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Fan takes old Cortina to its namesake town
A CORTINA enthusiast will celebrate the car’s 50th anniversary by driving his pride and joy to its spiritual Italian home.
Roger Hampshire, 65, from Witney, will set off on Friday on a 2,000-mile round trip to the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo with his son, Martin, 43.
The two-week rally will see them take their Ford Cortina Mk5 through the French countryside, the Swiss Alps and Germany.
While in Cortina, they will stay at Hotel Cortina as guests of the town’s mayor and take part in a car show and celebratory dinner.
And on the way back to the UK they will visit the racing circuits of Nurburgring and Hockenheim in Germany.
Mr Hampshire’s passion for the iconic car – made famous by the 1970s cop show The Sweeney – began when he was himself a police officer in Oxfordshire.
He said: “For a year I worked alongside a colleague and every day I would look out the police station window and admire his car.
“I eventually asked him for first refusal. When he decided to sell it in 1986, I bought it.”
He added: “It was a family car at first and then I decided to keep it and look after it and make sure it was in tip-top condition.
“I always thought the Cortina was good looking car and was something to be proud of, and it has never let me down.”
Once Britain’s best selling car, the Mark V went on sale in 1979 for £3,475 for a basic 1.3-litre-engined model.
The father and son have made Cortina T-shirts for their trip, with Mr Hampshire’s motto saying “my pride and joy” and his son’s reading “my inheritance”.
Mr Hampshire added: “That shows why I have had to keep it in good condition.”
The family car, which has 133,000 miles on the clock and is one of just two Ford Cortina Mk5s still registered in the UK, had 15 minutes of fame three years ago.
It starred in a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction of a London murder that happened 20 years ago. A Ford Cortina was seen racing from the scene.
Mr Hampshire was invited to take part in the Cortinas to Cortina 2012 rally by the Ford Cortina Owners’ Club and jumped at the chance.
He said: “I just thought it would be something interesting and somewhere exciting to take the car. It had to be done really.”
The pair will be doing 150 to 200 miles a day but have been buddied up with other Cortina drivers in case there are any mechanical issues.
But Mr Hampshire added: “We have kept the car in good condition and it is fully serviced.
“We have made sure it is ready for the run. It is a good as can be. And it being an old car, there is not a lot that can go wrong with it.”
Mr Hampshire and his son will return from the trip on September 15.