A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
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, well presented, 'Lotus' Cortina started life in 1965 as a left-hand drive Ford Cortina 1200 and was delivered new to Denmark where it was registered and used for many years as a road car. The fact that it had a Danish Registration Certificate would ease the process of registering the car here in the UK should a new owner prefer to use it on Road Rallies etc. The owner before our vendor was a well known Danish saloon car racer in the past and had competed at the Roskilde Ring and other Danish circuits in Minis, an Escort BDA, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Capri and others. He had not been looking for a Cortina but, at the time, was working as a salesman at a Ford dealer and this Cortina came in as a part-exchange against a new car. It had obviously been cared for, and it seemed a shame to 'trade' it, so he purchased it for himself to use as a 'Sunday' classic. However, with classic saloon car racing going from strength to strength in Denmark (as it was throughout Europe) the racing 'bug 'returned and it was decided to prepare his Sunday car for the circuits. With our vendor's help sourcing parts from the UK (they were old friends), the Cortina was initially prepared as a 1500GT in 2001 and they went racing and sprinting with our vendor looking after the mechanics. The engine was later changed to a Lotus Twin-Cam and the car prepared, pretty much, as a 'Lotus Cortina'. In 2007/8, the car was purchased by our vendor and he decided to invest in a bit of a rebuild. The plan was to race it in Denmark and Sweden as part of a three-car team and, as the other two Cortinas were finished in their team colours of Venetian Red with a Silver stripe, it was appropriate to paint this car in these colours. The all-steel, 168bhp, twin-cam was rebuilt by respected Swedish tuner Roger Svensson in Halmstad and has only been used for two sprint races since. The power is fed through a Quaife close-ratio gearbox with alloy bell housing and on to a Salisbury limited-slip differential with a 4.44 CWP. The suspension is mainly Leda with adjustable shocks on the rear. The front brakes are Lotus Cortina with a Cortina GT set up at the rear. The fuel tank is legal and in date but is fairly small and only suitable for sprints, however, it would be easy to change. Please note that the seat and harness are now out of date and will need replacing before the next outing. Basically, the car has been built to comply with FIA-Appendix K regulations, Period F, Class TC8 and has a current DASU (Historic Vehicle Identity Form) which will enable it to run in a number of championships, however, an FIA HTP will be required to run in U2TC. The Cortina is supplied with four original Lotus steel wheels and four Minilites all with tyres and is fitted with a transponder and an AMB in-car display for accurate lap timing. Competition Lotus Cortina prices continue to climb and, at this guide, this well presented and carefully built car looks like a very sensible way into sixties saloon car racing.
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