Thursday, 30 June 2011

Developed by Lotus - Ford Consul Cortina Lotus

It never ceases to amaze me how little I know about motor vehicles despite a lifetimes interest, for example when I took the photo's featured today, I was sure I was taking pictures of a Lotus Cortina, the clues being the Green Stripe and Lotus badges.

Lotus Ford Consul, Castle Combe C&SCAD

However when I got home I was surprised to find the name plate on the front of the car read 'Consul'. Thanks to Brian C at the Official Lotus Cortina Register Forum I have found out that the original Lotus Cortinas were badged as Consuls and indeed the car was marketed as the Consul Cortina - Developed by Lotus.

The original Lotus 28, Consul Cortina package based on the 2 door Consul Cortina body launched in 1962, included a 105hp 1558cc / 95 cui twin cam version of the Ford Kent ohv engine as used in the Lotus 23 racing car and Elan production car with a close ratio gearbox also from the Elan.

A unique A frame rear suspension was developed for the Consul Cortina by Lotus that proved so fragile that it was dropped in favour of the Cortina GT semi eliptic rear suspension when the model was upgraded in 1964 and rebadged as the 'Cortina' by Lotus.

The boot, bonnet and doors were made in light weight alloy with additional dash gauges, tachometer, oil pressure and water temperature included with a wood-rimmed steering wheel to complete this highly desirable 100 mph saloon car.

The thinking behind this model was that it should be used for racing and works Lotus driver Jim Clark was one of many to drive a Consul Cortina Lotus to victory lane.

All bar one of the original Consul Cortinas designed by Lotus were painted white with a green stripe, one suspicious customer had a dark blue stripe and Ford built several cars for racing painted red. The Consul Cortina by Lotus was not the most reliable of vehicles, the perceived performance bonuses were credited in the publics mind to Lotus while the unreliability problems were credited to Ford much to the latters annoyance.

My thanks to David Roots for his invitation to attend the recent Classic and Sports Car Action Day at Castle Combe and to Brian C at the Lotus Cortina Register Forum for his help identifying today's featured car.

Thanks for joining me on today's Consul edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don't forget to come back now !