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 aluminium panels on the doors, hood and boot 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.
As the values of these car start to hit telephone numbers there have been a number of cloned examples that have been offered to the market in the past couple of years. There are a number of tell-tale signs that vary between the real car and a cloned example. So if you do stumble upon one do Your Homework First.