Jump to content


Photo

Remembering the Lotus Cortina


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 25 September 2006 - 22:33

Chapman has a lot to answer for (especially to Ford!) regarding that car. Once the 1000 (or in those days "about"...!) had been built for Group 2 homologation, Ford could lose all the trick bits and sell cheaper. Even the race teams seemed to use the leaf spring set up as soon as it was homologated and the A bracket probably cost Ford a further 2 years at the top in International Rallying, leaving the Mk1 as "the car to beat" for only about 18 months, once it got leaf springs.

Regarding the Mann cars, KPU392C is said to have first appeared on a white and green car (at Mont Ventoux?) in 65. Question is, was it on an "earlier A bracket car", as reported, or, perish the thought, could it have been the yet to be homologated leaf spring car prior to getting its red and gold colours?

Advertisement

#2 cosworth bdg

cosworth bdg
  • Member

  • 1,350 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:54

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
Don't forget the MK1 Escort was Homologated with Fibre Glass panels, boot lid , bonnet, & doors .....................................

The MK1 Escort I own is one such car ,it is fitted with 5 speed 2000E Hewland , alloy cased G/B & diff, 2L alloy block Lucas Injected BDG, Mini-Lites 8 x13, & much more in the way of 1971/2 homologated Group 2 components....

#3 cosworth bdg

cosworth bdg
  • Member

  • 1,350 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:05

Originally posted by Ray Bell
KPU 386C or KPU 396C?

Good piccie, isn't it?

Excellent........... :up:

#4 metalshapes

metalshapes
  • Member

  • 90 posts
  • Joined: June 06

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:33

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
The MK1 Escort I own is one such car ,it is fitted with 5 speed 2000E Hewland , alloy cased G/B & diff, 2L alloy block Lucas Injected BDG, Mini-Lites 8 x13, & much more in the way of 1971/2 homologated Group 2 components....


I'd love to see some pics of that car!

#5 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 26 September 2006 - 15:46

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
The MK1 Escort I own is one such car ,it is fitted with 5 speed 2000E Hewland , alloy cased G/B & diff, 2L alloy block Lucas Injected BDG, Mini-Lites 8 x13, & much more in the way of 1971/2 homologated Group 2 components....


Come on Cossie, Give! would love to see pictures of your Escort....sounds great.....do you keep the engine in fettle? :wave:

#6 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 26 September 2006 - 16:50

Originally posted by hipperson
Back to our new Cortina-Lotus ( as it was marketed) in 1965...Ford could not sell the cars at £1100. To get under the £1000 they removed the alloy doors,boot & bonnet. Our car had the alloy cars A-bracket suspension. It was hung on metalastik bushes which caused a rersonance thru the car at certain revs. Under warranty Ford changed this for the leaf spring lay out. I am no engineer but this is how I remember it.


I drove a few Lotus Cortinas around that time, and as far as I can remember, the biggest problems with the A-bracket cars were diff oil leaks, the forces imposed on a production casing by the bracket used to distort them, with too many warranty claims resulting. Another problem was driving in a straight line. I was pretty unskilled back then as a driver, some would say that I still am, but I knew my limitations and was terrified of bending a company car, so usually drove in elderly vicar mode, not easy getting away from a standstill with that very high first gear, and they weren't nice cars to drive in traffic. The A-bracket cars I drove always weaved disconcertingly on straight roads, though this probably didn't worry the likes of Jim Clark too much. The later leaf-sprung cars felt much better, though you could feel the added weight. Those alloy panels were terribly easy to dent, they wouldn't last long today in a Tesco car park. Anyone remember the early front seats? They were just the standard ones with a black vinyl cover over them that included some smallish side bolsters. 'Bucket seats' as the sales literature claimed, and you'd be lucky to get much more than 20mpg out of an early Lotus Cortina, with oil consumption often not much less.

