The pitch was too good to resist: take the 1.55-liter twin-shaft Kent engine specially developed for the Lotus Elan, drop it in the Ford Cortina for homologation purposes, and sell it to the masses. It is essential; There was more than that of course, as Lotus redesigned the Cortina’s suspension, removing the rear leaf springs for the coil springs and shocks, while installing Girling front disc and rear drum brakes with a servo. Some steel body panels were also replaced with aluminum.
The changes have been numerous and effective. The superheated Cortina, built by Lotus at its original headquarters in Cheshunt, proved to be a critical darling as well as sporting success. The likes of Jim Clark, Jacky Ickx and Jackie Stewart have led Cortinas to fame in various touring car series across the world.
From 1966, Ford chose to take responsibility for manufacturing the car itself with the Lotus engine, while cutting costs. These “Mk2” models are a bit more clunky and tend to be ignored in favor of earlier models made by Lotus, but they were also considered more reliable and refined in their day, according to historians from Lotus Cortina Information.