" In ten days time Lotus will unveil their redefinition of the "modern classic" in the shape of the new Lotus Elite. If you won't be at the Paris Motor Show to enjoy this new machine in its full glory, here's "
Lotus Ford Cortina
a Cortina that plucks the heart strings
Funny how the shape of a car can cause a Proustian moment.
Thing is with the Ford Cortina Lotus was that it chimed perfectly with a time when the A-Road riders sought desperately to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crew. While the villains had the Jags and your dad had the Zephyr – a twin cammed Cortina represented an exotic augmentation to your estuarine identity.
It was with this in mind that my Grandad came home one day with a Mk 2 Cortina – not a Lotus variety like the one you see here, you understand – but a racy light green four door with black steel wheels and a leather sunroof. He’d drive it with those classic string-back gloves, the cabin heady with the aroma of Old Spice, godblessim.
And on any given sunny Sunday he’d take me and my nan pootling around the empty lanes of rural Essex invariably calling in on a shaded beer garden for a half of lager and lime.
If I was in luck he’d take the long way home, pretending to get lost and, frustratingly for this eight year old, he would just simply pull over by the side of the lane every now and then, switching the engine off. With the sun beating hot through the sunroof my grandparents would close their eyes and listen to the silence of the breeze punctuated by the birdsong.
Cars always have meaning. And the meaning of the Cortina Mk2 can pierce the heart.
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