1965 LOTUS CORTINA MkI SERIES II SPORTS SALOON
Registration No. EFV 814D
Chassis No. 1SS/SA875
Engine No. BA74EG59595
White with green flashes, black interior.
Engine; four cylinders, twin overhead camshafts, twin side-draught Weber carburettors, 1,588cc, 105bhp; Gearbox; four-speed manual; Suspension: independent by wishbone and Macpherson strut, rear A-bracket, coil springs and trailing-arm links; Brakes: hydraulic front discs, drum rear. Right-hand drive.
The idea of a sporting saloon was conceived in the early 1960s following an approach by Ford to Colin Chapman of Lotus, to provide a sports/racing version of their standard saloon. It proved to be a good connection for both parties as the subsequent engine development provided a new power unit for the later Lotus Elan sportscars, whilst for Ford it produced a remarkable vehicle whose performances were to become legendary. The engine was the first main project and it was developed by Harry Munday, formerly of BRM and Coventry Climax, who designed a new twin-camshaft cylinder head for the standard Ford stock 1,498cc block. The new concept car was to be assembled at Lotus and was announced to the public in January 1962. Other special features departing from standard were aluminium panels for bonnet, boot-lid and doors, and alloy castings for the bell-housing, diff-casing and gearbox tail-shaft housing. The suspension especially to the rear was quite radically altered, replacing the semi-elliptic leaf springs with a special a-bracket supporting coil springs located by trailing arms, and servo assisted disc brakes fitted to the front with wide-rim steel wheels. The interior was decked out in purposeful black seats and trim, but a comprehensive dashboard layout provided individual dials for all major functions. By the time the production was under way, the cars were fitted with a bored-out version of the engine at 1,588cc which was developing 105bhp.
As first marketed they were primarily intended perhaps as fast road cars, and it took just a little while before some effective competition use produced success - in fact it was in 1964 in 'The Motor' Six-Hours Race at Brands Hatch where it registered its first victory. After that it was all plain sailing and with a string of wins all through the 1965 Season, saw Sir John Whitmore win the European Touring Championship outright. Other notable drivers experience their first taste of success with such machines amongs which were Jacky Ickx, who won the Belgian Saloon Car Championship: Bengt Soderstrom the Swedish Rally, Roger Clark the Welsh Rally, whilst namesake Jim Clark won many track events in Club and International races. This success story was continued in 1966 with many more outstanding International wins across the board in racing and rallying world-wide.
In a relatively short production run, of four years some 2,900 examples of which only about 20 are known to the Cortina Owners' Club Register, which suggests that they are quite a rarity. This particular example was built in late 1965 but not road-registered until the following new year: it has had just six owners from new and more recently has undergone some necessary restoration, especially to the bodywork, which is now refinished in authentic colours of white with the distinctive green flashes to the sides and tail area. The battery is correctly positioned in the boot area, and the original interior has been well-preserved. Mechanically the car is in good running order following recommissioning, the only departure from original appears to be the replacement of the Weber carburettors with similar Dellorto units, whilst the steering wheel and gear-knob are later replacements also. However restored to very near original specification, it should be a welcome visitor to historic events of all types.