Ford's profile-raising competition programme during the motor sport conscious 1960s 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 1000 cars required for homologation. Launched in 1963, the Lotus Cortina Cortina Lotus in Ford parlance featured the Elan's Ford-based, twin overhead-camshaft, 1559cc capacity engine in the two-door bodyshell. McPherson strut independent front suspension was retained, with revised spring and damper rates, while the traditional and rally-proven Cortina rear springs were replaced on the earlier Lotus Cortinas by coil-spring/damper units, axle location being achieved by trailing arms and an 'A' bracket. The set-up was just fine for smooth race circuits, but Ford quickly soon changed the rear suspension in production to the leaf spring set-up that was more suited for public road work and rally stages.
First registered for the road by the London County Council 15 September 1966, KUC 964D started life as a standard production Lotus Cortina Mk1 road car, being a 1966 Ford-built motor car, a notably late example in the 3306 total number produced. Assorted photos and invoices on file indicate that around sixteen years ago, the road car was converted into a road rally car that could also compete on special stage events.
Whether this transformation involved a re-shell is not known, although the current body does appear to be Lotus Cortina authentic. For as well as being gusseted and strengthened, the shell does have such other features as that small hump in the boot floor above the differential and the model distinctive tramp bar mountings, rather than modified Escort ones. Within the strictly rally-functional boot is a longer-range alloy fuel tank, a battery located on the offside, twin fuel pumps and well-secured spare wheel, jack and wheel-brace. Indeed, several 2000-2007 historic stage and road event stickers are displayed in the boot.
Having been held in reserve for several seasons, recent re-commissioning has seen the replacement of the front seats with a pair of FIA-standard compliant OMP T-RS XL bucket seats, the fitting of a pair of in-date TRS full harnesses and a set of Minilite-style alloys. The 1.6-litre engine has twin Weber carburettors and SE-type green-painted cam covers. Finished in the iconic Alan Mann team livery, the rally-ready Lotus Cortina has a 170mph speedometer, Brantz International Pro Rally tripmeter, passenger footbrace-mounted horn button, oversize wash/wipe switches and substantial rollcage.
This collector category Fast Ford, which is eligible for a range of HRCR series and promoter-run rallies and tours, as well as MSA Speed events, is offered with MSA Historic Rally Identity Form, Stage Logbook, expired FIA Historic ID Form and current MOT certificate valid to March 2016.