This section provides the checklists for the 4 different variants of Mk1 Lotus Cortina. The section is currently under review (March 2016) and is subject to change and further refinement.

Note that these checklists identify the area to check out when examining a car, and don’t tell you what you should be looking for in order to check it out. They are intended for use by folks who know what originality looks like, and know the differences between the different variants.

If you don’t know the difference between the variants, or what defines originality for each of the variants,  you will find that information in the Mk1 Lotus Cortina Timeline and Features section, the Mk1 Lotus Cortina Originality sections and the Road Car studies, in lists and photographs. There is way too much information on these subjects  to repeat on the lists.

But these lists will provide you with a structure against which you can check out a car, identifying specific areas to examine, especially the areas that define the car as a Lotus Cortina. Yes, you have to do some work to do to get familiar with what to look for.

One last thing, and I can’t make this point too often or too loudly.

Checking out the car in front of you is just a small step to assure that it is authentic. It could be an original car, a well restored largely original car, a re-shelled car where the shell has been upgraded correctly, or it could be a ringer.

PROVENANCE IS EVERYTHING TO ENSURE THE AUTHENITICITY OF THE CAR YOU ARE LOOKING AT. IF THERE IS NO HISTORY WITH THE CAR, AND NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT, THEN BE VERY SUSPICIOUS. DO HPI CHECKS AND CHECK WITH CLUBS.

 

MK 1 LOTUS CORTINA INTRODUCTION

There were four  variants of the Mk1 Lotus Cortina:

The Pre-Aeroflow ‘A’ Frame car

The Aeroflow ‘A’ Frame car

The Aeroflow leaf spring car (RHD)

The Aeroflow leaf spring car (LHD)

Within each of those variants, smaller changes took place, essentially to reduce costs and improve reliability. Both of these objectives were achieved by aligning the Lotus Cortina more closely with it’s GT sibling by reducing the non-Ford standard Lotus content.

When the car was first launched in early 1963, it was as a road going track racer, with aluminium panels and gearbox / differential castings, Lotus designed rear suspension and a close ratio gearbox. The aluminium panels were quietly withdrawn after a year as they were expensive to make and the subject of many warrantee claims due to easily being dented and excessive wind noise in the doors. Shortly afterwards the close ratio gearbox was dropped. It was superb for the track, and for a flat road, but a hill start with 3 passengers and a boot full of stuff was just about impossible, and many clutches were burnt out attempting the impossible.

The biggest bugbear of the cars was the ‘A’ Frame suspension, and it took a lot of work to persuade Colin Chapman that the leaf spring setup was actually better than his design, for road car and rallying applications at least. Eventually sense prevailed, and the resulting car was now the benchmark for the incredible competition success enjoyed by Ford with the final year of the Mk1 in rallying, the MK2 in racing and rallying, and of course, the Escort Twincam, RS1600, Mexico, RS2000 and RS1800 that followed.

 

Mk 1 PRE-AEROFLOW CHECKLIST

General Points

All Pre-Aeroflow cars originally had the A Frame rear suspension setup, but the majority were converted to leafspring by the end of the 1960s.

All A Frame cars had the re-enforcing bars in the boot and in the rear panels alongside the back seat, along with the rounded ‘dome’ in the boot floor over the differential, and the vee’d out saddles in the chassis rails over the axle

Early cars had the aluminium bonnet, boot, doors. These were all phased out over June – August 1964, but were always available at extra cost.

All Pre-Aeroflow cars had the close ratio gearbox, and all close ratio gearboxes had the aluminium castings.

All Pre-Aeroflow cars had the rubber carpets.

CHECKLIST

Note that * denotes Lotus only

 

External – General

Clearances and Swage Lines

Bodywork / Paintwork (flat panel around filler for early car)

Glass / Glass date codes

Headlamps

Sidelamps

Quarter light opening

Rear quarter light opening

Glass chrome trim

Rear lights / rear light bezel (pointed early type)

Number plate lamp

Ford badge (oblong on passenger side)

Consul Badge / surround (bonnet)

*Lotus roundels on grille and rear wings (Painted)

*Rolled front wings

*Satin Black grille, fixings,  with air cleaner behind

*Aluminium bonnet, boot and doors (earlier cars)

*Wheels / hubcaps

*Bumpers / irons

 

Chassis Plate & Engine Number

V5C verified with car

*Z74 (occasionally Z85) Diamond Plate

*Correct Lotus numbering / range

*Engine number in correct range

 

Underbonnet

Solenoid type and location

Chassis plate and tag

Horns (on inner wing)

*Servo Type / bracket (adjusting nut until March ’64, plain cover Apr ’64 on)