#7 cosworth bdg

cosworth bdg
  • Member

  • 1,350 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 27 September 2006 - 02:36

Originally posted by kayemod


I drove a few Lotus Cortinas around that time, and as far as I can remember, the biggest problems with the A-bracket cars were diff oil leaks, the forces imposed on a production casing by the bracket used to distort them, with too many warranty claims resulting. Another problem was driving in a straight line. I was pretty unskilled back then as a driver, some would say that I still am, but I knew my limitations and was terrified of bending a company car, so usually drove in elderly vicar mode, not easy getting away from a standstill with that very high first gear, and they weren't nice cars to drive in traffic. The A-bracket cars I drove always weaved disconcertingly on straight roads, though this probably didn't worry the likes of Jim Clark too much. The later leaf-sprung cars felt much better, though you could feel the added weight. Those alloy panels were terribly easy to dent, they wouldn't last long today in a Tesco car park. Anyone remember the early front seats? They were just the standard ones with a black vinyl cover over them that included some smallish side bolsters. 'Bucket seats' as the sales literature claimed, and you'd be lucky to get much more than 20mpg out of an early Lotus Cortina, with oil consumption often not much less.

An aquantance of mine drives a mk1 L/C cortina A frame rear suspension car as his every day road car and is for ever fixing diff leaks, it all revolves around uneven forces in that rear suspension , today they would never get away with what is in this car design.........

#8 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:42

Something else on that high first gear. The first cars were awful to drive in traffic, and a clutch didn't last long. When the Aeroflow leaf sprung version of the Mk1 appeared, these didn't seem so bad, so maybe the ratios were changed. As a road car though, my favourite was definitely the Ford-built Mk2, and it was also Colin Chapman's. He had a red four door, and it was the car he most often drove to the office, Fred Bushell's was gold, rather appropriate for a Financial Director. It's a long time ago and I never drove the red ACBC car, but it clearly had a box with a high first gear, as well as a Harry Gunn tuned big-valve twincam. The Directors' garage was at one end of the Lotus offices, and I often witnessed the Great Man's car kangarooing down the road in front of the main office as he drove away. But back to Alan Mann. Few will know that in addition to his full-size flying interests, he was also a skilled model flier, I think he won the UK championships in the pylon racing class some time in the 1970s, certainly he was a top contender. The design that he was most successful with back then was called 'Manneater', and I think it's still possible to buy the plans today. I remember seeing him fly once or twice, and Alan stood out, he seemed to be the only one of us sad modellers who was always smartly dressed.

#9 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 27 September 2006 - 22:23

Originally posted by kayemod
Something else on that high first gear. The first cars were awful to drive in traffic, and a clutch didn't last long. When the Aeroflow leaf sprung version of the Mk1 appeared, these didn't seem so bad, so maybe the ratios were changed. As a road car though, my favourite was definitely the Ford-built Mk2, and it was also Colin Chapman's. He had a red four door, and it was the car he most often drove to the office, Fred Bushell's was gold, rather appropriate for a Financial Director. It's a long time ago and I never drove the red ACBC car, but it clearly had a box with a high first gear, as well as a Harry Gunn tuned big-valve twincam. The Directors' garage was at one end of the Lotus offices, and I often witnessed the Great Man's car kangarooing down the road in front of the main office as he drove away. But back to Alan Mann. Few will know that in addition to his full-size flying interests, he was also a skilled model flier, I think he won the UK championships in the pylon racing class some time in the 1970s, certainly he was a top contender. The design that he was most successful with back then was called 'Manneater', and I think it's still possible to buy the plans today. I remember seeing him fly once or twice, and Alan stood out, he seemed to be the only one of us sad modellers who was always smartly dressed.

I was never fortunate to have a Lotus, however had a few rides in one as a lad, were they capable of 50m.p.h. in 1st gear? :confused:

#10 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 28 September 2006 - 09:19

Originally posted by sterling49

I was never fortunate to have a Lotus, however had a few rides in one as a lad, were they capable of 50m.p.h. in 1st gear? :confused:


Very nearly, upper 40s certainly, but early cars had a trick to catch the unwary, one of the first ignition cut-outs that chopped the power if you tried to take it past 6500 rpm. It was crude device with a spring-retained bob weight on the rotor arm, but it worked OK. That 105bhp version of the twincam was so good for mid-range torque though, that there was nothing much to be gained by screwing it in the gears. As well as that high first gear, early cars had a clutch that wasn't easy to slip, and owners lived in terror of having to try a hill re-start, I'd say it would have been impossible on anything really steep. Lotus Cortinas are taking over this thread, which is a bit unfair to Alan Mann, any chance of sorting this out or re-naming it TW? If you can, I'll tell the story of how a friend's Mk1 Lotus Cortina came very close to castrating him.

