Of the 2,894 Mark 1 Lotus Cortinas produced between 1963 and 1966, 64 were fitted with the Lotus Special Equipment package which further tweaked the power and performance of this already potent Ford. The engine upgrades included in this package were similar if not identical to those that were included when the Lotus Elan was specified with S/E trim. In fact many of the performance bits, such as the close-ratio gearbox, came from the Lotus parts bin to the extent that the motoring press at the time referred to the Lotus Cortina as a “tin-top” version of the Lotus 7. Beyond the single script nomenclature on the rear panel, the Lotus Special Equipment spec included a green coated cam cover that replaced the blue one present on the “standard” Lotus Cortina.
The advertised engine output increased by 10 HP as a result of semi-race (‘C’ type) camshafts being fitted to a cylinder head that featured massaged intake and exhaust ports. Those modifications as well as an increased tubing diameter exhaust system necessitated the re-jetting of the twin Weber 40 DCOE18 carburettors and a re-curved distributor. Other parts of the package included adjustable rear dampers by Armstrong, 3-point seatbelts by Irvin, a leather-covered steering wheel and radial tires by either Pirelli or Dunlop.