Huge 15 Cortina Stash Including Two Lotus Cortinas!

The Ford Cortina is a compact car built by Ford of Britain from 1962-82 and was the UK’s best-selling car during the 1970s. While all this was going on, there was also a performance version of the car built in conjunction with Lotus Cars called ….drum roll…. the Cortina Lotus. Apparently, a fellow named Bob Pratt is or was a collector of these little cars and has 13 of them for sale plus a Ford Anglia, thrown in for good measure. They’re located in Placerville, California, and available as a package deal for $100,000 here on Facebook Marketplace, including a ton of spare parts. Our thanks to “misterlou” for turning us on to this tip!

The Cortina saw five generations of production over 20 years, amassing 4.3 million cars in the process. Only a small portion of the cars made it to the U.S. because – at least during the 1960s – the cars would have competed directly with the domestic Ford Falcon. The production cycles were as follows: Mark I (1962-66), Mark II (1966-70), Mark III (1970-76), Mark IV (1976-79), and Mark V (1979-82). The seller’s Cortina’s are from the 1962-70 period.

Ford partnered with Lotus to produce the Cortina Lotus, a high-performing sports sedan. These cars used a more powerful engine than the standard fare and modifications to the suspension were substantial. So, the Cortina Lotus would not only outrun its corporate cousin but also outhandle it as well. They were built across two generations (Mark I: 1963-66 and Mark II: 1966-70) and would see only around 7,400 units built, making them far rarer now than the standard Cortina.

I’m not familiar with Bob Pratt’s reputation, so perhaps some of our readers can enlighten us.  The seller’s listing says there are 15 cars, but the math only works out to 14. Two of the autos are the Cortina Lotus editions and we assume they’re more valuable than the rest. And somehow a Ford Anglia got into the mix. We’re told that many of the cars are quite rusty and likely only good for parts. But there is much as a container’s worth of parts to sweeten the pot: 12 engines, heads, gearboxes, wheels, gauges, and more. Clean titles seem to be the order of the day.

The seller is confident in the value of the collective worth of this assortment, so it will be up to the beholder to see if they agree with the $100,000 asking price. A stellar Mark I Cortina Lotus can be a $100,000 proposition all on its own, according to Hagerty, so perhaps there’s a treasure trove here after all.

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    They’re actually in Oakland,CA.

    Like 3
    • PSB

      I took Bob to pick up the lotus C in SF later 80s. They are real. We drove over in my 67 Alfa Romeo Super.. It was a nice original owner car when Bob found it.. We raced home, on the on-ramp the super had the lotus though… There lots there.. Is Bob Ok? We lost contact about 10 years ago.. He was still using web TV internet. Be well crew.. Good stuff for sure.

      Like 9
      • Jeff Robinson

        Yeah, I am wondering about Bob also.

  2. alphasud Member

    That Lotus Cortina is a real find! Given all the other cars are included in the sale 100K sounds reasonable for the avid collector. I bet someone in the UK is going to try to put something together to bring the car back. I remember Jeremy Clarkson drove one in one of the Top Gear shows. After watching that drive if you don’t come away with the want for one of these cars I don’t know what will. Definitely a car that has character and personality much like any performance car of the period. Like I have stated before cars today are better in every way being a car but what is lost is that visceral analog feel that requires your attention and rewards you when you get it right but will stab you in the heart when you get it wrong.

    Like 31
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    If they are sound, the two round taillight cars restored could make up 100K.

    Like 11
    • Tony C. OZ.

      Back in their day here in Australia you could always pick out the Lotus Cortina on the road, if it was white with the green stripe you could bet it was a Lotus, none of the other Cortina’s had this paint scheme. Still see the odd one at car shows, All Ford Day, British Car Day, etc. Nothing spectacular about them, fairly plain and simple but under the hood is a whole different story!

      Like 5
  4. Wayne

    Cool find! Not that far away, but no room to store.
    I am always watching for a Cortina, but have never come up with one that matched my requirements (read, condition) or for available cash at the time.
    I still would like one.

    Like 2
  5. cold340t

    Robert, the late owner was great guy. Fought the city and won so many times to keep and store his beloved Cortina’s on His OWN PROPERTY. The New Money Neighbors tried every way they could to get rid of his cars for him over the last 20yrs. With no success! Loved the guy! Was hoping Jay Leno would intervene after he passed and buy them all. At least the Lotus ones. As he did send a guy for parts few years back. See these cars every day coming home and think fondly of him. Godspeed Robert!

    Like 22
    • PSB

      Hello.. I am so sorry to hear Robert passed away. I know those battles.. We were friends since the early 70s.. Then about 10 or more years ago i did not get his wed TV emails.. Can you somehow contact me or tell me how Bob Prattumus Passed and if there is a service? What about his brother? Dang it, very said news.

