Championship-winning Ford Lotus Cortina to be auctioned for £220,000


Sir John Whitmore’s European Touring Car Championship-winning Ford Lotus Cortina to go under the hammer with an estimate of up to £220,000

Sir John Whitmore 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina

Sir John Whitmore’s 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina is estimated to sell for up to £220,000

In 1964 a Ford Lotus Cortina could have been yours for £1100.

Engineered by Colin Chapman, with a 105bhp twin-cam engine and light alloy body panels, it was heralded by Motor Sport as the most exciting British car since the Jaguar E-Type.

It was “Chapman’s idea of a British [Alfa] Giulietta, which Ford sells at a price poor men can afford!” wrote Bill Boddy in 1964. “As for the race-tuned version… ”

A race-tuned version is now worth between £190,000 and £220,000, which is the estimate for Sir John Whitmore’s 1965 European Touring Car Championship-winning Cortina, which also won that year’s Nürburgring 6 hour race.

It’s due to be sold by Silverstone Auctions at this year’s Silverstone Classic Sale on the last weekend of July, with 11,464 miles – mainly accrued through racing – on the clock.

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Driven by Whitmore, the Cortina won eight of the nine rounds in the European Touring Car series, and also set a lap record at the Nürburgring where driving duties were shared with Jack Sears.

1965 European Touring Car Championship Sir John Whitmore's Ford Lotus Cortina

Sir John Whitmore leads the 1965 European Touring Car Championship round at Snetterton Photo: Motorsport Images

The road-going Lotus Cortina went on sale in 1964 to homologate the racing car, and was described by Motor Sport as having a 1 1/2-litre engine in a Consul Cortina 2-door saloon body-shell using light-alloy doors, bonnet top and boot-lid and a close-ratio gearbox.

Chapman-engineered suspension, servo-assisted front disc brakes and larger tyres also helped to improve performance and handling.

Whitmore’s Cortina was prepared by Alan Mann Racing, which was well-known for its red and gold livery.

The car was retired from competition at the end of 1965, and bought in 1967 by Whitmore until 1995.

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