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Rusty Investment: 1966 Lotus Cortina


The other day, Jesse posted a Barn Finds exclusive that was perhaps one of my favorite features I’ve yet seen on the site: a survivor-grade, enthusiast-loved 1966 Lotus Cortina. After seeing so many rusty examples come up for grabs as of late, that car was a breath of fresh air. Today’s find, however, better reflects what is out there for Cortina projects, as it is a rusty project car here on eBay with active bidding and the reserve unmet. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find! 


That photo shows you everything you need to know. Have fun replacing floors, along with the dash pad and other items. The seller says the paint and interior are all original, but there’s no mention of how bad the seats were when removed. I don’t even know what was holding them in given the condition of the floor. The presence of the original books, radio and steering wheel are the highlights here, since everything else will metal work.


The trademark green stripe is long gone, and it’s hard to know if the seller’s belief that the paint is original is a correct assessment. According to the listing, this Cortina has been parked for decades and the dent on the roof is due to other items being stored on top of it. I can’t help but wonder if this factory-built hot rod was stuck in a salvage yard for the last 30 years. Some pictures of the extraction would be nice to have.


The engine is in pieces and the seller doesn’t hide from the fact that some components may have gone missing. This photo presents pretty solid evidence that it likely wasn’t in a salvage yard but rather stuck in someone’s garage for years awaiting a rebuild that never came. The car is currently in Florida but the Michigan license plate is a dead giveaway that this Cortina spent a few years in the salt and slop before its owner moved south; I know of a classic Mini in similar condition near my in-laws’ house, complete with Michigan plates! Road salt, how I loathe thee. Would you take this one on or spend a little more for the complete car listed above?


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    The money this is being bid up to brings how much better a buy the Corcoran car is into focus. And this from someone who enjoys welding!

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    • sir mike

      Perfect for a VIN swap….sorry but that is what will probably happen anyway.

      Like 1
    • Bobsmyuncle

      Funny thing though is that these cars are so old and outdated is one REALLY any better than the other considering your neighbours Hyundai is a better performer?

      I know which I’d go for.

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  2. Wayne

    Lotus Cortinas had two piece bumpers

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    • Steve

      To meet US regulations a single piece front bumper was fitted to US export cars.

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  3. Howard A Member

    Those tail lights always reminded me of the “Martian” from the original “War of the World’s”,,,,,and that movie scared the HECK out of me as a kid. http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/7/72648/1945952-film_martian.jpg
    I have my own “Cortina” story, but I’ll wait until the newer model, ’68, I think it was, comes around.

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  4. pintosopher

    Contact Classic Motorsports magazine, they fear no Lotus restoration, And it will be finished….;-)

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  5. Ian

    given the stratospheric prices of these at present I am sure this will make its reserve. It’s rough but if genuine – would be a gold mine in Europe even in the condition it is

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  6. Mark-A

    I’ll just leave this here, http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1246974
    Engine rebuild can be PROHIBITIVELY expensive! Talking £3-4K for a running replacement rather than even trying to rebuild it! Something to consider is there is also a Lotus Look Cam Cover for the later Zetec engine & all the parts are available to make the conversion to RWD a breeze (allegedly!) and just try to get the original rebuilt slowly as funds allow before putting it back before selling later on?

    Like 0

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