The Champion’s Lotus
1965 Ford Lotus Cortina

The Lotus Cortina name is reserved for high-performance sport saloon produced by Ford in collaboration with Lotus Cars in the 1960s. Made in the UK for the local market, each was sold for around £1,100 back in the days, and recently from £20,000 onwards in the vintage car market. Yet the 1965 example shown here was sold for £218,500 at Silverstone Classic Sale last weekend thanks to its remarkable racing records.

The Lotus Cortina with registration number KPU 392C was the winning car in 1965 European Touring Car Championship, prepared by Alan Mann Racing for Sir John Whitmore and won eight out of nine rounds. The race car retired at the end of 1965 and joined a promotional tour of the Ford dealer network before acquired by Sir John himself in 1967 and he owned it until 1995. It changed hands twice again before the Silverstone Auctions. The first owner after Sir John was an American enthusiast who kept the car’s originality and mainly brought it to car shows. The next owner was based in the UK. As a family friend of the Manns, the race team helped in confirming the identity of this significant car. It’s unclear who bought the Cortina from Silverstone Auctions, but let’s hope the car’s spirit remains.