1967 Lotus Cortina Mk2
Colin Chapman built his first car in 1948. Built on an Austin 7 chassis and with its running gear the car was known as a Lotus Mark I. Chapman built further ‘specials’, however, it wasn’t until 1952 that Lotus Engineering was formed by Chapman and colleague Colin Dare. It was at this time that Lotus built its first production car the Lotus Mk VI. The legend was born and Lotus grew to become one of the world’s most respected and successful manufacturers of sports and racing cars. Over the years Lotus race cars claimed many victories and world championships. Their road cars used much of the technology and experience from the race cars and were equally as successful.
In the early years Chapman focused on race cars and it wasn’t until the mid-1950’s that he presented his first road car – the Lotus Type 14 or Elite – which was first shown at the 1957 London Motor Car Show at Earls Court. The car was very well received and ultimately very successful with just over 1,000 cars built through until 1963. Not surprisingly the Elite was also a very successful race car. In 1962 Lotus introduced the Elite’s successor, the Elan which became one of the most popular and successful sports cars ever built. The mid to late 1960’s and early 1970’s were good times for Lotus. Chapman wanted to leverage the early success of the Elan and build a mid-engine sports car using the formula that made Lotus successful. Chapman became famous for his engineering philosophy to ‘add lightness’. His cars were incredibly well engineered and always pushing the boundaries of the technology of the day.
All the early Lotus cars, including the Elite, were powered by third party engines. Chapman thought this to be expensive and believed he could build a better engine. In 1962 the Lotus Elan was introduced and the first cars were powered by the new Lotus 1498cc in-line 4 cylinder engine that developed 100bhp. Engine capacity was soon increased to 1557cc with an increase in power to 105 bhp.
Chapman was a brilliant engineer but he was also an astute businessman. When approached by Ford to supply his engines to their cars to homologate them for racing Chapman saw a great opportunity. The rest they say is history and the Cortina Lotus (as Ford preferred to refer to it!) was born. Ford supplied the body shells and were ultimately responsible for marketing and selling the cars. Lotus supplied all the mechanicals including the redesigned suspension and were responsible for all of the cosmetics. The early cars featured aluminium body panels, however, by 1964 these were soon replaced with all steel panels. The majority of the cars were finished in ermine white with a green stripe on each side.
The Lotus Cortina received rave reviews in period and the car was an outstanding success, both as a road car and on the track. Circa 3,000 Lotus Cortina Mk1’s were built from 1963 to 1966.
In 1967 Ford introduced the Cortina Lotus Mk2 with a new look body style and an improved more powerful Lotus Twin Cam engine. To reduce costs and improve build quality Ford decided to build the Mk2 in house. The new car continued the success of its predecessor and over 4,000 Mk2’s were built from 1967 through until 1970.
Photos of Lotus Cortinas being driven hard on race tracks the world over cornering on three wheels are common place and such images are etched in motor sport folklore.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale this STUNNING 1967 Lotus Cortina Mk2. The Lotus Cortina Registry has this car recorded as an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example. It was sold new into Sydney and first registered in April 1967.
This car’s very early history is not known, however, its ownership has been tracked back as far as 1977. It’s then owner acquired the car from Melbourne and the paint work was noted as tired. The car was repainted and it changed hands soon after that. The next owner is reported to have bought the car for his wife who despised the car as it kept breaking down on her! It was sold shortly thereafter to good friend Spencer Martin who is one of Australia’s best known and most successful race car drivers from the 1960’s. Martin won the Australian Drivers’ Championship in 1967 and 1968 in a Brabham BT11A and he was also well known for successfully campaigning a Ferrari 250LM and achieving great success behind the wheel of one of Enzo’s greatest ever machines. It was indeed a 250LM that was taking much of Martins time in the early 1980’s and the Lotus Cortina sat idle and it was ultimately sold to Ken & Del Batty. The new owners tidied the car up, had a roll cage fitted and took it racing. The Lotus Cortina was the family runabout Monday to Friday and then trailered to the track for a hit out on weekends! The car changed hands again in late 1988 as its owners decided their journey with this fabulous little car had come to an end. To achieve greater speed would have required significant modifications to be made which would have been costly and also impacted the originality of the car. Darryl & Janice Bray owned the car from 1988 through until 2014 and it was a regular at race meets and hill climbs throughout south east Queensland. This car has had some of the biggest names in Australian motorsport behind the wheel including Dennis Brown, Brian Michelmore, Dick Johnson, Steve Johnson, Warren Luff and David Besnard. According to Darryl “ . . . the car has been successfully raced for years but fortunately, no one ever bent it”!
The current owners acquired this Lotus Cortina Mk2 in 2014, joining a Lotus Cortina Mk1 and Ford Cortina 500 in their garage. The car was in remarkably good condition given it had been used for many years as its makers intended . . . and that was to be driven and driven hard! Its condition is really a credit to its previous owners who have treated the car like a member of their family. The current owners have invested significant time and money to bring the car up to the next level and today it is just a beautifully presented car. The ermine white paint work is in excellent condition all round, complemented by the external trim, glass and wheels which are also in excellent condition. The body is arrow straight and all of the panel gaps are very good. Structurally the car is excellent. Open the door and light airy cockpit looks really fresh. All of the seat coverings, door cards, dash, instruments and controls are in very good condition. Slide into the driver’s seat and you can’t help but admire the subtle Lotus badge in the centre of the steering wheel. You know this car means business!
The twin cam engine needs full choke to start. After a few pumps on the throttle, the car starts easily on the turn of the key and it soon settles into a smooth idle unassisted. It doesn’t take long to warm up and within a few miles it is ‘singing from the rafters’! Everything is tight about the car and it performs impeccably on the road . . . even on four wheels!
Accompanying the car are a set of four mini light wheels and the steering wheel that was on the car when it raced. There are also a number of badges from various events that the car has participated in and the most extensive history file with information on previous owners, people who drove the car and events with results the car participated in. It’s FABULOUS! There is also an original and extremely rare air filter that may be available for purchase with the car.
A change in the current owner’s circumstances has resulted in this wonderful car being offered for sale.
It would be hard to find a more original or better example of a Lotus Cortina. Coupled with its provenance, history and the people who have driven it, make this car one for the serious enthusiast or collector.
- Lotus Cortina Mk2
- 94490 miles