A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £31,500
From its inception, the Ford Cortina Lotus was designed as a quick, modern road car, however, its 'raison d'etre' was undoubtedly Motorsport. It appeared in its first race a mere nine months after its introduction in January 1963 and only a few weeks after becoming generally available, announcing its arrival by taking 3rd and 4th place at the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting in September of that year. Whilst based on a production two-door Ford body shell, Lotus Cortinas were far from standard and featured uprated engines, brakes, suspension and lightened bodies. Other visible exterior changes included the factory colour scheme of Ermine White with a Sherwood Green stripe and the fitting of front quarter bumpers and discreet Lotus badges.Over the course of the next few years, many famous drivers including Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Peter Arundell, Jacky Ickx, Jack Sears and Sir John Whitmore would achieve notable success driving the works Cortinas of Team Lotus. In addition to numerous victories in individual races, Jim Clark won the 1964 British Saloon Car Championship outright and Jack Sears achieved a class win the following year, however, one of the greatest successes was achieved, not in a Team Lotus works car, but in one of the Alan Mann Racing cars when, in 1965, Sir John Whitmore won the European Touring Car Championship with an incredible eight class victories and six outright wins from nine starts. This superbly presented Lotus Cortina started life in 1965 as a Ford Cortina GT and was extensively rallied by Ralph Stenbeck in Norway and Sweden in their National Rally Championships (the car is still accompanied by some FIA paperwork from the period). When our vendor purchased the car in 2009 it had already been converted by Morgens Christensen from a 'GT' to, effectively, a full Lotus Cortina, however, as the car was to join his 3-car 'Lotus Cortina Team' competing at circuits in Denmark and Sweden, a full rebuild to FIA spec as a circuit racer was undertaken with the intention of being a front-runner in U2TC. During the Winter of 2009/10, the car was taken down to a bare shell, the alloy bonnet and doors refurbished, and then superbly finished in the very smart team colours of Venetian Red with a Silver stripe. The engine was rebuilt by respected Swedish tuner Roger Svensson as was the Quaife close-ratio gearbox with its alloy bell housing. Power is fed through a Salisbury limited-slip differential with a 4.44 CWP. Suspension is by Leda adjustables all round and the car sits on Parnasport wheels with a further four lightweight wheels included in the package. All the glass, apart from the windscreen, has been replaced with 'Lexan' polycarbonate in order to save a couple of kilos. A transponder is fitted and in-car lap times are displayed on an AMB TnetX 2G display. No expense appears to have been spared in the build and preparation of this fabulous sixties racer and our vendor believes he has spent around £90,000 bringing the car up to this level. It has its Danish National Registration documents and, by the time of the sale, will be in possession of an FIA Historic Technical Passport. At this guide, with Lotus Cortina prices continuing to climb, this well-presented and on the button mid-sixties 'Touring Car' looks tremendous value and could be a competitive entry in a number of British and European championships.