Posts Tagged ‘barons auctions’

Fifty years ago Ford launched a car that they thought would take away some of the market share that BMC were stealing with their revolutionary Mini. Instead their brand-new ‘Consul Cortina’ created a marketplace all of its own which has pretty much endured to this day in the form of the current Mondeo and the multitude of similar-sized cars from most of the world’s manufacturers – all chasing the same market segment.

Their Cortina (still not sure why they insisted on using the ‘Consul’ moniker) appealed to the 2+2 family of post-war Britain that were hungry to escape the dark past of two world wars and were ravenously consuming the renaissance in music and design that was taking place during the 1960’s. Think Beatles, Mary Quant, Conran and the beautiful E-Type Jaguar as part of a tidal wave of newness that knocked the population off its feet.

The Cortina offered the family man in 1962 a car with clean, modern lines, (relatively) willing engines and performance for a reasonable amount of his hard-earned Pounds, Shillings and Pence – ‘new’ money didn’t come along along until the early 70’s. But there was more to come.

Ford had created a GT version of the Cortina with lowered suspension and – wait for it – 78 BHP over the standard 1500cc engined car which produced a weedy-sounding 60 BHP. Today of course we would expect more power from a sit-on lawnmower but in those days there were very few road cars that would achieve more than 100 BHP. Anything on offer to the general public producing more than that would have fallen very much into the ‘sports car’ category and was often far too expensive for ordinary folk. The Cortina did indeed put a smile on Family Guy’s face.

I had an uncle who once owned a Cortina GT and he drove it hard and fast. I blame that particular car for the love affair I developed later on in life for all things Ford including a Cortina 1600E, a 3.0S Capri in Daytona Yellow and a Scorpio Cosworth (sigh).

Four individuals were the catalyst for the birth of the Lotus Cortina – Colin Chapman, Harry Mundy, Walter Hayes and Keith Duckworth.

Colin Chapman owned Lotus with all of their chassis engineering expertise; Harry Mundy was an engine designer who joined Lotus from Coventry-Climax; Walter Hayes was head-honcho at Ford and Keith Duckworth a highly talented engine tuner (ex-Cosworth).

The four men created the cocktail of ingredients that created a true ‘sports saloon’ that distanced itself from its cousin the Cortina GT and its nearest rival the Mini Cooper. Press reviews were full of praise for the car’s handling and road-holding capabilities comparing it to the track-day Lotus 7 at the time.

On the track the Lotus Cortina inevitably blew everything else into the weeds and quickly became THE car to beat. The Ford Cortina-Lotus (as Ford preferred) is now firmly rooted in the folklore of saloon car racing and will still often make an appearance at classic car racing events today.

There was a simplicity in the approach that Ford took in the overall look of the car that is tasteful and pleasing to the eye. No fancy spoilers or wide arches just quarter-size bumpers, 5.5″ Wheels, Lotus badges and any colour you wanted as long as it was white with a green stripe. However, there is a story that one customer insisted on a blue stripe because he was superstitious about the colour green!

Today most Lotus Cortinas still running would have received an enormous amount of loving attention (and expense) to keep them on the road and their rarity value means that they are achieving high prices when they change hands. Figures in excess of £30000 would be readily paid for cars in top condition and concours examples could write their own cheques.

The forthcoming Baron’s auction on the 28th-29th May happens to feature a Lotus Cortina which has been described as follows:-

“This 1965 registered, Airflow model, Lotus Cortina,  underwent a full restoration in 2008/2009 meaning that GRO 28C is in very good order throughout. The car was produced in July of 1964 but was not sold and registered until March of 1965, Originally an “A frame” car, which was later converted to the more popular leaf spring set up, when used for group 2 historic rallying by the Ecurie Ten team from 1990.  Among the car’s six previous registered owners are the above mentioned Ecurie Ten team and well known and well respected  motoring journalist, Richard Hudson Evans. This car is known to the Lotus Cortina Register.”

The guide price is quoted as £30000 to £40000.

Click here for further details of the car that has been entered plus details of the auction

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Unless you are someone who is looking forward to celebrating their 60th birthday in the very near future it is unlikely you will remember the significance of the Mk II Jag.

To put some perpective on the importance of this car when it was launched in 1959 the Jaguar Mark Two was the M5 of its day – before anyone had any concept of what an M5 was and way long before BMW established the benchmark for the ‘ultimate sports saloon’.

The performance of the 3.8 straight-six, twin SU carburettor engine was even by today’s standards highly respectable – 220 bhp, 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph – but this was 1959! Today that conveniently might compare well with the figures the XFR produces to do battle with the M5 – but there was no M5 back then.

The Mark 2 Jag took to the tracks with the the help of Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Mike Hawthorne to show that it could handle too and romped home with a sideboard full of trophies during the 1960’s. Even today it’s possible to see the old girl flying round taking the lead in classic car race events around the world.

These days the only decent Mark 2 Jags left are those that thankfully have been well-attended to over the decades by those people who have the financial resources and blood, sweat and tears in abundance to keep the legend of the 1960’s ‘M5’ alive. Perhaps more appropriately the current M5 pays homage to the car that set the blueprint back in the day. The Mark 2 Jag is dead – long live the Mark 2 Jag.

The inspiration for this misty-eyed piece of nostalgia is the fact that a truly beautiful example of a Mark 2 Jaguar is to be auctioned in the forthcoming Baron’s Jaguar Heritage Sale. The details of this particular car can be found here http://www.barons-auctions.com/details.php?ID=5646 but we couldn’t resist sharing the images with those die-hard Mark 2 fans out there…..

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Barons have another classic car sale coming up on Tuesday 1st November which is full of highly desirable cars that make you want to max out the overdraft facility.

Most are guaranteed to give an almighty financial hangover after the initial love affair but what the hell, they just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Amongst the line-up of tempting morsels is a 1971 Mk 1 Ford Escort Mexico (yes please!), a totally original 1966 Austin healey 3000 Mk III, Lotus Elan +2, 1963 Jensen CV8, 1955 Plymouth Belvedere, 1975 BMW 2002 (Baur) Cabriolet, a few Rollers, Jags, Mercs, MG,s, Triumphs and a Chrysler Prowler thrown in for good measure.

In all over 50 cars will be on sale and it’s almost worth going along for a nosey to see how much money these sort of cars are fetching these days.

To see the full list of entrants visit Barons website as follows http://www.barons-auctions.com/entry.php?pageid=93&auctionid=89

In the meantime here is a slideshow of some of the entrants – enjoy!

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