1960s Cortina expected to fetch £120,000 at auction

A famous Ford race car which smashed records in the 1960s is to go up for auction at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, with an estimated sale price of £120,000.

The vehicle, which won every European Touring Car Championship race it entered in the 1965 season, is a Lotus Cortina – the result of a unique partnership between the two manufacturers, who decided that Ford's practicality and the speed of Lotus could be combined to create a formidable racing machine.

A far cry from advanced Ford models of today like the Focus Titanium, the Lotus Cortina was nevertheless very much ahead of its time when it was first used in competition. This particular example was driven by the famous British Saloon, European Touring, and 24 Hours Le Mans racer Sir John Whitmore and, amazingly, has not deteriorated in condition at all since it retired from the circuit at the end of the highly successful '65 season.

Whitmore understandably fell in love with his Cortina, and held onto it for 30 years, also displaying it at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire. After that, it was bought by a private enthusiast in America, who has now decided to offer it up at auction.

Discussing the upcoming sale, Sholto Gilbertson of Bonhams said that it represented a 'unique opportunity to acquire one of the most famous and historic of all racing saloon cars'.

Although they may not be the first choice of many motorists today, groundbreaking models like the Lotus Cortina were an important precursor to those which are now put together at sites like the Bridgend Ford plant, and are remembered fondly by all who had the pleasure of taking them onto the road or racetrack.

The auction of Sir John Whitmore's vehicle will take place at Goodwood in West Sussex on Friday 12th July.

Image credit: Dave Hamster (flickr.com)