Oh, The Rust Of It! 1966 Lotus Cortina


Do you really want a Lotus Cortina? I mean really want one? Then I’m sure you know their prices have soared through the roof. Still, it’s hard for me to believe that a small British Ford with a fancy engine and suspension is worth what these are going for. Thanks to John A. for this find, but you’d better hurry as the auction ends less than 24 hours from when I’m writing this. It’s located in Dundas, Ontario, Canada and is up for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid is $25,000.


The seller tells us that the car had one owner for nearly 50 years, but the car was taken off the road in the early 1980’s and stored in a “damp barn.” Damp may be an understatement. You can see the rust in the apron, quarter panels and sills in this picture, but things get even worse underneath.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Can you say “reshell?” I suppose anything can be fixed, but like George Washington’s axe, how much of an original car would you really have when you were done?


Perhaps surprisingly, the interior doesn’t look that bad. And, as the seller notes, apart from the gearbox and radiator having been replaced (and the originals are included), there isn’t much that has deviated from original specifications. However, they also note that the floors are mostly rusted through. I have to wonder if is it worth $25,000? I guess that’s for you to decide, dear auction watchers!


Most of what’s under the hood looks intact, including the twin webers. But the rust, oh the rust! Anyway, the seller tells us the engine is currently seized as well, so plan on some work there, and rebuilds of Lotus twin-cams do not come inexpensively. Ultimately, someone really must either a) want a Lotus Cortina badly enough to take this on, or b) has a rust-free Mark I Cortina body shell sitting there and is tired of the pushrod four cylinder’s lack of grunt. But what do you think?




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  1. jimbosidecar

    There’s a reason nobody has bid…

  2. Sumey

    Don’t open a door and jack up the car it’ll fold up like a vega.

  3. Howard A Member

    I’d think one could find a regular Cortina, and put the Lotus stuff in it. Bet it was a fun little car at one time. Personally, I’d stay clear of this model anyway. Those tail lights always reminded me of the “Martian” in the vintage “War of the Worlds”. That movie scared the heck out of me, as a kid, that is. Parts car here.

  4. ClassicCarFan

    Yes, only really makes sense as a parts car or re-body.

    If you take all the equipment and transfer it over into a good base model Mk I – is it really the Lotus Cortina any more. I don’t know if you can even claim it legally in most states can you? I’d always feel that you just had a “base model Cortina tastefully upgraded with all the Lotus Cortina parts” rather than a “Lotus Cortina with a replacement body”.

    Yep, I know it is always a shame to take a genuine car like this “out of circulation” but seems to me this makes most sense as a donor car for someone restoring a Lotus Cortina with a serviceable body but incomplete mechanicals?

    • Franque

      It depends on if you’re English or not. With the English restoration scene, it’s very common to re-shell historically significant cars, and when they maintain their number plates, it’s still considered the ‘same’ car. I’ve always found the American ideal of ‘restoration at all costs’ quite comical. Just drive the bugger!

  5. sheffieldcortina centre

    its only legal here in the uk with a new shell, not a used one.

  6. brakeservo

    About 40 years ago I had a Datsun Truck with this engine/trans installed. Lowered the suspension a bit, fitted some wider rims with radial tires and it was a terror on Mulholland!

  7. Andrew

    $25,000.- ? Does money still mean anything these days?

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