Ford launched the 78% local content Cortina Pick-Up in November 1971 and its 750kg payload, car-like interior and performance saw it sweeping the utility vehicle sales charts. Power initially came from a 1600cc Kent 4-cylinder petrol engine, and a 4.1:1 diff ratio ensured the heavy loads could be moved. Having a saloon as a starting point meant that the cabin was relatively spacious and the bench seat moved on rails – that’s why the likes of Kallie’s stature fit in. With the torquebox under the seat it did mean that the squab was raised and headroom reduced though. It also had a harsher ride compared to a sedan version, with the coil-sprung rear setup replaced by a leaf-spring and rubber cone system. The desire for the Mk3 Cortina Bakkie was there and Ford took it one step further by adding a 2.5-litre V6 version to the mix.
By 1975 the MkIV Cortina was becoming a reality and Ford SA set about using this to make an even better bakkie, with a load capacity goal of one tonne. This model was ready by 1977, and although the Kent-powered unit remained as a base vehicle, the Essex 3-litre (2994cc) 6-cylinder replaced the 2.5 as the top tog. Thanks to a 2.6m² double-skinned steel loadbin,the engineers hit the 1 000kg-carrying goal and Ford took the chance to drop the title ‘Pick-Up’ from marketing material and went straight to the point, replacing it with ‘Ford 1-Tonner’.
On a good wicket the firm then soldiered on, face-lifting the 1-tonner in line with the new MkV model in 1980 and hit the export market with some slightly longer-wheelbase models sold under the P100 banner. From 1983 Ford officially added the title ‘Bakkie’ to the party with the arrival of the more refined 3000L Leisure Bakkie. With the higher-specced fittings the 3000L pushed the Ford 1-Tonner into the world of multi-functional tool/weekend toy and the advertising team jumped with images showing the bakkie at play and wording not normally associated with a utility machine.
YOUR GREAT BACKDOOR TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
There’s a whole new go-anywhere driving experience waiting for you in your Ford 3000 Leisure Bakkie. A vehicle that combines practical utility, gutsy performance and luxurious comfort. The unique 3-litre 6-cylinder engine unleashes effortless power, yet is unrivalled for all-round economy. Wherever you’re going, or towing. Heads will turn to take in the two-tone paint, the styled steel road wheels and the bumper-mounted driving lamps. And eyes will open wide at the cab interior. Woodgrain fascia and door cappings, full loop-pile carpeting, Bristol/Sanford cloth bench seat and full instrumentation.