1968 Ford Lotus Cortina

Mk II 2dr Saloon 1.6 L

Vehicle values by condition

Condition 4
#4 cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped.
Condition 3
#3 cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior.
Condition 2
#2 cars could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 cars that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws.
Condition 1
#1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best car, unmodified, in the right colours, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours.
Insurance premium for a
1968 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk II 2dr Saloon 1558
valued at £22,500
£170.61 / year*

History of the 1967 - 1970 Ford Lotus Cortina

1967 - 1970 Ford Lotus Cortina
1967 - 1970 Ford Lotus Cortina

Colin Chapman’s Lotus Cortina Mk I was a tough act to follow. The heavily modified suspension, lightweight aluminium panels and 105-horsepower twin-cam engine proved to be the perfect tool in the hands of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Sears and Jacky Ickx, who won the UK Group 2 championship in 1963 and 1964. Sir John Whitmore won the European Touring Car Championship in 1965.

With the Mk II Cortina redesign planned for 1967, Ford was concerned about the reliability of the Lotus Cortina. Chapman was moving to Hethel and couldn’t take on any new jobs, so Ford took the project in-house at Dagenham. The Lotus Cortina would be built alongside the Cortina GT, but with different engine and suspension. The Lotus Cortina Mk II received a 109hp engine, and the GT’s remote gear change. Radial tires were standard, the fuel tank was increased in size and wider wheels were offset differently. There were more colour choices and the cars were delivered without a side stripe, though most got one from the dealer. The gearbox ratios remained the same, though the differential gearing was raised from 3.9:1 to 3.77:1.

A few months after production, the Lotus Cortina badge on the trunk was replaced by Cortina Twin Cam. It was now called the Cortina Lotus and the interior much like the GT’s. In 1968 the four Lotus gauges were moved from on top of the dash to within it, and a clock fitted in the console. The handbrake was moved and an internal hood latch fitted in 1969, along with a single-rail gear lever.

The Cortina Lotus II stayed in production until 1970 and 4,032 were built, about 1,000 more than the Mk I. However, the world had moved on, and Ford’s 1968 Escort was lighter and stronger than the Cortina. Once fitted with the Twin Cam engine, the Escort became the car to beat. The Cortina Lotus has never had the cachet of the earlier Mk I, but it is as good a car, which can be had for half the money.

With more than 1 million Mk II Cortinas built, the prospect of accidentally buying a well-prepared replica is daunting. Check all documents and look for the VIN prefix BA19 to indicate it was originally an Ermine White car with Sherwood Green stripe. The flash was only a factory option on the white cars. Check differences in gauges and trim; make sure there has never been a battery box under the bonnet, and the servo brackets are correct.

Rust is an ever-present threat and while panels can be sourced, they can be tricky to fit. Be aware that the Weber carburettor seldom goes out of tune, so if the engine is hard to start or smokes, the problem is more severe.

While the Lotus Cortina Mk II was basically a GT with lower suspension and twin-cam engine, a huge range of options was available, including alloy panels, close-ratio gearbox, a limited-slip differential, quick-ratio steering, and even Tecalemit fuel injection and Elektron wheels. Complete provenance is essential if you’re going to pay top price.

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