For giant automobile manufacturer Ford, success on the track has often come through innovative, mutually beneficial associations, and the 1963 Ford Lotus Cortina was no exception. Ford supplied Lotus with the basic, two-door monocoque shell, presumably with the interior trim, and Lotus took care of the rest. They installed their own souped-up engine, a close ratio four-speed manual gearbox and advanced suspension, which made the car a favorite, and a winner, in saloon car racing, as well as in rallying, once the unreliable A-frame rear suspension was sorted out. Just like the original Ford Model T, it was available in any color you wanted, as long as it was cream with olive accents. This changed in 1967, when more colors were made available.
The Lotus Cortina was powered by Lotus’ own 1.6-liter, twin-cam four-cylinder engine, which produced 105 horsepower. Paired with the close-ratio transmission, it made for a spirited drive, even if initial 0-60 acceleration was nothing to write home about, at 13.5 seconds. Top speed was 105 horsepower.
The 1963 Ford Lotus Cortina got an upgrade in power in 1967, when the Mark II was introduced, but in terms of desirability, nothing beats the original, in its original livery.