Collecting Cars

1968 FORD CORTINA LOTUS (MK2)

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This 1968 Ford Cortina Lotus Mk2 is a fine example of the very first performance sports saloons, which has been extensively refurbished by its current owner. It is powered by the lauded Lotus 1.6-litre twin-cam engine, which sends 109bhp to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. The odometer shows 83,379 miles from new.

Introduced in 1966 as a follow-up to the hugely successful Mk1 Cortina Lotus, the Mk2 was built by Ford alongside the Cortina GT at its Dagenham factory to enhance reliability and speed of production, while retaining substantial input from the team at Lotus.

This particular Cortina Lotus Mk2 has six previous registered owners showing on the log book. Originally black, the DVLA notation indicates it was changed to white in 1985. It has been cared for by its current owner for the past 33 years, who spent a long time improving the car’s condition, and has only driven it sparingly.

Today, the exterior presents extremely well, thanks to its current owner’s extensive restoration work. Though a number of the panels have been replaced over the car’s long history, they are straight and free of dents, although some of the panel gaps are slightly uneven. The original chrome bumpers are also present and in good shape, however some corrosion is beginning to surface at the rear.

Previously resprayed to an excellent standard, the car is finished in Ermine White, complete with the iconic Sherwood Green side stripe made famous by the Mk1, and offered as a dealer-supplied option on the Mk2. The engine bay is also in great shape. The car rides on original 13-inch steel wheels, and feature polished hubcaps. All four rims are very good order, with only a few nicks around the edges.

Looking to the interior, the upholstery and trim is believed to be mostly original. The seats are finished in black vinyl, which has held up extremely well over the years, with the only damage being a split on the driver’s seat, where the base meets the outer bolster. As part of the car’s restoration works, the headlining has been replaced with black vinyl, complementing the rest of the interior. All of the original gauges and switches are still present and working correctly, with the owner reporting no electrical issues of any kind.

Mechanically, this Cortina Lotus is in good order, with its engine having been fully rebuilt over the years, including crank grinding and replacement of the bearings and piston rings. The correct air filter has since been refitted to the car after being painted. An upgraded electric fuel pump and alternator have also been fitted, and while the last oil change was carried out in 2011, the car has covered very few miles since, so will likely just need a minor tune-up before taking back to the road. The only issue noted by the seller is a possible noise from the front suspension.

Now MOT exempt, the car was last tested on 6 April 2018 at 83,372 miles, receiving a first-time pass with no advisories, as was the case for the previous five tests. Its wheels are shod with Falken tyres in size 185/70 R13, which were fitted in 2009 and have plenty of tread remaining.

This Ford Cortina Lotus has been lovingly restored over the years by its current owner, while leaving items such as the original upholstery undisturbed. While there are some cosmetic areas that could be corrected in future, it presents in excellent mechanical condition. A great driver’s car, this original sports saloon would be a fine addition to any collection of classics.

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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