1963 Ford Lotus Cortina MK1 Pre Airflow


  • Around 1,000 miles covered since 2005
  • Meticulously restored by the previous owner 
  • Highly impressive heritage interior
  • Enormous binder of paperwork tracking the car’s history

The Appeal

Introduced in 1963, the Ford Lotus Cortina - or, as it was dubbed upon release, the ”Consul Cortina developed by Lotus” - was a milestone in Ford’s UK catalogue. With its slightest twinge of American styling, coachline and boxy cabin, the Cortina was already a huge hit - so packing it with high-performance parts and a sporty sensibility was a dead-cert.

Boasting a 1557cc twin-cam engine, a close-ratio gearbox and a lighter body, the Ford Lotus Cortina proved a force to be reckoned with on road and on the racetrack.

Only 3,306 Mark 1 examples like this were built, with less than 1,200 believed to have been built before the addition of Aeroflow in October 1964. They’ve become remarkably rare pieces of distinctively British sports car history, and have only become increasingly scarce since. 

The History and Paperwork

  • First registered in Devon, July 1963
  • Present on the Lotus Cortina Register
  • Heavily overhauled in the 90s by the previous owner
  • This owner continued owning the car for twenty years
  • No other restoration has been necessary since
  • Current owner has undertaken some work including:
    • Front shock absorber rebuild
    • Carburettor rebuild with tune-up and new fuel pump
  • Supplied with an extensive history file including:
    • V5 Registration document
    • 2 sets of keys
    • Photographic record of restoration
    • Photographic record of the engine rebuild
    • Previous tax discs
    • Numerous invoices
    • Numerous MOT certificates
    • Original Consul Cortina owner’s handbook

The Interior

  • Original period interior with black vinyl seats and door cards
  • Wood-accented steering wheel and gearstick
  • Original period instruments with ‘time-warp’ dashboard

A step into the Lotus Cortina wraps you into a stylish, 60s haven. Sporty black vinyl seats, lashes of steel and wood-trimmed accents make this a highly stylish back-to-basics approach to driving, and one that still feels eminently practical for the day-to-day.

Everything here is in fine fettle, with the black vinyl seats in very good condition. They’re free of rips and tears and carry only the slightest patina. The dashboard is in excellent order, tidily organised into a refreshing, simple binnacle. Everything is clear and easy to read, with minimal signs of rust, dust or corrosion to the car’s internal instruments.

The car’s extremely light post-restoration mileage is equally on display in its clean and tidy headlining, well-kept carpets and the excellent condition of the wood-trimmed Lotus steering wheel. Considering the time since the car’s restoration, it’s in truly fabulous order. 

The boot appears to be in good order too, with a good set of mats and a spare wheel. 

The Exterior 

  • Original-specification white and green paintwork
  • Quarter front bumpers and Lotus branding
  • Full set of period wheels,

With its boxy styling, sole colour scheme and slightest hint of American-style rear wings, the ‘Consul Cortina’ is an exceptional piece of kit. Further proving its rare pedigree, this example is still wearing its Consul badges, a name dropped by 1965.

Thanks to a low mileage since restoration, combined with dry storage and a regular approach to maintenance, this Lotus is in utterly fabulous order, with the paintwork still providing plenty of shine and gloss to its tightly-knitted, dent-free body panels. 

The vendor notes a very small bubble on the driver’s-side rear arch, and from the looks of it, this is the only blemish to detract from the car’s visual appearance. The chromework is in excellent condition, and the car is proudly perched on a set of disc wheels with radial tyres. Underneath, the vendor reports no structural issues and that the car’s dry storage has benefited it enormously. 

The Mechanics 

  • Twin-cam 1557cc engine
  • 4-speed close-ratio gearbox
  • Hugely desirable pre-Aeroflow model
  • Some recent repairs with:
    • New front shock absorbers rebuilt
    • Rebuild and tune-up 
    • New fuel pump

Wow - that was our first reaction to the beautiful engine bay of this Cortina. The paintwork is in exceptional order, and the distinctive aqua-blue engine head - complete with Lotus branding - is clean, perfectly polished and intensely well-presented. 

There are no reported mechanical faults, the car is starting, shifting, accelerating and braking exactly as you’d expect - with the car’s natural charisma bubbling under the hood, ready and waiting to hit the road with its new owner.


An increasingly rare vintage, and in its rarest production specification, this Lotus Cortina is sure to be a crown jewel for any enthusiast. From the vintage interior to the beautiful engine bay, we’re certain you’d be far-pressed to ever find a better example. 

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1963
  • Make Lotus
  • Model Cortina MK1 Pre Airflow
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 64,424 Miles
  • Engine size 1558
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Leighton Buzzard
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
49 bids
  • to•••• £57,000 26/03/23
  • to•••• £56,500 26/03/23
  • B•••• £56,000 26/03/23
  • to•••• £55,500 26/03/23
  • B•••• £55,000 26/03/23
  • to•••• £54,500 26/03/23
  • B•••• £54,000 26/03/23
  • to•••• £53,500 26/03/23
  • B•••• £53,000 26/03/23
  • B•••• £52,500 26/03/23

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