Lotus Cortina Dave Sutton Engine Removal

Published on 6 May 2023 at 16:50
Dave Sutton Lotus Cortina Restoration
David Sutton Built Lotus Cortina Engine

When Malcolm asked me to help getting the engine out of the Mk2 Lotus Cortina, I hadn't any idea of the car's heritage. He had purchased it from the auctioneers that were disposing of the assets of the late David Sutton, who sadly passed away in 2021. David was a successful engineer, driver and businessman that had the genius idea of teaming up Scandinavian rally drivers with Ford's automotive engineering. The results were good with Timo Makinen - the first of the flying finns -  making the best of the Sutton prepared Fords. In 75 he won the RAC rally for the third time in a row, he was only the second driver in the event's history to achieve that feat, all in Sutton prepared Escorts. Sutton also had great success in the late 70's with Hannu Mikkola in Escorts, with Mikkola going on to win the championship in 1978.

Malc is an exceptional business man who has a long history in motor racing, he raced BTCC back in the 60's and 70's and he is a mine of information when it comes to historical racing cars. Most of the cars in his collection have a superb history and provenance and this Mark 2 Lotus is no exception. We know it runs perfectly, those of you that read my last article will no doubt have seen the video by now. I don't know what internals it has but we do know the carbs are Del'Orto DHLA40'S rather than the standard fitment Weber 40DCOE's.

Anyway, Russell and I set about undoing everything, Harry the apprentice lent a hand too, it probably only took about half an hour to remove all the electrical connections, the oil feed to the pressure gauge, the speedo drive, water pipes and anything else that needed removing. We had the car on the 4 wheel lift so we had room enough to undo the gearbox mount bolts - we took 2 all the way out, left 2 in loosely and put a jack under the box. We could then take out the last 2 bolts and lower the box down. We had decided to take the engine and box out as one unit, which meant it had to come out at a pretty steep angle. We had secured a bit of chain around the engine mounts, we didn't know what the weight distribution would be but it worked out perfectly.

The only minor hiccup we had was some difficulty in getting a couple of the propshaft bolts to relinquish their grip. Russell soon taught them a lesson in humility with his angle grinder.

Russell operated the engine crane while I helped guide the box out, Malcolm adopted a managerial / supervisory role as well as being camera operator and chief commentator. I think if you asked him he would happily tell you that made him the busiest one out of the 4 of us.

The job really went very well indeed and less than 2 hours after us starting the job the engine was safely on the floor and tea was being drunk.

Russell will now get on with the bodywork, he's brilliant at that. I will crack on with my hot rod and won't have much to do now until the body is done - there is a lot of it so I expect that will be a while. I am expecting a fair bit of electrical work will be needed, it's getting the full treatment, which it richly deserves, I very much look forward to being a part of it's continuing story. Video of the heart being ripped from the beast here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvBwiHzcJoI


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