      Like 2
      • cold340t

        You can catch his brother there during the week. The tenants have his contact. I live nearby and see him there from time to time. Haven’t spoken to him in months though. I was/am interested in the Anglia. No where to put it though, so I have to pass. Unfortunately.

        Like 1
      • Wayne M Collins

        To PBS:

        Robert Pratt passed on in May of 2020. No funeral service was set nor any obituary prepared. You can reach Ken Pratt, his brother at (510) 451-4148.

        Like 1
  6. Steve

    Anyone buying should double check the VIN#s of the Lotus Cortinas.
    I got ripped off by another gentleman in CA who sold me a so called “Lotus Cortina”

    Like 2
    • misterlou Member

      I’ve seen these cars in person and the two Lotus Cortinas are the real deal.

      Like 3
  7. ClassicCarFan

    isn’t that what spawned the classic joke line…
    “..of roughly 3,300 Mk 1 Lotus Cortinas* built, only 4,00 are known to still survive” ?

    * insert your own choice of much-faked classic here. mmmmm… Camaro SS maybe?

    Like 4
    • ken tilly Member

      @classic car guy. Sounds like the Model A Ford story.

  8. Mike

    Here’s a mention on BaT from 2015 of a CL sale. Looks like one of the Cortinas hasn’t budged from it’s spot since then. The only thing Mr. Pratt did 6 years was put a piece of plywood on top and a trash can lid on the trunk.

    https://bringatrailer.com/2015/08/01/1967-ford-cortina-gt-project/

    Like 4
    • Euromoto Member

      This is more of a comment on BaT than on the car: This is the “old BaT”, back before all the auctions, all the generically worded descriptions, and all the comments from a bunch of people who have never turned a wrench and know very little about the cars beyond what they have read on other blog sites. The demise of the “old BaT” is what drove me to BarnFinds.

      Like 11
      • jwaltb

        BaT was cool years ago. Then it got so effete it started removing comments if you said anything bad about a car, even if you just didn’t like it. I was sorry to leave because there were some very knowledgeable people there, but political correctness killed it for me.

        Like 6
  9. Big Al

    Those Cortina Lotus are worth big bucks.

    Wow !!! And he has two !!!! Sweet

    Like 3
    • Solosolo Member

      Restored to “Concours” condition the two Lotus Cortina’s are worth $100,000 each, according to Hagerty.

      Like 2
  10. Derek

    The Lotus cars are where the money is, but the estate car is the rare one; hardly any of them left.
    Have a look on youtube; there’s footage of either Jimmy Clark or Graham Hill tricycling Lotus Cortinas at Oulton Park (bottom of Craner Corves, I think).

    Like 2
    • Frank

      Jim Clark made the Lotus Cortina famous.

      Like 3
      • Mark-A

        Especially when cornering with the inside front wheel about 6″ off the racetrack, there’s a fabulous B& W photo of it midflight as almost anything Jim Clarke drove!!

      • Dennis

        I remember an article about Clark in his early years. He crashed and when back to the crew. He told them where the car was and off they went. When they got to the spot there was the car out in a field. The interesting part was the fence around the field was in tact and quite a bit of the grass. When asked how that was possible he replied something like I don’t know I just remember seeing blue green blue green and then we landed.

  11. bill tebbutt

    I *think” the Mk1 Lotus Cortina’s were properly referred to as “Lotus Cortinas”, and the later versions (at Ford’s insistence) were call Cortina Lotus. Not sure of the source, but I recall reading that not long ago

    cheers,
    BT

    Like 7
  12. Danger Dan

    I think he was called “bomphus” by the locals. Always riding his bike and having coffee. A well loved character in north oakland. The cars are still right where they are. One of them on Jack stands under a huge redwood. Sorry to hear this news

    Like 1
  13. Slomoogee

    Wow…..some dealer will snap these up and clean up!

  14. Howard A Member

    While growing up, one always has an attraction to whatever cars come into their lives. I told the story of my old mans ’68 Mk ll, the one he bought wrecked, repaired and was totaled shortly after, the performance models always catch your eye. In this case, I knew all about the “Lotus Cortinas”. They were probably the least appreciated cars, and even though our Cortina was a mere shred of a Lotus, I could see how it would be a blast to drive. The Mk l’s tail lights always freaked me out after seeing “War of the Worlds”. The Martian’s eye looked just like the Mk l’s tail lights,,,
    https://projectswordtoys.blogspot.com/2014/12/war-of-worlds-eye.html?m=1

    Like 4
  15. luke arnott Member

    The Mk 2 1600E was also a good car.The round rear lights on the Mk 1 were used on early TVR’s.

