1970 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk.II
|Odometer reading||37,943 miles|
- The very car Corgi modelled their toy on (registration number included)
- Owned by Lotus Cortina Register event’s organiser
- Featured in October 2008 Classic Cars Magazine and Classic Ford in December 2010
- Photographic restoration
The second incarnation of the Cortina was designed by Roy Haynes and was launched on 18th October 1966. Most people associate any Lotus Cortina as being white; however, the Mk. II was available in a full range of colours albeit white was the most popular. The stripe, be it green or gold, was a dealer option. Early in production the rear badge was changed to read Twin Cam and the Lotus name was dropped but it was still marketed as Lotus Cortina. The Lotus variant of the Mk. II was launched six months after the Mk. II range was available. Ford decided the base would be the GT variant of the Mk. II fitted with a 1557cc engine as the Lotus Elan or as an option on the Mk. I, the suspension was lowered by an inch and the dash was rationalised to be the same as the GT Cortina.
YMK 356H was first registered on 6th April 1970 in Middlesex. The V5 registration document records it as being a Cortina Mk. II Lotus. Two attempts have been made to obtain history from the DVLA and it would appear the car has had eight owners of which two owners total a 35 year period out of the cars 47 years .
The car has been known to the Lotus Cortina Register for many years and it was owned by the Lotus Cortina Register event’s organiser. It underwent a major restoration by a previous long-term owner, Peter Coombs, who purchased the car in 1977. The restoration included new wings and rear wheel tubs. The cars early history is hazy but following research it is believed the car was purchased new in Haverford West by a gentleman who owned a shipping company, he had the original tuning completed which consisted of fitting Dellorto carburettors, Cosworth CPL2 cams and some bottom end balancing. This was probably carried out by a motor parts and tuning business in the same town who subsequently became the second owner.
The car was purchased from a policeman in Brislington, Bristol (we are not sure how the car got from Haverford to Bristol) who was responsible for respraying the car Mustard Yellow with a spray on black vinyl roof, this was considered to be cool at the time. It was run as daily transport until 1983/4, at this point the car was resprayed in the classic combination of white with green flash.
The car was again used daily up until the late 1980s when it was in need of work and was laid up in a garage. In 1988, John Oakey of SV Oakey & Sons Stow on the Wold was persuaded to take on the restoration of YMK 356H. Finding panels and parts took many years. John had the car for about 10-12 years during which time a complete body rebuild took place. Photographs show quite an extensive rebuild with new front wings, rear quarters and rear wheel tubs.
After the panel work was finished came the agonizing decision whether to respray the car white/green or back to its original colour. The decision was made to return the car to its original Red II colour scheme with no stripe but sitting on Lotus steels. The engine was rebuilt by Nick Stagg Engineering. Oakey’s were unable to complete the restoration beyond the rolling shell stage due to family circumstances however a contact in Timsbury, Somerset set about a lot of the reassembly work.
By now we are into 2005 and without a garage for storage, the car was kept for fun for a few months before deciding to sell. The car had one owner for a year before being purchased by Howard Law in June 2006. In over 11 years of ownership, we are informed the car has been maintained as any classic car needs to be. The gold dealer option stripe was added, and the car sits on period Minilites. Nothing has been done to the car that would not be easy to remove and change back to original. Rear seatbelts were fitted as the owners grandchildren loved coming out in the car with him.
YMK 356H is well known in classic car circles and has taken part in various tours abroad with Classic Ford magazine. In the last few years this has included trips to the Isle of Man, France, Belgium and Holland. This car is described as in good condition but not concours. It turns heads in every petrol station. MoT test certificates back to the 1980’s are present as are various works of maintenance and improvement over an 11 year period are listed. In 2017, a rolling road tune at BD Engineering, Sittingbourne achieved 129bhp (the book rating is 109.5bhp), this supports the belief that when the engine was rebuilt performance modifications were made.
The history file accompanying this car is comprehensive and it includes a Corgi toy of this car for which Corgi based its design on with every model of the Mk. II Lotus Cortina wearing the registration YMK 356H. Also, a full summary of the ownership history, photographic evidence of restoration and a comprehensive collection of MoT test certificates, bills and copies of magazine features of the car.
This example attracts attention wherever you drive and every petrol station refuel entails the inevitable ‘my dad had one of those’ conversations. Of course, what people mean is the family had a Cortina – not necessarily a top of the range one but you have that opportunity now.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.