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Lot 126: Ford Lotus Cortina MKI

Annual Yuletide Classic and Collectors Auction, Barons (16 December 2013)

The Lotus Cortina story begins around 1961. Colin Chapman had been looking to build his own engines for Lotus for quite some time, because the Coventry Climax unit was so expensive. His opportunity came along when he commissioned Harry Mundy to design a twin-cam version of the Ford Kent engine. Most of the development of the engine was done on the 997 cc and 1,340 cc bottom end, but in 1962 Ford released the 116E five bearing, 1,499 cc engine and work centred on this. The first competitive outing for the engine was in 1962, at the Nürburgring, in a Lotus 23 driven by Jim Clark. Once the engine became available in production cars (Lotus Elan) it was recalled and replaced with a larger capacity, 1558cc unit . This was done to take advantage the 1.6 litre class in motorsport. Whilst the engine was being developed, Walter Hayes (Ford) was on a major motorsport drive and asked Colin Chapman if he would fit the engine to 1,000 Ford saloons for Group 2 homologation. Colin Chapman quickly accepted, despite having to deal with launch of the new Elan. The Type 28 or Lotus-Cortina or Cortina-Lotus (as Ford liked to call it) was born. Ford supplied the 2-door Cortina bodyshells and took care of all the marketing and sales, whilst Lotus carried out all the mechanical and cosmetic changes. The major changes involved installing the 1,558 cc , twin cam 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. Also lightweight casings were fitted to the gearbox and differential. All the Lotus factory cars were 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. This new Saloon Car racer was about to sweep the board. This 1964 example has been in the vendor's ownership for 30 years and originally arrived in a number of boxes. Over the years the owner has had the car restored from the ground up but has seen very little use since recently completing the works. The car is only now offered for sale due to loss of storage. Finished in the traditional Lotus Cortina livery, the car has the correct lightweight doors and bonnet and the later style, alloy framed, steel paneled boot lid. It still has the A frame rear set up and is equipped with coil over shocks suspension. The car having seen little use, the vendor does say that it could benefit from a tune. The car is offered with a file full of bills, a comprehensive list of parts fitted, an original owner's handbook and a new MoT with no advisories.

Lot Details
Auction Annual Yuletide Classic and Collectors Auction
Barons, Esher Hall Sandown Park Exhibition Complex Surrey. UK
TypeCar
Lot Number126
Estimate£38000-£42000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£43000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1964
Condition rating2
Registration number888 YYB
Mileage-
Chassis numberZ74D4240138
Engine numberLP1206
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors