Pick of the Day: 1966 Ford Lotus Cortina

1966 Ford Lotus Cortina

1966 Ford Lotus Cortina

As a die-hard Ford fan, I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in Ford vehicles, especially those produced around the time the Mustang made its debut. But I’ll have to admit, I was not familiar with the Pick of the Day, a 1966 Ford Lotus Cortina MK1.

The Cortina Lotus got its start in 1962 after Ford executive Walter Hayes approached Colin Chapman of Lotus to produce a world-beating race engine for the two-door Cortina GT, made by Ford of England, which had proved successful in rallies and road racing.

As a result, the Lotus Cortina, also known as the Lotus Type 28, was fitted with a similar version of the twin-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine that powered the Lotus Elan. The Cortina also received some fine-tuning from Cosworth Engineering before it was mated to the Ford four-speed transmission that was also used in the Elan.

For homologation to compete in FIA Group 2 racing, 1,000 Ford Cortinas had to be fitted with the 105-horsepower Lotus engines and sold to customers.  Other modifications made to meet the racing class included a revised suspension and a lighter body, made possible with aluminum skins on the doors, hood and trunk lid, as well as several lightened mechanical components.

Lotus Cortinas were driven in competition by such famed racers as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Vic Elford, Jack Sears, Sir John Whitmore and Jacky Ickx.  Production of the Mk 1 version ended in 1966 with about 3,300 cars built, after which a Mk II was introduced and produced through 1970.

According to the listing on ClassicCars.com, this Cortina was acquired in the late 1980s by a San Francisco-based enthusiast/collector with eclectic taste.  The Ford remained in his care for nearly three decades until the collection was dissolved in 2017.

The seller, a dealer in Houston, says the Ford comes with accompanying paperwork that details work performed to the Cortina during this time and that all systems have been addressed at one point or another, although car has never seen a full restoration. The seller notes that the car has received “regular upkeep and maintenance as needed, therefore it retains an authentic patina and presentation.”

Much of the engine bay has the correct clamps, hoses and finishes, notes the seller, who added that a recent general tune-up and service was performed on the Cortina to “ensure continued spirited driving for its next caretaker. “

The listing states that the exterior retains the correct livery of Ermine White with Sherwood Green body band and flash with original etched side and rear glass, adding that much of the trim is believed to be original, complemented by period-style 13-inch Minilite wheels.

The interior of the Cortina looks well-preserved in the photos, with some patina, highlighted by the correct wood-rimmed steering wheel, English Ford Line seatbelts and radio, star-embossed headliner and other authentic details.

The car comes with an original steel spare wheel and multiple user and owner’s manuals, keys and accessories. The seller also comments that the car is titled as a 1967 model, but it actually is a 1966 Lotus Cortina.

The asking price for this unusual piece of British racing history is $105,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day


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