Thursday, 24 May 2007


Name: John Grant
Address: Buncrana
Car: 1969 Ford Cortina Lotus Mark 11 twin cam 1600

John usually drives a Volkswagen Golf but hidden away in a garage is his fabulous Cortina Lotus Mark two. The familiar green stripe running down the bodywork was even more impressive in it’s day than a GTi badge is today.

How long have you had the car?
Four years. I saw the car at a motor show in England and felt as though I just had to own it. It wasn’t up for sale but I offered the owner so much money that he couldn’t refuse. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised how much I had parted with. I was in shock for weeks afterwards!

How long have you been involved with vintage cars?
Ever since I can remember. I am particularly fond of the Cortina. My first car was a Mark two and I still have the original steering wheel. It has been fitted to a 1600E that I am restoring at the moment.

Has the car won any competitions?
Yes. It won the Best Lotus at the Lotus Car Club show. It even won a prize at a Ford Escort show! I don’t tend to put it in to shows but if the weather stays good this year it might come out more.

Did you restore the car yourself?
I have done a small amount of work on it but the renovations carried out in the 80’s by the second owner was so thorough and comprehensive that it is still in showroom condition. (The first woman owner had the car for 19 years)

Any plans to change?
No, I will keep this car for as long as possible.

Is it reliable?
It is 100% reliable. I would feel confident driving the car any distance. It is such a pleasure to use. Lotus made significant alterations to the basic Cortina model. The reliable Lotus engine upgraded the BHP to 110. The low weight factor gives the Cortina the edge over most family cars on the road.

Best thing about the car?
Obviously the look is great. The acceleration and speed are also impressive. It’s also very fast! Lotus fitted the cars with lowered suspension and the axle and gearbox are from the 200e model so they are very hard wearing.

How often do you wash it?
It never gets washed! I just polish it after the dust sheets come off.

If you were the Minister for Finance what would you do to help motorists?
Take down the price of petrol.

What would you really like to be driving around in?
As much as I like the older cars I would still go for something up to date. The 5 series BMW would suit me perfectly.


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