8 September 2014

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Lot 113

1969 Ford Cortina Lotus Mk 2

  • Chassis no. BA91JJ14893
  • Engine no. N/Z9268

Sold for £22,400

109 bhp, 1,588 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with dual Weber side-draught carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with McPherson struts, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar, live rear axle suspension with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,490 mm

  • Presented to Colin Chapman by the Ford Motor Company
  • Chapman’s daily driver for several years
  • Only two owners from new and 24,000 original miles
  • Featured in numerous automotive publications

The Mk 2 was a worthy successor to the much-loved Lotus Cortina Mk 1 once the latter’s production ceased in 1966. Ford was pleased with the Mk 1’s competition record, which was aided by legendary driver Jim Clark, who raced L/Cs on the weekends, “in between” grand prix events. Even as a “part-time” entrant, Clark drove the Mk 1 in British, European, Belgian, Austrian, Swedish, South African, and New Zealand championships between 1964 and 1966. He is perhaps best known for his spectacular and daring drive down the bobsled run at Cortina, Italy, when the new model was introduced. Meanwhile, it was up to Sir John Whitmore to capture the European Touring Car Championship for Lotus in 1965.

To resolve some of the complaints about the Mk 1’s everyday reliability and quality control, Ford decided to build the new Mk 2 at its own factory in Dagenham, which was a decision that was eased by the fact that Lotus was in the midst of moving its own manufacturing from Cheshunt to Hethel. The second-generation model was named, at Ford’s request, the “Ford Cortina Lotus”. Whilst it was a bit shorter and heavier than the Mk 1, power was increased to 109 brake horsepower, as per the Mk 1’s Special Equipment optional specification. Unlike the Mk 1, which could be had only in white with a green flash, the Mk 2 was available in a broad range of colours and a side stripe was available from dealers. The gear-change was improved, there was a larger petrol tank, and the rear axle ratio changed from 3.9 to 3.77. Racing versions rang up a stellar competition record until it was in turn succeeded by the Ford Escort series.

This Ford Cortina Lotus Mk 2 has an interesting story to tell. Whilst painted a unique shade of amber gold, it was a gift to Lotus founder Colin Chapman by the Ford Motor Company. Some say it was a “good-bye” present, and Chapman is said to have driven it quite enthusiastically until the late 1970s, at which time it was placed in the Lotus museum in Hethel with just 14,223 miles recorded. It was subsequently purchased by the current owner from the factory museum in 1998. It was then treated to a thorough re-commissioning by Paul Matty Sports Cars in Worcestershire before being shipped to the United States.

In 2003, the current owner drove the Mk 2 from New York to Detroit to participate in Ford’s 100th anniversary celebration, where it was displayed in the Ford Racing tent next to the John Whitmore racing Mk 1 Cortinas. The car currently shows approximately 24,700 original miles, and its golden finish remains in good condition, as do the excellent tan vinyl upholstery and black carpets. The owner says this car has been driven frequently, regularly maintained, and thoroughly enjoyed. It has also been written about in several U.S. magazines, as well as in England’s CAR (October 1999) and the Lotus Club International magazine (Autumn 2009). A large folio of historic documents and receipts and a spare wheel, jack, and tools are included with the purchase of this car.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more