#11 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,142 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 28 September 2006 - 09:37

Originally posted by kayemod

I'll tell the story of how a friend's Mk1 Lotus Cortina came very close to castrating him.


Tell the story anyway. I think the world needs to know about this.

#12 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 September 2006 - 09:47

Originally posted by ian senior


Tell the story anyway. I think the world needs to know about this.


I am all eye's as they say!!!! :eek:

#13 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 28 September 2006 - 13:37

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by kayemod

I'll tell the story of how a friend's Mk1 Lotus Cortina came very close to castrating him. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tell the story anyway. I think the world needs to know about this.

Well, alright then, seeing as it's you.

Some time in the mid 60s, a rich university friend's father had given him a Lotus Cortina, a leaf-sprung Aeroflow Mk1. One weekend, three of us went in it to a local pub somewhere near Angmering in West Sussex. The normal route to the pub was along small twisty roads, so rich friend (RF) took us by a lengthy roundabout route that included a bit of dual carriageway, leaving me, though not his rather timid wife, most impressed with the car's performance. After a couple of hours in the pub, RF decided that he'd drunk too much to be able to drive home, so after I'd declined the offer of the keys, I'd drunk almost as much as him, and had only passed my test in an Escort 1100 a few months earlier, RF's wife was persuaded to take the wheel. I had the longest legs, and was given the front passenger seat, we'd picked up two more friends in the pub, so three semi-inebriates crammed themselves into the back of the 2 door car, RF who was just a bit portly, in the middle. All went quite well, until RF's wife, whose usual car was an 850 Mini, was caught out by a combination of high first gear, unforgiving clutch, and heavy low-speed steering, and went straight on at walking pace at a T junction, to give an earth bank a barely noticable touch. This was enough however, to catapault RF right between the front seats, shouting "Good God, my goolies!", in my ear as he did so, he'd caught them of the centre armrest cum ashtray between the seats. After backing the car away from the bank, we continued to RF's home, which was when we noticed that whilst clutching his groin, he was leaving bloody footprints on the off-white carpets. RF peered down the front of his trousers and promptly fainted. We phoned for an ambulance, and RF was whisked off to hospital, kept sedated until he'd sobered up enough to be anaesthetised, and given an impressive number of stitches to repair a partially severed scrotum. He made a full recovery, eventually fathered children, and a week or so after the accident, lowered his trousers in the same pub to show us his stitches, and the most impressive technicolour bruising I'd ever seen. The upper classes did that kind of thing in those days, probably still do. And that's the full unvarnished truth, Your Honour.

There is a slightly sad footnote to this tale. Rich friend got so fed up with the car's foibles and need for constant attention by mechanics who understood things like twin side draught Webers, that he didn't keep it very much longer. He replaced it with, of all things, a Rover 3 litre coupé, which he kept for several years, and gave, (gave!!!) the Lotus Cortina to his brother.

#14 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,142 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 28 September 2006 - 13:56

That was well worth the wait. Made my day, that did.

#15 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,517 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 28 September 2006 - 14:07

:rotfl: :rotfl:

#16 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 September 2006 - 18:21

:clap: :clap: :clap: Bravo! it must have smart a bit! Brings tears to my eyes......... :rotfl:

#17 Twin Window

Twin Window
  • Nostalgia Host

  • 6,611 posts
  • Joined: May 04

Posted 28 September 2006 - 20:54

Originally posted by kayemod

Lotus Cortinas are taking over this thread ... any chance of sorting this out or re-naming it TW?

Done; hopefully it's now *split*.

Any complaints, please let me know via email or PM!

:up:

#18 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 28 September 2006 - 21:44

Oi! I didn't start the thread! :)

This Lotus Cortina (Bengt Soderstrom/Gunnar Palm, winners in 1966 in a Mk1) was to have been used on the 1967 RAC Rally - the event that was cancelled the evening before the start because of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Posted Image

It appeared to be a new car for the event but carried the reg no of an earlier Saluki Bronze works Mk2 that had been used on the Acropolis and Gulf London Rallies.
Contrary to what Graham Robson has written in his recent book "Boreham", Soderstrom's was a Group2 car and it was Roger Clark and Graham Hill who were entered in the two Group5 cars.

