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Lot 147: Ford Cortina Lotus MKI

Annual Jaguar Heritage + Sports and Prestige Cars, Barons (28 May 2012)

The history of the Lotus Cortina began in 1961. Colin Chapman had been wishing to build his own engines for Lotus, mainly because the Coventry Climax unit was so expensive. Colin Chapman's chance came when he commissioned Harry Mundy (a close friend and designer of the Coventry Climax engine and technical editor for Autocar) to design a twin-cam version of the Ford Kent engine. Most of the development of the engine was done on the 997cc and 1,340cc bottom end, but in 1962 Ford released the 116E five bearing 1,499 cc engine and work centred on this. Keith Duckworth, from Cosworth, played an important part in tuning of the engine. The engine's first appearance was in 1962 at the Nürburgring in a Lotus 23 driven by Jim Clark. Almost as soon as the engine appeared in production cars (Lotus Elan), it was recalled, to be replaced with a larger capacity unit (82.55 mm bore to give 1,558 cc). This was in order to get the car closer to the 1.6 litre capacity class in motorsport. Whilst the engine was being developed, Walter Hayes (Ford) asked Colin Chapman if he would fit the engine to 1,000 Ford saloons for Group 2 homologation. Chapman quickly accepted, although it must have been very busy in the Cheshunt plant, with the Elan about to be launched. The Type 28 or Lotus-Cortina or Cortina-Lotus (as Ford liked to call it) was duly launched. Ford supplied the 2-door Cortina bodyshells and took care of all the marketing and selling of the cars, whilst Lotus did all the mechanical and cosmetic changes. The major changes involved installing the 1,558 cc (105 bhp (78 kW; 106 PS)) engine, together with the same close-ratio gearbox as the Elan. The rear suspension was drastically altered and lightweight alloy panels were used for doors, bonnet and boot. Lightweight casings were fitted to gearbox and differential. All the Lotus factory cars were painted white with a green stripe (although Ford built some for racing in red, and one customer had a dark blue stripe due to being superstitious about green). The cars also received front quarter bumpers and round Lotus badges were fitted to rear wings and to the right side of the radiator panel. The rest is, as they say, history. This 1965 registered, Airflow model, Lotus Cortina, underwent a full restoration in 2008/2009 meaning that GRO 28C is in very good order throughout. The car was produced in July of 1964 but was not sold and registered until March of 1965, Originally an "A frame" car, which was later converted to the more popular leaf spring set up, when used for group 2 historic rallying by the Ecurie Ten team from 1990. Among the car's six previous registered owners are the above mentioned Ecurie Ten team and well known and well respected motoring journalist, Richard Hudson Evans.

Lot Details
Auction Annual Jaguar Heritage + Sports and Prestige Cars
Barons, Sandown Park Exhibition Complex- Surrey Hall
TypeCar
Lot Number147
Estimate£30000-£40000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£29000
Year1965
Condition rating2
Registration numberGRO 2C
Mileage-
Chassis numberZ74D242530S
Engine numberLP3015
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2