Some things just go together – they are simply correct, assimilated by their existence.
The same could be said of Roger Jones and motor cars. In the mid ‘70s Roger road rallied a Mk1 Ford Escort TC (Twin Cam), competing in a few stage events, too. Roger was quite capable behind the wheel – during the Dukeries Stage Rally in 1973 he was running only 1 second slower per mile than event winner Roger Clarke flinging a well sorted, screaming 1600 BDA powered Escort through Sherwood forest. At the half-way service “our Roger” was 10th overall, but an unfortunate puncture during the latter half of the rally ruined his chances.
The Twin Cam Mk1 was stripped by Roger, a full-house BDA installed, the shell modified with works bubble arches and was eventually sold as a circuit racer.
The rallying bug was difficult to shake! In ‘76 Roger enquired about a club level rally car for sale in Motoring News classifieds – it just happened to be a Lotus Cortina (his father owned a Cortina GT). A road trip to Bristol followed. Roger met with owner just off the motorway, £250 changed hands and a tired 33,000 mile Lotus Cortina with substantial “rally panel damage” had a new home! As Roger proudly made his journey back with his new purchase, it repeatedly jumped out of 4th gear…
Not one to do things by half, Roger stripped the car down to its last nut and bolt and removed the worst badly dented, nearside, rear quarter panel.
Later that year, Bristol Street Motors sold Roger almost all the remaining parts available from the Fords parts list for his Lotus Cortina, including screen rubbers, front grille, both headlamps rings etc. He purchased every genuine body panel listed, including inner flitch and the lower front panel was bought too, (with the exception of unavailable front wings and outer sills).
The lack of critical outer sills took the steam out of the project and tools were downed!
Whilst working as Senior Manager (Fabrication and Presswork) at Willenhall Manufacturing in 1983, Roger happened to notice some Ford service items in the sample room. The parts were outer sills for the Lotus Cortina! Roger bought them for their scrap value. He also acquired the press tooling for Mk1 Lotus Cortina front wings.
The Owners Club and Express Panels discussed options for re-commissioning the tooling and 100 pairs of wings were produced, however, in just 12 months demand was so great another 100 were pressed.
At this point, Roger had all the bits required for a full restoration, but whilst working as a freelance engineering consultant, had little free time.
He returned from work in Poland in 2007 and restored a low mileage, but very rusty, Triumph Stag which has been enjoyed frequently since.
From 2009 through 2012 he thoroughly rebuilt his E-Type, converting it from automatic to manual – another car he had owned since 1985, producing panel gaps and a finish far exceeding the original factory made cars. However, on completion, as a larger driver he discovered it uncomfortable, which was a huge disappointment after many hundreds of hours of work and the car was sadly sold to a highly appreciative new owner.
The little Cortina waited impassively for resurrection, moving from garage to lock-up, resting patiently on trestles in Rogers current workshop for 20 years.
Work started soon after the sale of the E-Type, with a view to preparing the Lotus Cortina for sprints and hillclimbs on an “arrive and drive” basis, building it carefully to conform within current MSA regulations, but allowing a simple return to standard specification.
Almost every panel was replaced, from his “personal museum” stock of Ford labelled panels. Roger was careful to keep the red “3A Lotus” marked on the sill to turret area to signify the car was a genuine Lotus A-Frame Cortina.
The quality of build from a “man in a shed” cannot be underestimated; an engineer by trade, Roger has been exceptionally thorough throughout, his restorations are to his standard, not to a price or timescale. The car was painted in factory colours of Ermine White with a Lotus Green/Sherwood Green stripe.
With the view of driving the car to competitive events, a 5 speed gearbox appeared a must. Initially Roger opted for the standard gearbox, but with a first gear ratio of 2.5 and a 3.9 diff it was very slow off the line. He sourced a gearbox which was a 5 speed dog ‘box cleverly contained within a Ford 2000E casing. This was ideal in terms of ratios, but whilst driving the car to its first MOT Roger found he frequently selected reverse rather than first. He’s currently working on a well engineered, but very time consuming solution!
JS motorsport supplied the Lotus Twin cam engine, a narrow journal, all steel race engine, albeit now fitted with slightly milder cams. Originally the car was running open trumpets and ITG were approached to create a filter primarily to reduce noise – the little twin cam producing its unique, harsh, induction bark. A slim filter had to be manufactured, as the space between the twin 45 DCOE carburettors and the inner wing was slight.
The car was set-up was at Aldon Automotive using a mappable ignition pack and throttle sensor producing a strong 177bhp@7800rpm.
Brakes (front: vented discs) were supplied by AHR Racing with Alcon calipers.
All the standard parts for the car have been retained to allow Roger to return it to the original factory specification.
A superb little car has been passionately returned to use, however, rather than potentially ruin the perfect panels in competition, Roger has recently been restoring an Imp for motorsport use and the Lotus Cortina is throughly enjoyed as a fast road car.
Fish and chips, or strawberries and cream?
In my view, Lotus and Cortina…
Many thanks to Roger Jones, owner and painstaking restorer of HAR 846C
Recent additions to the extensive range of ITG Profilters are for the latest hot hatches, both of which have undoubtedly raised the bar for future vehicle manufacturers:
HMP-888: Fitment – Honda Civic Type R (Turbo)
BH-262ST: Fitment – Ford Focus now includes 2016 4WD Focus RS (Mk3)
Dan Ellmore’s Metro 6R4, has an interesting powerplant and drivetrain – a Jaguar 3.0 V6 Duratec engine producing 400bhp, mated to an Elite sequential gearbox – and a custom ITG filter now, too!
Richard Clews took the ITG Impreza to a giant killing 7th overall finish and a 1st Class victory on this years notoriously competitive Manx National Tarmac Rally. An unforgiving event with no room for error on the narrow island roads, Richard and co-driver Carl Williamson were nearly 3 minutes ahead of their closest rival. This exceptional finish places them in the Top 5 of the MSA National Asphalt Rally Championship 2016 to date.
The ITG and Geoff Jones Motorsport Teams best result so far – the new GT Motorsports engine and recent AET Turbos technical partnership are both doing their job well, breathing through an ITG filter, obviously!