1964 Ford Lotus Cortina Special Equipment

Dynamically, the transformation wrought by Lotus was amazing. On a twisty road, the dumpy little Cortina could shame cars costing four times as much

Of the 2,894 Mk 1 Lotus Cortinas produced, only 64 were built by the factory as Special Equipment models. This rare version was upgraded with semi-race camshafts, larger valves, bigger diameter exhaust system, 115 hp (up-rated from 105) as indicated by green cam covers, adjustable rear dampers, leather-covered version of the distinctive Lotus wood-rim steering wheel (from April 1964), Irvine “aircraft specification” seatbelts/harnesses, and unique “Special Equipment” script badge on rear body panels.

This 1964 Ford Lotus Cortina was the subject of a lengthy and meticulous restoration undertaken between 1993 and 1997 by the talented husband-and-wife team of Duncan and Teresa Tough, while the engine was rebuilt and uprated by marque specialists Nick Stagg Engineering of Chipping Sodbury, Bristol, as part of the restoration. Test results are fully documented, including the dynamometer-tested horsepower rating of the completed unit of 143.8 hp at 7,182 rpm.

The finished 1964 Lotus Cortina is confirmed as to correct specification by the Lotus Cortina Register and was the subject of a photographic history exercise by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, which had chosen this particular example as the reference model for its archive. After restoration, this car was acquired by well-known Lotus Cortina aficionado Trevor Barefoot and during his ownership featured on BBC television’s popular motoring program “Top Gear,” transmitted initially in 2001. The current owner purchased the car from Don Rose in 2003 and since then has used it, albeit gently, for selected rallies.

Kept in heated/ventilated accommodation while in the vendor’s hands “AEG 156B” represents a rare opportunity to acquire the ultimate version of this legendary model, which was a true world-beater in its day. A substantial history file documenting its restoration comes with the car, together with Swansea V5 document and a comprehensive photographic record detailing the painstaking restoration of both body and chassis. Nick Stagg’s engine specification sheet and a pristine owner’s manual are provided also, as well as a spare set of five original steel wheels. (Courtesy of Bonhams)

Rob Sass

Rob Sass - SCM Contributor

Rob was pre-ordained to accumulate strange collector cars after early exposure to his dad’s 1959 Hillman Minx. Sass served as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Missouri and then as a partner in a St. Louis law firm before deciding his billable hours requirement terminally interfered with his old car affliction. His stable of affordable classics has included a TVR 280i, a Triumph TR 250, an early Porsche 911S, and a Daimler SP250. He currently owns a 1965 E-type coupe and a 1981 Porsche 911SC.

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