|1965 Lotus Cortina Mk.I|
|Engine: 1.6 L | Mileage: 25,850 mi | Price: €49,000|
The happy result of collaboration between Ford and Lotus, the Cortina MK1 two-door sedan was described by one magazine at the time of its release as a ‘tin-top version of a Lotus Seven’, high praise, considering the Seven is one of the greatest sports cars of all time. A direct descendant of the first-generation Ford Cortina, the Lotus model had several weight-saving features, including lightweight alloy panels for its doors, boot lid and bonnet, as well as having its own special paintjob, white with a green stripe.
It was produced in the United Kingdom from 1963 to 1970 by the Ford in collaboration with Lotus Cars. The original version, which was based on the Ford Cortina Mark 1, was promoted by Ford as the "Consul Cortina developed by Lotus", with "Consul" later being dropped from the name.
The early cars were very popular and earned some rave reviews. It was 'THE car' for many enthusiasts who before had to settle for a Cortina GT or a Mini-Cooper and it also amazed a lot of the public who were used to overweight 'sports cars' like the Austin-Healey 3000.
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 and 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.
This Lotus-Cortina was first registered on June 17th, 1965. It has had two previous owners, the last one since 1995. It is one of approximately 900 units produced and features the A-bracket rear suspension.
The body and interior are in immaculate condition and has been kept with great care throughout its lifespan with a very low mileage on its clock. It has undergone one full restoration in 1989 and a second, light one, in 2009.
The ultra-low weight of only 840kg combined with the Lotus twin-cam 1,558cc engine allow the car to offer, after more than 45 years, a very satisfying driving experience.