During the famed “Total Performance” era of the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, nothing was safe from the quest of speed. Sure, we know about the GT40s, we know about the Cobra Jet Mustangs, the support of Carroll Shelby, and the list goes on and on, but what about the little cars? What about one of the most interesting and cool small cars of the 1960s, a legit pocket hot rod that most have forgotten about? What about the Lotus Cortina?
Colin Chapman was obviously the man assigned to take the little Cortina, one of the most popular and pedestrian cars for sale by Ford around the world and make a high performance version. Chapman did exactly that and about 4,000 were built over the course of time. Using a hot little twin-cam engine developed by Lotus as well as a beefed suspension and a dearth of anything that would add weight to the package, the end result was a killer little car that was at home on the streets asa stripped little coupe or on the track as a giant killer.
This 1964 film shot at Sebring and called “Proof Test” which was made by Ford shows just how potent these little cars were and still are. They compete both at the endurance race and a 250km “stock car” race the day before the main event. Jim Clark and Dan Gurney are the drivers, and they absolutely cane these little cars. The body lean is one thing but their ability to get the most from them is otherworldly.
Today these cars command a high dollar at auction or for private sale. I’d love to have one because they are gems that have gotten lost in the gears of history over time. How good are they? Watch this and see for yourself.
Press play below to see Dan Gurney and Jimmy Clark haul in Lotus Cortinas!
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