Ultimate Fast Ford? Iconic Jim Clark Lotus Cortina could set record
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A Ford Lotus Cortina could set a new record as the most expensive version to ever be sold when it goes under the hammer early next year.
The former racer is estimated to change hands for up to £200,000 when it's offered to the highest bidder at a Silverstone Auctions sale, in Birmingham, in January.
Forecast to beat the current record figure paid for a Cortina - which currently stands at £191,900 (NZ$362,700) - this is a car that's been driven by some of the greats, with Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Ickx all having been at the wheel of the super-rare Lotus-tuned Ford.
The car will go in front of the world's deepest-pocketed motor collectors, on January 12, during the Autosport International show at the NEC in the Midlands city.
It's one of only three 'Group 5' works cars built by Lotus for the 1966 British Saloon Championship and has a steering wheel that's been graced with the hands of some of the world's most successful racing drivers of all time.
Clark and Hill [pictured below] alone have four Formula One titles to their name, while Ickx and Peter Arundell are other notable former F1 drivers to have piloted this particular machine, along with former British and European Touring Car champ Sir John Whitmore.
Thanks to all of these names - along with others that are listed down the side of the car - that have been in the driver's seat and its incredible provenance, the car will be offered with an estimate of £180,000 to £200,000. That puts it in world record territory.
The most expensive Ford Lotus Cortina was bought earlier this year at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in July. That car, registration number JTW 498C, was an earlier works models from 1965 that was also raced by Jim Clark.
It already held the record figure of £136,000 when the previous keeper bought it in 2007, though they went on to make a massive £56,000 profit when they offered it to a new home in the summer.
Announcing its availability this week, Lionel Abbott, classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions, said: "We’re delighted to be offering this amazing Lotus Cortina at our inaugural Autosport International Sale.
"With its impressive history, it’s a fantastic addition to the sale catalogue and a sign of what’s to come."
The glorious Cortina, registration number PHK 614D, was built in March 1966 and immediately assigned to then reigning F1 champion Jim Clark for use at a rain disrupted Oulton Park.
It went on to be raced throughout the 1966 season by fellow Formula 1 drivers Peter Arundell and Jacky Ickx, who took the car to second in class in finishes at Snetterton, Goodwood and Silverstone.
In June 1966 its four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine was converted to fuel injection by BRM before racing at the Grand Prix support race at Brands Hatch, where Whitmore achieved first in class, finishing in forth position overall.
It later went on to achieve more podiums and victories later that year.
In 1967 the car appeared in its last works event, finishing its Team Lotus career on a high with Graham Hill taking it to first in class and second overall in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, a year before he claimed his second F1 title.
After eight more competitive finishes in 1967 and 1968, the car then spent many years in Africa until purchased by Cedric Selzar - Jim Clark’s race mechanic - and repatriated to the UK.
According to the clocks, it has covered just 4,831 miles, suggesting it has barely turned a wheel since being officially retired from the racing paddock.
"Given its exceptional rarity, competition successes and association with World Champions, this amazing Lotus Cortina offers a fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the most significant sports touring cars of the 1960s," Abbott added.
It will go under the hammer 53 years after it was conceived still in its authentic condition following a sympathetic restoration, and still retains its original shell and all the period race modifications to the suspension and the engine.
It's accompanied by the V5 document, full details of its works competition history in 1966, 1967 and 1968 as well as a small number of spares.
Considering the racing heritage, don't be surprised if it becomes a record setter in less than two months.
- Daily Mail