Gas Monkey Garage And The Lotus Cortina

lotusAnyone who watches Fast N’ Loud almost certainly tunes in every week, as a lot of the cars shown are either rare or unusual. I like how these guys operate – Rawlings throws his beloved cash at A-Ron in the hope the bearded master can incorporate his vision within cash-hungry Rawlings’ budget.

I’ve written about this show before but this episode in particular caused me much excitement, and I had to include them again due to a little piece of British automotive history that is the Lotus Cortina.

Richard Rawlings stumbled across this stunning example and a beaten up but rare Amphicar sitting in a garage together. Forget the latter, as although fairly rare, it was a POS and needed a ton of work.

The Lotus, however, was in great condition under all that dust. It was a real hidden gem, with low miles, good paint and a great interior. Originally purchased in 1967 by a racer called Charlie Barns, it was driven as a road car until 1973. The great part is the fact it was then put into storage with only 18000 miles on the clock.

I adore this car, both as a classic, but also because it was an early example of a tuner company tinkering with a simple shopping run car. The Ford Cortina has always been a very standard and ordinary car, so when Lotus stamped their mark on it with their 1.6-L 2 Overhead Cam engine and close ratio gearbox, it set the standard of what could be created within the low end of the showroom spectrum cars. It created a modest 105-bhp, but considering the size of the car and it was built 40 years ago, it was a great early performance car.

Richard Rawlings managed to buy this beauty for just $65,000 – a real bargain. I think he advertised it for $115,000. Not bad considering it only needed a few small dents attending to and a thorough service.

This is my favourite view of the car, showing the cool rear cluster, Lotus badge and subtle fin. I also love the paint scheme with the grooved part of the panels filled in with Lotus green.

I’m not too sure how popular the Cortina was in the States in the 60s and 70s or even if it existed at all, but I was really happy to see the Lotus edition received a good amount of recognition when then the Gas Monkeys stumbled across it.

If I had the cash I would have definitely considered it and, after a little fun, keeping it in storage until a museum offered a significant sum in about 20 years time. But I may be buying another car in the not too distant future, but that’s for another time and another post.

The World’s Coolest Lotus Up For Sale

I have touched upon this car and the rest of Bond’s garage before. This Lotus Esprit needs no introduction as it’s one of the most famous movie cars of all time. I had the toy version and can remember firing the little red plastic missiles from its rear screen panel – I lost all of them pretty quickly. Even by today’s standards, the white submarine sports car looks as sleek as a shark – it looks like it was originally built to cut through water, not air.

To make this movie prop work, it cost £65,000, which in today’s money would buy you a £330,000 hypercar. Bond’s Lotus is coming up for sale at RM Auctions Europe. MD of the auction house, Max Girardo, said: “This particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time.

“Over the years, millions of movie-goers have stared in awe as the Lotus transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an opportunity to own it.
“Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, it surely is the ultimate beach accessory.”

The Lotus lay undiscovered in a Long Island, New York, storage facility for a decade until a lucky local couple won it in a blind auction in 1989.

It was originally built by Perry Oceanographic in Florida and was piloted by a retired US Navy Seal.

Raymond Benson, author of seven “official” posthumous Bond books, said: “I never used an underwater car in any of my Bond novels, but the Lotus in the film is one of my favourite vehicles in the 007 universe!”

I’m not sure how much people are prepared to pay for it, but an Aston Martin DB5 used in Goldfinger sold for a record-breaking £2.9 million in 2010.

Goldie or Gaudy?

Selecting a colour scheme for a vehicle can be difficult, even with colours that seemed made for each other, such as black and gold.

For someone such as Xzibit, a rapper who frequently “pimps peoples’ rides”, he managed to reduce his black Lamborghini Gallardo to a cheap marketing trinket that actual resembles a training shoe.


If you want to get it right, check out this fabulous Lotus F1 car circa 1986 below. This was Aryton Senna’s car, and here we see his nephew Bruno driving it.

Tip: Avoid making your car look like a training shoe.