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The Lotus Cortina, or Ford Cortina Lotus as it has also become known, is the street-going version of the Group 2 touring car that became one of the most famous and successful models of its kind in the ’60s, routinely hitting above its weight and beating Mustangs, Falcons and even the odd Ford Galaxie in the British Saloon Car Championship, the European Touring Car Championship and beyond. Originally, only 1,000 Cortinas were built to meet homologation needs, and the car in the video is a genuine one.

The original Lotus Cortina, based on the Mark 1 Consul Cortina, was launched in 1963 and received comprehensive modifications by Lotus with its beating heart being a 1.5-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine designed by Harry Mundy. The example shown in this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage has been painstakingly restored to better-than-new condition by Jim Hall, Leno’s chief fabricator, after spending three decades neglected at the mercy of the elements.

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