Lotus Cortina Paint Code Page

Paint Formulas-

from Myles Kitchen, Aptos California:


from Andre Samson, Seattle Washington:

All Mark I Lotus Cortinas began life at the Ford factory in Dagenham England, as fully-painted Ermine White standard Cortina 2-door bare body shells with no mechanicals attached and no interior fitments installed. While the chassis code stamped into the VIN plate indicates the standard 2-door shell, the shell itself probably received some special attention at Dagenham, as the rear chassis rails and the differential "hump" probably were welded in before painting. Also, early shells had tubular rear suspension braces that must have been installed before the rear quarters were welded into place. The "bodies in white" were then delivered to the Lotus factory at Cheshunt England, for assembly as Lotus Cortinas, by Lotus employees. Twin cam engines with close-ratio transmissions were installed, Lotus-designed suspensions were bolted in, bigger brakes were attached, and Cortina GT interiors were fitted with some Lotus-only differences, and other odds and ends were attached to complete the cars. At some time during the assembly at Cheshunt, Lotus factory workers applied the famous Green Flash (Sherwood Green) down the sides and around the back, on top of the Ford factory-applied Ermine White. The Lotus applied Sherwood Green paint must have been very thin and probably very poorly applied, because many original paint MKI Lotus Cortinas show a green stripe that is all but worn off on contact points (corners, and exposed edges) and frequently worn off even on the smooth flat surfaces of the fenders, doors and quarters. For example, look at my old BA 74FL 59042, in a photograph taken at the wedding of my best friend Don Siegel and his new bride, in 1980. The car was only 14 years old at that time...

Given the poor quality of the original Sherwood Green Flash, I suppose for really proper restorations, maybe you should have the body shop do a great job on the Ermine White, and then do a lousy job putting on the Sherwood Green striping.     Perhaps.    Just a thought.

Having said that ALL MKI Lotus Cortinas were Ermine White with a Sherwood Green Flash, it should be noted that SOME Ford factory sponsored Rally and Race cars were finished in Red. (For instance, Roger Clark and Brian Melia drove a Ford factory-entered red-painted Lotus Cortina in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, finishing in 4th place behind 3 Minis... only to be disqualified for running "illegal" bulbs in the headlights.) I believe that the red used, was Ford "Venetian Red number 1". I do not know if those Ford factory Lotus Cortina cars had their VIN plates stamped differently to indicate this "other-than-Ermine-White" color.

Also, Lotus factory-sponsored race cars frequently had a thin yellow pin stripe down the center of the Green Flash, with the words "Team Lotus" written in yellow "Logo text" centered on each door. The period photograph below, published in many books, was scanned from Ford in Touring Car Racing by Graham Robson.

And... I have heard that some Lotus Cortinas had a thin Sherwood Green pin stripe applied just above AND just below the standard Sherwood Green Flash. Take a look at KGW 531 D, formerly owned by Andrew Costen, now in other hands. This photograph, dating from the early 1970s shows a green pin stripe under the Green Flash. Andrew believes that the pin stripe was applied by the factory, but I think that those green pin stripes were dealer applied.

Last... Alan Mann Racing painted their Lotus Cortinas (Mk I cars to begin with and later, the Mk II cars) red (Venetian Red?) with a gold stripe and roof. But these cars were prepared as private entries. Lots of individuals and organizations (such as Alan Mann Racing) re-painted their cars covering the original factory color.

All Mark II Lotus Cortinas were completely assembled at the Ford factory at Dagenham England, and were available to the public in the same variety of colors as other MKII Cortinas. For instance, my 1967 MKII Lotus Cortina was originally Dragoon Red, and someday, will be again. Also, I own a 1968 Ford Colour Guide that indicates that the MKII Lotus Cortinas could be had in any of 14 different body colors. As pictured below, many Mark II Lotus Cortinas were Ermine White, but obviously not all. The side flash and rear wrap-arounds of any color, were never applied by the Ford factory, but were painted on by the selling Ford dealers, as a separately purchased option. Notice that the Green Side Flashes are shown on Lotus Cortinas in the 1968 , 1969- The Magnificent Seven, 1969- The Incredible Cortinas , and 1970 Cortina sales brochures, and a caption in each of those brochures states either that..."The standard body finish for Cortina Lotus is a single tone paint, but green "Lotus" side flashes are available at extra cost."(1968) or "Lotus" side flashes may be added by your Ford dealer at extra cost." (1969 and 1970. Below, from the 1969- "Magnificent Seven" brochure).

Image Sources

Topmost image of MKI Lotus Cortina, from Hot Car Folder #26

Center image of Colin Chapman and Jim Clark, from Ford in Touring Car Racing by Graham Robson.

Lower on page, Mark II Lotus Cortina, from the 1969 Magnificent Seven Cortina Sales Brochure.

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