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Lot 330: Ford Lotus Cortina MkII Ex-London to Sydney Marathon

Grand Prix, Competition, Touring & Rally Cars, Coys (16 January 2010)

The original Marathon was the result of a lunch in late 1967, during a period of despondency in Britain caused by the devaluation of the pound. Sir Max Aitken, proprietor of the Daily Express, decided to create an event which his newspaper could sponsor, and which would serve to raise the country's spirits. Such an event would, it was felt, act as a showcase for British engineering and would boost export sales in the countries through which it passed. Jack Sears, organising secretary and himself a former racing driver, plotted a 7,000-mile course covering eleven countries in as many days, and arranged that the P&O liner S.S. Chusan would ferry the first 72 cars and their crews on the nine day voyage from India, before the final 2,600 miles across Australia. Roger Clark established an early lead through the first genuinely treacherous leg, averaging almost 60 mph in his Lotus Cortina for the 170 mile stage. However, once into Australia, Clark suffered several setbacks. That left Andrew Cowan, who had requested "a car to come last from the Chrysler factory on the assumption that only half a dozen drivers would even reach Sydney, to take an unexpected victory in his Hillman Hunter and claim the �10,000 prize.

The vendor of our Lotus Cortina took part in that legendary race in 1968 as part of the Ford works team and in 1993 entered the 25th anniversary re-run of the marathon in this Lotus Cortina MkII, identical to the car he campaigned back in '68.

In 1992 the car was well prepared with the body shell totally stripped, blasted and primed and strengthening panels added to sills and suspension stress points. A roll cage was also installed and extended into the boot as far as the rear spring hanger pick up point, with other safety features including a plumbed in fire extinguisher system and Recaro seats with full harnesses.

The engine was built by JSM (John Smurthwaite Motorsport) in 2008 and the gas-flowed head was converted to take unleaded. The engine was stripped and rebuilt at end of 2008 after a trouble-free Panama to Alaska Rally. As a precaution, new bearings with new main bearing bolts & timing chain were fitted, valves lapped in & clearances reset, bores were honed and ring gaps checked and the engine Dyno tested, with the result coming back that is producing 133bhp at 6500 rpm with over 105lb/ft torque. Power is fed through a Ford Type 9 five-speed box and AP competition clutch, and is described as being in excellent condition. A full spec sheet is available upon request and an extensive spares package including spare suspension items, standard gearbox, electrical parts, bearings, seals etc is available by separate negotiation.

Supplied with a full photo record of rebuilds and all bills, a V5 document, MoT certificate valid until June, MSA Historic Vehicle identification, history file, old MoTs, tax discs, workshop manual and parts list, this is a serious and well built car designed for endurance and reliability with a remarkable history since 1992.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Prix, Competition, Touring & Rally Cars
Coys, London
Lot Number330
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£13526
Condition rating1
Registration numberLFV 68F
Chassis numberBA91HB58686
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2