*Servo location / pipework

*Water bottle / pipework

*Bulkhead throttle cable location

*Bulkhead additional holes

*Wiring location

*Voltage regulator location

*Radiator (Big top export type, flat to right)

 

Engine

*Engine type (early head with half moon projections in spark plug wells)

*Engine number in range

*Airbox / pipework / air filter canister

*Carburettors (Type 02 early, Type 18 later)

*Cam Cover (Dark Hammered Blue standard, Light Hammered Green S/E)

*Head breather Tube  (90 degree turn from head, exiting at bottom of engine)

*Distributor type

*Fan blade

 

Rear Suspension Area Underneath

*A Frame

*Alloy differential casting (earlier cars)

*A Frame brackets on shell (small early, larger late)

*A Frame brackets on axle

*Radius arm brackets on shell

*Radius arm brackets on axle

*Torpedo prop (earlier cars)

*Split Prop, bearing mounting (later cars)

*Chassis Rails Saddle over axle ( V cut and weld)

*Double skin chassis rails over axle (between old spring shackle areas)

*Exhaust mountings

*Petrol tank sender connector

*Differential hump. round dome, no mastic, clean cut, spot welds

 

Front Suspension

*Short struts

*Cast track control arms

*Straight steering arms

*Steering box ratio

 

In Boot

*Strengthening bars

*Strengthening bars weld pattern – boot floor.

*Strengthening bars weld pattern – top wheel arch

*Differential hump, round dome no mastic clean cut, spot welds

*Spare wheel well clamp captive nuts (not used on Lotus, but present)

*Lotus boot floor spare wheel brazed nut / re-enforcing plate

*Boot stay

*Boot hinges

*Battery tray

*Battery live cable route

*Battery earth cable attached – strengthening bar

 

Interior

Headlining (confetti)

*Pedals

*Upholstery (2 variations)

*Seat type

*Side panel trim

*Instruments

*Indicator switch gear

*Steering wheel (3 versions)

*Horn push

*Gear knob (concave or pear)

*Handbrake (chrome)

*Straight gearlever until Jun ’64, bent from Jul 64 on.

*Carpet (Dunlop Rubber Hightone)

 

MK1 AEROFLOW ‘A’ FRAME CHECKLIST

General Points

The early Aeroflow cars  had the A Frame rear suspension setup up until mid ’65, but the majority were converted to leafspring by the end of the 1960s. After mid ’65, all cars had the leafspring setup.

All A Frame cars had the re-enforcing bars in the boot and in the rear panels alongside the back seat.

The very early Aeroflow cars  had the close ratio gearbox up until Oct ’64, interim ratio until Oct ’65, and the 2000E ratios thereafter. All cars fitted with close ratio boxes had aluminium castings on the gearbox and differential.

All Aeroflow cars had the loop pile carpets.

CHECKLIST

Note that * denotes Lotus only

External – General

Clearances and swage lines

Bodywork / paintwork

Glass / glass date codes

Headlamps

Sidelamps

Quarter light opening (optional UK, standard for some export markets)

Glass chrome trim

Rear lights / rear light bezel

Number plate lamp

Ford badge (oblong on passenger side)

Cortina badge / surround (bonnet)

*Lotus roundels on grille and rear wings (painted until Jun ’65, enamel Jul ’65 on)

*Rolled front wings

*Satin black grille, fixings,  with air cleaner behind

*Aluminium bonnet, boot and doors (earlier cars)

*Wheels / hubcaps

*Bumpers / irons

 

Chassis Plate & Engine Number

V5C verified with car

*Z74 Diamond Plate until end Dec ’64, then BA74 Oblong Plate, Position of Plate

*Correct Lotus numbering / range

*Engine number in correct range

 

Underbonnet

Solenoid type and location

Chassis plate and tag

Horns (on inner wing)

*Servo type / bracket (clip-on air filter until Jun ’65, centre screw from Jul ’65)

*Servo location / pipework

*Water bottle / pipework

*Bulkhead throttle cable location

*Bulkhead additional holes

*Wiring location

*Voltage regulator location

*Radiator (big top, export type, flat to right)

 

Engine

*Engine type (early head with half moon projections in spark plug wells)

*Engine number in range

*Airbox / pipework / air filter canister

*Carburettors (Type 18 )

*Cam cover (Dark Hammered Blue standard, Light Hammered Green S/E)

*Head Breather Tube  90 degree turn from head, exiting at bottom of engine for cars up to mid ’65, then short tube from head into carburettor backplate.