    Like 2
  16. Dave Member

    I know one of those Lotus Cortinas was a one owner car. I was there with My Dad when Bob picked it up. This is a great buy. If I only had the cash and more importantly the room!

    Like 1
  17. Dennis

    My friend had a Lotus version. I think it was referred to as stage 13. It had been raced in a Shell sponsored rally in Canada then “restored” so it was not stock. Man it was fun. Quick and it handled. It would best a Camaro or similar for about one block ! In a lot of ways it was a perfect car. I think there is a show about one of Leno’s mechanics restoring one for himself.

    Like 1
  18. Howie Mueler

    My parents had a Cortina wagon, lots of work needed there.

    Like 1
  19. Ed DeBuhr

    I had a 72 that I bought from a guy that moved it up from Florida as my first car in the 80s.
    Finding parts was no fun. Had to use other parts to replace, used bobcat, Capri, pinto parts. Rebuilt the tranny as couldn’t find replacement. Ended up blowing the motor and junking it.
    It was a 16 year old kid car, the stick knob stripped and could just pull it out. Used to leave keys in ignition and hide shifter in trunk.
    No front bumper, lock missing from trunk, carb inlet warped and would cause to stall and had to poke the butterfly to get it going, ignition spring was bad and my mom and sister would take it and never follow directions and I replaced many started until I cut and put a push button in.
    Kinda miss it…

  20. cold340t

    FYI, the Anglia runs mid/low 14’s! Bob loved beating the Imports on Import Drag days with it. Not cosmetically great but, runs well for a 4cyl. It is a driver.

    Like 3
  21. PSB

    Hello.. I am so sorry to hear Robert passed away. I know those battles.. We were friends since the early 70s.. Then about 10 or more years ago i did not get his wed TV emails. I called and emailed last year never heard back. Can you somehow contact me or tell me how Bob “Prattumus” Passed and if there is a service? What about his brother? Dang it, very said news.

    Like 3
  22. ramblergarage

    The Ford dealers were not the best sellers of these cars in the 1960’s. My dad wanted to buy one for my sister to go to school in MO in. We went to the Ford dealer and they only had one. They couldn’t sell it because they had taken the fuel pump off of it for another customer’s car. They were not able to get a pump for that customer so they pulled it off of the one on the lot. We ended up buying an Opel wagon.

  23. Kevin

    Thats a good price might even be worth bringing them back to the uk

  24. Troy

    I was prepared to say just scrap them, then I was shopping on BAT and seen what the bids are UpTo and was a little shocked got me thinking they were advertising in the wrong place. Best of luck to the seller

  25. JagManBill

    I just need an early 65 GT. Any word if they all have titles?

  26. cattledogkeeper

    I talked to Bob several years ago and know some folks who lived in his neighborhood. He seemed like a nice guy, but a bit eccentric. He was somewhat infamous for taking up limited street parking with his large collection of UK Fords.

    For those who portray his neighbors as being unreasonable, most cities in the San Francisco Bay Area have prohibitions about storing non-operable vehicles on residential lots that are visible to neighbors. Generally not a problem if you stay on good terms with your neighbors, but when taken to extremes, you are asking for trouble.

    The Mk2’s are at best parts cars. Being stored outside for years/decades close to the San Franisco Bay has probably resulted in rust permeating areas that will be difficult/expensive to repair.

    I’m sure the Mk1’s (Locorts and Deluxe) would sell easily if offered individually. But that’s not the deal that’s being offered. A buyer purchasing everything would have to budget thousands of $$$ and a lot of time to have all the junk hauled away, and the remaining good stuff moved to another location. If this was a screaming deal, somebody would have jumped on it already.

    • PSB

      the 2 Lotus are worth the ask… and they are sold, within days of this post.. I would have jumped on it but did not want to deal with all the other cars in the yards.. Lots more than just photoed here at the home.. You have no idea what historic parts books etc are in there and the apartment.. Tons of NOS parts and historic documents.

      Like 2
    • cold340t

      I live in the neighborhood and the New Money Overbidding/Spending Buy High Sell Higher Nimby Neighbors were/are terribly unreasonable. Yes, he did take up space on the streets with his running and at the time registered cars. True. But, his yard was fenced and mostly out of site where the majority of his cars were stored. In the long run, he beat them all!

      Like 1
  27. 1956jalopy

    I have owned 5 Cortina’s, 3 wagons 2 sedans. They were all reliable cars. Never had the chance on a Lotus. I did see an abandoned GT behind a house and didn’t check on it till it was too late.

  28. Brad

    Please keep these cars here in the states. Please don’t ship them overseas.

    If we keep shipping out our own supply of classic cars, what will be left in the future?

    • luke arnott Member

      Brad – they were built at Dagenham,Essex,to the east of London.

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