows over the years and brought home many trophies.

“My present car has won trophies for the Classic Ford section and for ‘Car of Show’ at several venues,” he says.

The car has been featured in two stage productions, in Hull and Bridlington, of the hit drama ‘Made in Dagenham’, providing more proud moments for Steve.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A rear viewA rear view

“And I was so pleased when I was asked by the owners club if I would care to show the car on the stand at the NEC which is the Mecca of classic car shows."

He adds: “I would just like to say thank you to Malcolm Stewart, who is the Vice Chairman of The Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Club, as he put my name forward for this article in the Telegraph & Argus, on a subject that I am passionate about.”

Steve’s daily driver at the moment is a Range Rover. “After half a century of Land Rover, it was a natural goal to end up with a Range Rover. My family love the cars, especially the Range Rover as it gives a feeling of safety.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve's granddaughter Rosie in the driving seatSteve's granddaughter Rosie in the driving seat

He adds: “I really enjoy my cars - it is part of my life. I’ve only got a couple of hobbies, cars and photography."


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