*Distributor type

*Fan blade

 

Rear Suspension Area Underneath

*A frame

*Alloy differential casting (earlier cars)

*A frame brackets on shell (small early, larger late)

*A frame brackets on axle

*Radius arm brackets on shell

*Radius arm brackets on axle

*Split prop, bearing mounting

*Chassis rails saddle over axle ( V cut and weld)

* Double skin chassis rails over axle (between old spring shackle areas)

*Exhaust mountings

*Petrol tank sender connector

*Differential hump. round dome, no mastic, clean cut, spot welds

Front Suspension

*Short struts

*Cast track control arms

*Straight steering arms

*Steering box ratio

 

In Boot

*Strengthening bars

*Strengthening bars weld pattern – boot floor.

*Strengthening bars weld pattern – top wheel arch

*Differential hump, round dome no mastic clean cut, spot welds

*Spare wheel well clamp captive nuts (not used on Lotus, but present)

*Lotus boot floor spare wheel brazed nut / re-enforcing plate

*Boot stay

*Boot hinges

*Battery tray

*Battery live cable route

*Battery earth cable attached – strengthening bar

 

Interior

Headlining (confetti to Apr ’65, Lodestar May ’65 on)

*Pedals

*Upholstery (2 variations)

*Seat type

*Side panel trim

*Instruments

*Indicator switch gear

*Steering wheel (2 versions)

*Horn push

*Gear knob (pear)

*Handbrake (chrome)

*Carpet (Lotus specific loop pile, as per Elan)

 

MK1 AEROFLOW LEAF SPRING  CHECKLIST

General Points

The leaf spring cars didn’t have the strengthening bars in the boot, and adopted the standard boot springs to support the boot lid, rather than the boot lid stay.

The spare wheel could now be stowed in the wheel well.

A few early leaf spring Aeroflow cars  had the interim ratio gearbox (until Oct ’65), and the 2000E ratios thereafter. The aluminium castings on the gearbox and differential were optional extras, as were the aluminium panels

All Aeroflow cars had the loop pile carpets.

Note that some leafspring cars started to be made from Feb 1965, although the official launch date was October 1965. A Frame stock had to be used up so A Frame cars continued to be made until Aug 1965.

 

CHECKLIST

Note that * denotes Lotus only

External – General

Clearances and swage lines

Bodywork / paintwork

Glass / glass date codes

Headlamps

Sidelamps

Quarter light opening (optional UK, standard for some export markets)

Glass chrome trim

Rear lights / rear light bezel

Number plate lamp

Ford badge (oval on passenger side from Oct ’65)

Cortina badge / surround (bonnet)

*Lotus roundels on grille and rear wings (enamel)

*Rolled front wings

*Satin black grille, fixings,  with air cleaner behind

*Aluminium bonnet, boot and doors (earlier cars)

*Wheels / hubcaps

*Bumpers / irons

Chassis Plate & Engine Number

BA74 oblong plate

Position of plate

Correct Lotus numbering / range

Engine number in correct range

V5C (Logbook / proof of ownership) verified with car

 

Underbonnet

*Servo type / bracket

*Servo location / pipework ( on inner wing )

*Water bottle / pipework

*Horns ( under slam panel )

*Wiring location

*Voltage regulator location

*Solenoid type and location

*Bulkhead throttle cable location

*Bulkhead additional holes

*Chassis plate and tag

*Radiator (Flat to right)

 

Engine

*Engine yype (half moon projections in spark plug wells)

*Engine number in range

*Airbox / pipework / air filter canister

*Carburettors (Type 18)

*Cam cover (Light Hammered Blue for standard cars, Light Hammered Green S/E)

*Head breather tube  (short tube from head into carburettor backplate)

*Distributor type

*Fan blade

 

Rear Suspension Area Underneath

*Radius arm brackets on shell

*Radius arm brackets on axle

*Split prop, bearing mounting

*Chassis ails over axle top re-enforcement plate (long saddle plate)

*Exhaust mountings

*Petrol tank sender connector

*Differential hump. rough dome, mastic

*Reverse-eye leaf springs with aluminium wedges between axle and springs

 

Front Suspension

*Short struts

*Cast track control arms

*Straight steering arms

*Steering box ratio

 

In Boot

No strengthening bars

Boot support springs, as per standard car.

Spare wheel clamp captive nuts, spare wheel in well

*Differential hump, less rounded shape with heavy mastic

*Battery tray

*Battery live cable route

*Battery earth cable

 

Interior

Upholstery (as per GT)

Seat type (as per GT)

Side panel trim (as per GT)

Headlining (Lodestar)

*Pedals

*Instruments

*Indicator switch gear

*Steering wheel (2 versions)

*Horn push (black, dummy)

*Gear knob (Pear shaped)

*Indianapolis winners badge on centre console (Aug 65 on)

*Handbrake (chrome)

*Carpet (Lotus specific loop pile, as per Elan)