#19 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 September 2006 - 21:51

Originally posted by Twin Window
Done; hopefully it's now *split*.

Any complaints, please let me know via email or PM!

:up:


No complaints from this "newbie", just pleased to contribute and enjoy reading about a passion so dear to us all........cars are'nt too bad either!!! :rotfl:

This is a good spin off, I had a '66 Mark 1 G.T in 1971.....dark blue, wish I still had it! :cry:

Advertisement

#20 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 28 September 2006 - 22:07

The works rally Lotus Cortina identities are almost impossible to unravel as the "KPU" series were re-shelled and registration numbers came to merely be identified with a particular driver as a means of keeping all his personal items like seats etc together. The final (white/green with black bonnets) works Mk1s were built for the 1966 Alpine and re-used on the 1966 RAC but although the others carried "NVW" reg nos, Vic Elford's similarly new car carried the very old reg no KPU380C.

Roger Clark's red car on 1966 UK events (except the RAC) carried KPU383C. I took this at the start of the 1966 Gulf London International Rally at the Excellsior Hotel, Heathrow Airport and it looks like Vic Elford in overalls standing to the offside of the car as it moves off.

Posted Image

#21 James Page

James Page
  • Member

  • 364 posts
  • Joined: October 04

Posted 29 September 2006 - 08:38

This isn't as good a story as the chap who did himself a nasty injury, but here goes anyway. In the early 70s, Dad owned a Mk1 Lotus Cortina, which was always getting pinched. On one such occasion, the car was apparently broken up, something that was discovered when Dad was painting the front of the house one morning. Coming out of a turning down the road, a bloke ran whatever he was driving all the way up through its rev range.

"That's my engine," said Dad. He got the registration as it whizzed past and called the police. Fortunately, my grandfather was a policeman at the time, so instead of laughing at him ("I've just heard my engine go up the road") they chased it up. Turns out he was right - the engine had a flat spot at about 5000rpm and Dad recognised it immediately. They retrieved the engine and the car.

Bored of getting it stolen, Dad then sold it and bought the first thing that was available - a Hillman Imp, which, despite having an all-singing all-dancing engine, he hated.

#22 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 29 September 2006 - 09:22

I think that's a great story as well. I've remembered something else about my Lotus Cortina owning friend's near castration by the ashtray of his own car, he did it all without even a small tear in his trousers. It sounds like something out of a TV sitcom, but his wife had the presence of mind to leave them soaking in the bath before she accompanied her now dressing gown clad husband to the hospital, and after dry cleaning, they were as good as new. He always referred to them as his 'lucky trousers' after that.

A small correction. I mentioned downdraught Webers in my earlier post, but I really meant 40 DCOE side draught Webers of course.

#23 petefenelon

petefenelon
  • Member

  • 4,815 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 29 September 2006 - 10:34

Originally posted by James Page

Bored of getting it stolen, Dad then sold it and bought the first thing that was available - a Hillman Imp, which, despite having an all-singing all-dancing engine, he hated.


My grandfather had a Mk1 in the early 70s, an odd sort of car for a family man in his sixties I later thought.... he got rid of it in favour of a Triumph Herald! I assume they had a bit of a slump in values when they were 'old but not classic'?

(In other 'he got rid of a nice car for what? my maternal uncle had a Mini Cooper which he ditched for a Humber Sceptre Mk3 after marrying... - although the police force gave him more interesting things to drive!) - when he was a younger man still living with my grandparents bits of his Mini Cooper were often liberally scattered all over the house. There were Coopers on both sides of the family, my dad's brother also had one which looked smarter but probably spent less time in bits ;))

#24 sterling49

sterling49
  • Member

  • 10,840 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 29 September 2006 - 11:14

Whilst still of tender years and at secondary school, our annual fete had a great attraction, our science master was part of BRSCC and a great petrol head to boot (still see him to this day and we talk cars!!!!)and used to excercise his potent Morris Minor 1000 at Brands regularly in Sprints.(My school was 4 miles from Brands Hatch). He arranged a guy to "exhibit his Lotus Cortina Mark 1 and a racing Lotus 7 at our fete (1965?). The plan was for rides around the school footie pitch in the Cortina on a fine summers day................that was the plan...it RAINED, and RAINED and RAINED....I had some great rides though and the pitch turned into a rallycross field as we went sideways all the way round it! Needless to say when word got back to those in "high places" this particular form of amusement was stopped as it was ruining the field.....SHAME! The guy being very enterprising then set the 7 up on the school drive and did "drag starts" for about 500 yards.....exhilirating wind in hair!!!.......Word got out and that was stopped because it was "ripping up the tarmac" and was altogether too fast old boy! Ha ha...not before yours truly had spent most of his pocket money on said rides....he would have made afortune for the school............if only! A lot to answer for, my addiction continues!!! :clap:

