Live Auctions

Under the Influence: 1965 Ford Cortina

As someone who isn’t a welder or a fabrication specialist, I’ve never had the desire to become an artist with automotive bodywork. But, those more creative than me have whipped up some impressive hot rods and street customs that are held in high regard by enthusiasts. What, then, do you call a car that has been customized but with questionable outcomes? I’ll let you decide once you check out this Ford Cortina here on in Australia.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader TBAU for spotting this oddity down under, which is a Ford Cortina (wearing the iconic Lotus paint job) that has had its roof chopped off! I’d love to know the story here, as the body appears to be in fine shape otherwise. Perhaps a hail storm or falling tree damage rendered the roof too damaged to save. I certainly hope that’s the case and that the top wasn’t lopped off just for the sheer curiosity of what it’d look like afterwards.

The generally good condition continues inside the cabin, where clean carpets and a modern steering wheel give you the impression that the Cortina wasn’t abused. The seller will include the top half of the windscreen frame for re-attachment since it likely won’t pass inspection without it. This further begs the question of why it was removed in the first place, especially since it was set aside for future fabrication purposes!

It’s hard to say if this was a convertible conversion project that simply stalled or the after-effect of a wild night of hashish and Makers Mark. The Cortina looks very solid otherwise, and those alloys are a perfect style for this vintage Ford. The seller has also addressed some basic mechanical R&R, including a new fuel pump, cap, rotor, wires and points and leads. There’s no explanation given in the ad as to what occurred here, so what’s your best guess?


  1. Howard A Member

    The tail lights on these always reminds me of the Martian’s eyes in the original War of Worlds. That movie scared the HELL out me as a kid.


      I LOVE the Mk1 tail lights! :-)

  2. Jeffro

    Here, hold my Fosters and watch this!

    • Chris In Australia

      Nah, we don’t touch Fosters in Australia. It’s horrible, but thanks to advertising, I’ve had Americans ask “so all you Aussies drink Fosters?”

      No, no and no. I’m thinking glue or petrol sniffing here.

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Hey Chris, you didn’t mention XXXX! Queenslanders drink XXXX because they can’t spell beer! You just have to think that there’s some form of substance abuse involved in this one.

  3. Johnni B

    I believe Jeff is right about the hashish and Makers Mark.

  4. Jim Mc

    “There’s no explanation in the ad as to what occurred here, so what’s your best guess?”

    It’s Australia. ‘Nuf said. 😃

  5. redwagon


    o never mind. the answer is no.

  6. CCFisher

    I don’t…. I can’t…. I mean…

  7. Dantheman

    Maybe someone got a jaws of life for Christmas

  8. Mike Young

    Lotsa body flex. A cage would now be in order. Anyone need a grille for one ? ’66 mk I…. Cortina GT+Lotus Cortina….


    This is a pretty rare “base” trim level as indicated by the so called “ironbar” front grille. The “Deluxe” trim level was only a few pounds more so most people opted up. As for why somebody cut off the top… drugs?

  10. PAR

    There are some right dipshits out there. Why would you chop the roof off two door Mk1 Cortina???? If you are going to paint it Lotus colours at least get the colours right, the green used here looks like monster mucus. Bloody Australians.

  11. Wayne

    Convertible project stalled because the owner came to his senses?

  12. C Brand

    Had to cut the top off so me roo could go riding with me mate lol

  13. geoff a

    Well now that they have gone this far, why not turn it into a shooting brake. Might look pretty cool. It would be the only one on the block. Just saying

    • milotus

      They did make a MKI wagon,but not the early of model.

  14. The One

    I guess Bubba took a vacation with his torch down under!!

  15. Adam T45 Staff

    As an Australian I would like to very quickly point out that we’re not all complete idiots! I can not for the life of me work out what this particular person was trying to achieve. I’m trying to think of something nice to say….but it has me stumped! It’s a lovely and increasingly rare little car that has been destroyed.

    • Murray

      Adam T45, we should never of allowed those Kiwis to come live here :-)

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Ah Murray, you really crack me up mate!!!

  16. LD

    Love the look with the top ‘down’ but it will be a mess on the road without lots of reinforcement–cowl shake indeed!

  17. Peter Pentz

    I am lost for words.
    Let’s start with, why in Gods name would you take a perfectly good pre-airflow 2 door Mk1 Corrona in a drug / alcohol / mentally induced moment, and then publicly display the destroyed results – what an idiot. This is not an Oz or Kiwi problem, we have jerks just like this right here in the US. I recently saw an XKE Jag coupe – surely one of the most elegant shapes ever (I’m biased, as I own one), paint it a nasty pinkish purple color and tasteless mods to the interior (mainly) – puke ……
    There is no accounting for taste,
    Good or bad!
    The sad thing is that this will end up as a parts contributor, as it is all but destroyed now. Had it been 3 to 4 times the price he paid, he may have hesitated in his destructive path …….

  18. Rolf Poncho 455

    In South Africa we call it a PEACE SIGN Cortina

  19. TBAU Member

    Thanks Jeff for the great write-up. Under the influence indeed..

  20. MikeC

    Something doesn’t ring true about this motor – it exists for sure – but it is badged as a GT & the dashboard has GT gauges – but the motor doesn’t look like a GT ( I had a ’63 GT back in 1966). It is described as 4 door in the write up – yet is a 2 door. If you ask me, it is a bog standard Cortina that has been doctored / tarted up to look like a GT – but in Lotus colours. No mention has been made of it being a GT – which if it was a GT – a heavy play sales pitch would have been made on that fact.

  21. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Do they sell Maker’s Mark in Aussie-land?

    • Adam T45 Staff

      They certainly do! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. As an Aussie this is just embarrassing! I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the rest of the planet on behalf of this idiot!

      • Howard A Member

        No need for that, Adam, craziness has no boundries. Like the hooligan’s from Canada ( hey) that drove a motorhome ,pulling water skiers on the flooded Bonneville Salt Flats ( expressly forbidden) and all the Canadian’s apologizing for their actions. This is no different from what I’ve seen in my neck of the woods. Give a Yooper, a Wisconsinite, or a Minnesotian a cutting torch, and, well, sometimes hilarity ensues, sometimes, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, MAN?

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Hey Howard A, my favourite expression for this is: “Everyone has a certain level of common sense. Unfortunately some people are only half-way there….and are just common!”

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