Did you know that the word ‘Man-Cave’ is in the dictionary? The Collins English Dictionary provides the following definition: “A room or part of a house in which a man can pursue hobbies and interests without being distracted by other members of the family.”
A guy in the UK has a really cool man cave, a big barn at the bottom of his garden that has an incredible collection of classic high-performance saloons, which he indulges in. Andy Morrell is a purist, he’s only in one car; the Ford Lotus Cortina. And since the 1970s, he’s been collecting every version of the car he can get his hands on.
British motoring journalist Jonny Smith of YouTube channel The Late Brake Show went to see Andy’s collection. Andy has a version of every Lotus Cortina ever produced, cars born of the famous 1960s collaboration between Ford and Lotus. He is the “King of Lotus Cortinas” and in the video you can take a look inside Andy’s kingdom. It’s the first time he’s allowed anyone in, so viewers were thrilled.
Andy’s Lotus Cortina Kingdom
In the early 1960s, Ford wanted a car to enter the Group 2 Touring Car Championship racing series. And who better to partner with than Lotus? A company famous for its thoroughbred racing cars and high-performance engines. Lotus supplied the power units for these cars, a powerful 1.6-liter twin overhead cam that produced 106 bhp. They also provided lighter alloy body panels, racing suspension, lightweight crankcases and a close-ratio gearbox for the new racing sedans.
And at the time, the Lotus Cortina was a fast car. It was capable of well over 100 mph (about 108 mph), and on the saloon circuit there wasn’t much at the time that could keep up with it.
The Mk1 car collection
The Lotus factories built the Mk1 cars and the Ford factories produced the Mk2s. Most Lotus Cortinas Mk1 have the distinctive white paintwork with green stripes. And the famous 1960s collaboration only produced around 7,000, many unfortunately ending their lives on the racetrack, so these are extremely sought-after cars today.
The oldest car in Andy’s collection and the first shown in the film is a 1963 Crayford Convertible. This one is very rare, the only one in existence. Unrestored in yellow and green bodywork, this is a recent barn find that Andy managed to get his hands on. We don’t hear much about it, because they deliberately ignore it, because Johnny wants to dedicate an entire video to it.
Sitting next door, on the same side of the garage where Andy stores all his brands, is a white 1964 Consul Cortina Lotus. The Swedish import is fully loaded with Lotus parts, it has the famous ‘A’ frame suspension, aluminum panels and the all-important Lotus powertrain. It’s the ultimate first car for Lotus purists, and may even be worth more than most used Lotuses on the market today.
On a ramp next to it is a white and green 1965 Aeroflow facelift model. It’s a car Andy has owned since 1988 and fully restored himself. This model differs from its siblings, with an improved ventilation system, a revised grille and a reshaped lighting group. And when they released this model, Ford dropped the “Consul” brand.
Below is a gray 1967 Ford Corsair, a recent purchase that Andy has big plans for. He plans to put a 3.0-liter Zodiac V6 engine in it and race it. When Andy was a kid, he used to see this car parade around Battersea at custom car shows, and he’s loved it ever since. “It’s a bit of an ugly duckling, but when you put the convertible on it, it just looks awesome.”
A more standard Ford Lotus Cortina sits next to it. This is a 1966 Mk1 model that Andy acquired fifteen years ago. Ford ditched the Lotus suspension and lightweight panels, in favor of a more road-going car. And Andy admits he bought it for his wife, which is always a good thing to do if you want to secure the purchase of a collection as large and expensive as this.
The Mk2 car collection
As they walk through the barn to see Andy’s Mk2 collection, Johnny makes a cheeky request. “I’ve never driven a Lotus Cortina Mk2,” he says, admiring Andy’s white 1967 Mk2 model, which comes with the larger 115bhp engine. But Andy doesn’t bite. “Yes, well, the later you leave, the smoother the ride and the better the ride,” is the response.
Next up is another barn find, a 1968 Mk2 facelift model. This is a black badged edition, built to commemorate the death of Lotus F1 driver Jim Clark in 1968. This unrestored car has the looks a bit battered from its days on the rally circuits. Andy admits having bought it on a whim during confinement. He wanted a 1968 car to fill the year gap and bought it online.
Underneath is a white 1969 Mk2 convertible, another rare Crayford conversion. Andy got this one, in 1988, by word of mouth at a car show. Another very rare example which was also a barn find, it needs full restoration.
The last car worth mentioning is Andy’s lilac colored 1970 Lotus Cortina Mk2. 1970 is the last year of production of these cars. And in Andy’s opinion, it’s the best. “It drives so well, but don’t tell the Mk1 owners what I said,” he says with a smile. Andy restored the car to original specification himself, and it looks great.
So, as far as ‘man caves’ go, if you like classic cars with great performance, this one’s for you. That is, if Andy is willing to let you in, of course.
Back to the classic Lotus Cortina
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