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Lot 275: Ford Lotus Cortina Saloon

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams (29 June 2012)

Throughout the 1960s Ford pursued an ambitious and wide-ranging motor sports programme - 'Total Performance' - that would see the 'Blue Oval' triumph at Le Mans with the GT40, while Ford-powered cars also won at Indianapolis and took the Formula 1 World Championship. In Group 2 production car racing the firm was just as dominant, thanks to one particular model: the Ford Lotus Cortina. Ford's Walter Hayes commissioned Lotus boss Colin Chapman to develop the Group 2 competition version of the new Cortina saloon; Lotus would then build the 1,000 cars required for homologation. Launched in 1963, the Lotus Cortina - Cortina Lotus in Ford parlance - featured the Elan's Ford-based, twin-overhead-camshaft, 1,558cc engine in the two-door bodyshell. McPherson strut independent front suspension was retained, with revised spring and damper rates, while the rear leaf springs were replaced by coil-spring/damper units, axle location being achieved by trailing arms and an 'A' bracket. The adoption of an alloy differential casing proved a mixed blessing, the lightweight component proving far less oil-tight than the original. Reversion to Ford's standard leaf-sprung axle cured the problem. Its early outings had proved that the Lotus Cortina was fast, but the handling was far from perfect and designer Len Terry was asked to make the necessary changes to the rear axle's locating arrangements. Production of the Lotus Cortina began in February 1963 but it was not until September of that year that it was eligible to race. Driven by Jack Sears, a works Lotus Cortina finished 1st in class on the model's racing debut at Oulton Park on 20th September, with Trevor Taylor second. The following year the late Jim Clark, a supremely gifted driver who seemingly could do anything with any car, took the British Touring Car Championship driving a works-entered example. Clark's spirited driving of the Lotus Cortina, often cornering with only three wheels on the ground, will never be forgotten by those privileged enough to have witnessed it. Lotus Cortinas dominated saloon car racing's 2-litre class, often challenging for outright honours. Works cars were driven by Clark, Graham Hill, Peter Arundell and Jackie Ickx while Sir John Whitmore, driving an Alan Mann-entered Lotus Cortina, was European Touring Car Champion in 1965. After the axle change the hitherto fragile Lotus Cortina proved a highly capable rally car, works driver Bengt Soderstrom winning the Acropolis and RAC rallies in 1966. Information on file taken from Italian registration records states that this early example was sold new in May 1965 to Mr Giacomo Pescarin, a resident of Montagnana, Italy by Enrico Tasini, possibly a motor dealer who had held it in stock for a year or so. On 12th December 1968 the car was sold to Giovanni Toldi in Montagnana and then in December 1969 to Ruggero Poldi of Padua. Its next owner (from February 1973) was Giovanni Guaragni of Borgo San Giacomo followed in 1988 by prominent Italian collector, and owner of a Ferrari GTO, Dr Giuseppe Lucchini. Dr Lucchini also owned Scuderia Italia and it is understand that the Cortina may have been used for racing and rallying in Italy. Italian records show that the car was exported in January 2000. The Lotus Cortina was then sold to the late Lorenzo Barra, the organiser of the Argentinian Mille Miglia, who sadly died before taking delivery. Acquired by the current owner in 2003, the car benefits from extensive race preparation works carried out by Blakeney Motorsport (Patrick Blakeney-Edwards). Blakeney Motorsport up-rated the gearbox, suspension and brakes, and fitted a roll cage at a cost of around 30-40,000, and the vendor subsequently raced the car at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Mallory Park, Silverstone and also the Tour Auto. In 2012 the engine was dismantled and checked by a marque specialist and fitted with a new cylinder head and camshafts, since when it has been used on one test day at Goodwood. Offered with current HTP racing papers, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 document, 'KGJ 607A' represents a rare opportunity to acquire a genuine and very original Ford Lotus Cortina, all the more unusual for possessing known history from new.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Festival of Speed
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood,UK
Lot Number275
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£30000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£34500
Condition rating
Registration numberKGJ 607A
Chassis numberZ74C066173U
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2