The ex-Team Lotus, Jim Clark/John Whitmore/Jack Sears 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina MkI Competition Saloon Registration no. JTW 498C Chassis no. BA85E 424567S
Ford's 1960s profile-raising competition programme included recruiting Lotus boss Colin Chapman to give the new Cortina a sporting makeover. Chapman's brief was to develop a Group 2 competition version; Lotus would then build the 1,000 cars required for homologation. Launched in 1963, the Lotus Cortina - Cortina Lotus in Ford parlance - featured the Elan's Ford-based, twin-overhead-camshaft, 1.6-litre engine in the two-door bodyshell. McPherson strut independent front suspension was retained, with revised spring and damper rates, while the rear leaf springs were replaced by coil-spring/damper units, axle location being achieved by trailing arms and an 'A' bracket. The adoption of an alloy differential casing proved a mixed blessing, the lightweight component proving far less oil-tight than the original. Reversion to Ford's standard leaf-sprung axle cured the problem. Lotus Cortinas dominated saloon racing's 2-litre class, often challenging for outright honours. Works cars were driven by Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Peter Arundell and Jackie Ickx, while Sir John Whitmore, driving an Alan Mann-entered Lotus Cortina, was European Touring Car Champion in 1965. After the axle change, the hitherto fragile Lotus Cortina proved a highly capable rally car, works driver Bengt Soderstrom winning the Acropolis and RAC rallies in 1966.
The Lotus Cortina offered here is one of the original works racing saloons campaigned during the mid-1960s by legendary Formula 1 World Champion, Jim Clark, while touring car champions Sir John Whitmore and Jack Sears also competed in this same car. 'JTW 498C' was raced, together with 'JTW 496C' and 'JTW 497C', by the works-backed Team Lotus during 1965 and comes with its factory record card recording events entered, dates, drivers, engines fitted, failures and comments. During 1965, 'JTW 498C' was used in the British saloon car championship, being driven by Jack Sears at Goodwood and Snetterton (twice), Jim Clark at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, and John Whitmore at Oulton Park. Throughout 1965 'JTW 498C' was owned by the Ford Motor Company, passing into the ownership of Lotus Cars Ltd in 1966 as recorded in the accompanying original old-style logbook. It is believed to have been used as road transport by Team Lotus Chief Mechanic, David Lazenby before being sold into the private ownership of Lotus Components employee, Thomas Kelly, in April 1967. Several succeeding owners are recorded in accompanying documentation compiled by one of them, Mr Richard Coombes, who owned the car in 1984. In 1997 the Lotus was sold to Trevor Barefoot, having been kept in storage for an extended period and with most, if not all, its original modifications still in place.
'JTW 498C' has since been restored, much of the work being carried out by one of this country's leading Lotus Cortina specialists, Exway Coachworks of Exmouth, Devon with many hundreds of man-hours spent. We are advised that the car underwent a total body restoration during 2003/2004, many panels being replaced and new seats fabricated, exactly replicating those originally fitted during its racing career. Suspension and steering modifications unique to this car have been retained and remain in place, while the engine underwent a total rebuild by recognised specialist Pat Thomas of Kelvedon Motors to bring it back to full race specification at a cost in excess of £14,000. Related bills may be found within the extensive history file, which also contains letters of authentication from the Lotus Cortina Register, a UK V5C Registration Certificate, current MoT, and the aforementioned logbook and race records.
Since its acquisition by the current vendor in 2007, 'JTW 498C' has been used sparingly, its outings being confined to demonstration runs up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2008, 2012, and 2013. A unique opportunity to acquire an historic racing saloon associated with three great motor racing champions, including the legendary Jim Clark.