Used cars

Works Lotus Cortina Sold At Auction For RM 926k

The granddaddy to the fast Fords has just sold for a mind-boggling amount of money. 

A Lotus Cortina has been sold for £168,750 (RM 926,000). This granddaddy of the fast Ford revolution has achieved a near record sale price when the hammer eventually fell at the Silverstone Auction last year. 

To the uninitiated, the Lotus Cortina was the product of a happy marriage between Ford UK and Lotus. Built to improve Ford’s motorsports reputation in Europe, what was initially thought to be a sedate sedan kicked started a British motoring institution of the fast Ford. Without this plucky white saloon car, there will be no Focus RS or Fiesta ST, or even any of the legendary Ford Cossies. 

Assembled by Lotus and featuring a raft of performance and cosmetic upgrades, including a rev-happy Lotus 1600 cc twin-cam under the hood of this 2 door saloon, the Lotus Cortina soon began raking in the motorsports throphies all across Europe. The overall win in the 1964 British Saloon Car Championship with legendary Formula 1 driver Jim Clark behind the wheel only cemented its legacy as a bonafide racer. 

That being said, this specific example wearing the registration PHK 614D is made even more special due to the fact that it was that this very car that actually saw some track action at the hand of some of the most legendary racers of the era.

Although the values of Lotus Cortinas in general are skyrocketing, the reason as to why this specific Lotus Cortina sold for that astonishingly high price might be attributed to the fact that PHK 614D was only one of the three ‘Group 5’ works cars to be built by Lotus for the 1966 British Saloon Car Championship. 

With a career best of a first in class at the hands of Graham Hill in the 1967 Race of Champions, this very Cortina has also filled many trophy cupboards of various legendary drivers over its life. These include F1 World Champions like the aformentioned Jim Clark who was the first person to grace his presence over this car at a test day in the April of 1966, and Jacky Ickx who finished second-in-class in Silverstone. 

Undoubtably, with its rich racing pedigree in the UK and later in life when it was racing in South Africa, PHK 614D is probably deserved of this insanely high sale price. 

The curious thing however is that even Cortinas with no racing association at all are rising in value, Lotus or not. This steady price rise is not only limited to Cortinas, but can actually be seen in the whole classic car market in general. 

Some will point to the rarity of these classics that are driving the values of these old cars through the roof. Thanks to the rust that just seeps into most of these British classics, there are not many still left on the road, so those that remain are now worth a pretty penny. 

This is one of the reasons decreasing the supply for these classic cars, however there is also a dramatic increase in demand for these retro vehicles. The word ‘nostalgia’ is often linked to the classic car ownership experience, but it is undoubtably the major contributing factor in driving prices of even the most uninteresting old car to silly heights.  

It is expected that the legendary fast Fords like the Mk1 Escort Mexico or any Blue Oval with a Cosworth badge are going to attain collector status, thus sending the prices of these classics through the roof. But a quick gander over the classifieds will confirm that even the base models of older Fords are going up in value. 

The somewhat perplexing phenomenon can be easily explained by the fact that there are many people out there who bonded with these cars in their youth are now flush with cash and want to relive simpler times. 

During their youth, these people were not in driving about in Porsches or even BMWs, but instead their youths were spent behind the wheel (or in the back seat) of cars like the Ford Cortina. The everyman car if you will. So naturally, it is these people who are adding to the demand for these lesser variants. 

Ford however doesn’t have the monopoly on these rising retro British car prices. From the BL side of business, the Minis, Minors and even the oft-mocked Marina are also seeing steady price increases. Even Fords arch-rival on the high street, Vauxhall has seen some of its more sedate classics reach collector status.

Some of these cars here you may have never even heard of here in Malaysia, but to our enthusiast friends in Europe these retro cars are soon to be worth their weight in gold. Maybe some day perhaps, this classic car boom will happen to our older Protons and Peroduas. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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