Wanna make friends at the Goodwood Revival? Show up in this: and driven by Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jacky Ickx, among others. As classic touring cars go, it's about as special as it gets, which is why Silverstone Auctions expects it to sell for £200,000 (roughly $255,000) at auction next month.
If you're not up on your 1960s motorsport history, you might not know why there's so much fanfare surrounding this seemingly humble car. In 1963, Ford approached Lotus to turn the little Cortina sedan into a serious race car. Lotus reworked pretty much everything from the ground up, revising the suspension and brakes, swapping on some lightweight aluminum body panels, and installing a 1.6-liter twin-cam four-cylinder and a close-ratio gearbox. In a way, the Lotus Cortina is like an English version of the original Mustang Shelby GT350—a basic machine made into a competitive race car by some of the greatest motorsports minds of the time.
Like the Shelby GT350, the Lotus Cortina was a forced to be reckoned with in club racing. A year after it went into production, the Cortina won the British Saloon Car Championship with Jim Clark at the wheel.
Lotus built this Cortina and two others for the 1966 British Saloon Car Championship. Clark raced it in its debut at Oulton Park, though the event was rained out. Jacky Ickx and Peter Arundell took it to a few more class wins later in the year, and eventually, its engine was converted to fuel injection. Its last race as a Team Lotus car came in 1967 at Brands Hatch, where Graham Hill took it to another class win.
It raced in the UK through 1968, before making its way through various owners in Africa over the next few decades. Cedric Selzar, one of Jim Clark's race mechanics, bought the car in 2005, brought it back to England and restored it to the condition it's in today.
It looks great in the Team Lotus livery of white with a distinctive green stripe running down each side. To us, it looks like it's itching to race. Maybe we'll see it at Goodwood next year?