Oh...said master also arranged our school bank to be opened by Graham Hill, in between practising for the Race of Champions that year..........great stuff eh!! He broughtGraham down in is Morris Minor and drove him back afterwards! :clap:

#25 James Page

James Page
  • Member

  • 364 posts
  • Joined: October 04

Posted 29 September 2006 - 13:00

Originally posted by petefenelon
In other 'he got rid of a nice car for what? my maternal uncle had a Mini Cooper which he ditched for a Humber Sceptre Mk3 after marrying... - although the police force gave him more interesting things to drive!) - when he was a younger man still living with my grandparents bits of his Mini Cooper were often liberally scattered all over the house. There were Coopers on both sides of the family, my dad's brother also had one which looked smarter but probably spent less time in bits ;))


Which reminds me (veering off-topic for a mo) - a few weeks after getting the Imp (and realising he'd bought a stinker), Dad was offered a fully kitted-out Mini Cooper S, which IIRC had been used for rallying - possibly even competing in the RAC. It was still in its Yellow Pages livery.

Sadly, Mum vetoed it on the grounds that they'd spent the past year going between various cars because of the Lotus Cortina getting regularly pinched, and she didn't want the hassle of changing again. "We've got this one now, we don't need another."

Dad still holds it against her…

#26 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 29 September 2006 - 13:52

Originally posted by James Page

Dad was offered a fully kitted-out Mini Cooper S, which IIRC had been used for rallying - possibly even competing in the RAC. It was still in its Yellow Pages livery.


Graham Parker's car from the 1971 RAC? I think the other two Minis used in Yellow Pages colours were 998 Coopers. It replaced the 998 Cooper entry I was one the two man service crew for, that had to withdraw prior to the rally.

But is this too much OT?

#27 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,276 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 29 September 2006 - 14:29

Originally posted by RS2000
But this is too much OT!


No, it isn't. It's the constant flow of madly OT snippets like this that make this Forum so great.

#28 RTH

RTH
  • Member

  • 5,742 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 29 September 2006 - 14:33

Co-incidentally today Lotus have revealed details of a repise of the Lotus Cortina by creating an ultra sporty 150 mph saloon based on the new Proton Satria.

6000 cars a year the 200bhp Lotus Satria will have running gear designed by Lotus with more than twice the power of the standard car with a european sourced 2.5 turbo engine and suspension as well as restyled bodywork. This car with a size and look not unlike a Focus might even make a rally car in time !

This is expected to be an early debut as part of a 5 year new model programme from the Norfolk sports car maker who are of course currently owned by the Malaysian car giant.

http://www.autocar.c...mcurrentresults

http://www.autocar.c...C_EL_ID=3177879

#29 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 29 September 2006 - 14:54

Around the time the works rally team rolled out it's final Mk1s (in standard white/green with black bonnets and minilite wheels), the older red cars were in still in use. Brian Melia drove this works Group2 car (originally one of the 1966 Monte Carlo Group1 cars?) in the 1966 Gulf London International Rally (and later co-drove Jim Clark on the 1966 RAC).
Beyond Rosemary Smith's Imp is the only Elan believed to have ever started a full forest International rally.

Posted Image

#30 James Page

James Page
  • Member

  • 364 posts
  • Joined: October 04

Posted 29 September 2006 - 16:11

Originally posted by RS2000
Graham Parkinson's car from the 1971 RAC? I think the other two Minis used in Yellow Pages colours were 998 Coopers. It replaced the 998 Cooper entry I was one the two man service crew for, that had to withdraw prior to the rally.

But this is too much OT!


It was a Cooper S, and as far as Dad could remember it was 1293cc. Well, it certainly was by the time that it was offered to him, still in Yellow Pages colours and with all the kit.

Back to Lotus Cortinas…