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Lotus Cortina Estate Wagon (Tribute)

1965 Lotus Cortina Wagon

Condition: Used
Make: Lotus
Model: Cortina Wagon
Type: Wagon
Trim: Estate Wagon
Year: 1965
Mileage: 1,400
VIN: 87E535210
Color: White with Green stripe
Engine: Lotus Weber Head Tall Block Twin Cam
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: 5-speed Merkur manual
Interior color: Black
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Des Plaines, Illinois, United States

Description for Lotus Cortina Wagon 1965

Back in the 60’s, Ford of England made a bunch of Cortinas in 2 door, 4 door and Estate wagon body styles. Lotus took a thousand or so of the 2 door models and made the Lotus Cortina. But a Lotus Cortina Wagon never really came out of the Lotus factory. So this car is not a real Lotus but it is what I think Colin Chapman would have put together if Ford had asked him to build them. This is a nut and bolt restoration/rebirth of a nearly rust free 1965 English Ford Cortina wagon into Lotus Cortina Sport Wagon.

Open the hood and you will find a pristine engine bay with a Lotus Twin Cam engine with twin Weber side draft carbs. Slightly hot cams with big valves and a nice header makes this beauty burble at idle but bellow when you put your foot into it. It puts out maybe 140-150hp. The 1700cc tall block engine is connected to a rebuilt Merkur 5 speed manual transmission. A hydraulic centerforce throwout bearing makes the clutch pedal light and easily modulated. The transmission has a nice tall first gear to get you off the line easily and an overdrive 5th gear to let you cruise on the highway with the modern cars. Lotus Cortina McPherson struts, Lotus thicker sway bar and Lotus short front springs in the front with all new bushings and Spax shocks. The stock problematic rear lever shocks have been replaced with the more standard tube telescoping type shocks. A freshly rebuilt Lotus Cortina brake booster works nicely with the Lotus Cortina front disc brakes and the Merkur rear disc brakes. 15X6 VTO wheels with 195X60X15 tires fill up the wheel wells. Pertronix ignition, a new gear reduction starter and a custom street rod wiring harness with multiple fuses eliminate some of the gremlins that can be bothersome in an old car.

The interior is all fresh and looks sharp. The steering wheel is a rare Lotus Cortina/Elan S/E leather wrapped wheel with new leather. Looks and feels great and proper. Dash binnacle houses a rebuilt speedometer and tachometer along with the fuel and oil pressure gauge. A new Retro brand radio fits well and looks right in the dash. The front passenger seat is an original Lotus Cortina bucket seat in good condition. Driver’s seat is a brand new 1979 Recaro bucket. Looks good and feels great. The Lotus Cortina driver’s seat included in the spares. The upgraded ratcheting front shoulder belts work good and don’t look out of place The fold down back seat is newly upholstered with black vinyl in the original style pattern. I installed rear seat belts even though the car did not come with them originally. A new headliner was installed of course. The all new door and side panels are imported from Aldridge trim in England who made them in the original style. Black carpet with new Cocoa mats to match really finish things off well.

Open up the rear hatch and you will see a bit of oak wood. Not stock but the plain white floor just needed a little dress up. You will also find a custom made enclosed battery box with a cutoff switch. A true Lotus Cortina had the battery removed from the engine bay and moved into the trunk for better weight distribution. It seemed only right that I put the battery in the back as well. Spare tire is hidden under the back end.

Outside the body is finished in the correct Lotus Cortina colors - Ermine white with Citroen Sherwood green stripe. The body was completely professionally stripped via soda blasting inside, outside, underside, engine bay – everything. VERY little rust was found. Minor repair was done correctly with welded in metal before the several coats of primer, the paint and clear. All soda blasting, body work and paint professionally done at Stowe Auto Body in Joliet Illinois. New Lotus badges are placed where the Lotus badges are supposed to go. Door handles have new chrome. New stainless steel rear bumper and re-chromed front quarter bumpers. New windshield with new front rubber.

Provenance and documentation galore.

Here is the original feature on Bring A Trailer:


I have lots of pictures of the complete restoration here: http://www.lotuscorps.org/pictures/index.php?/category/19

I documented the entire restoration in a self published book that is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lotus-Cortina-Shooting-Brake/dp/1494276607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465951352&sr=8-1&keywords=lotus+cortina+shooting

Best of show at the 2014 Chicago British Car Festival. (Full disclosure – Chicago style voting had an influence on the results!)

The car was featured in the November 2015 issue of Classic Motorsports:


Spares include the Lotus Cortina drivers seat, a pair of tail lights (rare as hen’s teeth), complete rear drum brake set up, pair of original lever shocks and a covercraft indoor car cover.

The car looks great, drives great, sounds great and feels great. This is a real head turner and conversation starter and any car show. You won’t find another one like this in the world. With only about 1300 total miles on it since the rebuild, I just don’t drive it enough. It’s time for someone else to enjoy it and show it in their neck of the woods.

Nothings perfect so here are a couple little faults.

It leaks a little bit of oil – like any Lotus. Little bit out of the engine, and a drip here and there out of the trans and rear end.

The steering is fine if you are rolling but it is a real bear to turn it lock to lock if you want to Parallel Park. It is manual steering with big front tires.

I encourage you to come out and give this car a serious look and test drive.