This is not a LotusS

It is, instead, a Ford. A European Ford. It’s lightweight, it’s mid-engined, and it's designed to race. It’s called the GT70. It was also dead before it was born.

What the GT70 isn’t is 70 inches tall. As for how tall it precisely is, you’d have to approach Ford’s proving ground with a measuring tape and measure it yourself. It was probably named after the year Ford’s European racing team decided to build it, and probably not after Joseph Stalin’s 70th birthday, like the #70 trolley bus line in Budapest.

It was a pure racer. Designed to hit back at lightweight rally cars like the Porsche 911S and the Alpine-Renault A110, it was a curation of the best parts in Ford’s European racing bin. The glassfiber construction housed a 2.6-liter V6 from the Capri and a five-speed ZF transmission. The V6 was later replaced with a lighter, peppier, four-cylinder Cosworth BDA.

The project was unfortunately doomed by the usual suspects of early ‘70s car doom: a workers’ strike, rising oil prices, changes in rallying regulations, and an unlikely twist in the road-car-based Ford Escort’s performance at rallies. When the GT70 had been conceived, the Escort had sucked. By the time it was finished, the Escort was pretty good. Essentially a road car, the Escort was also much cheaper—and it could be sold on Monday.

This is not a LotusS

One GT70 remains in existence. Ford owns it. Octane’s Keith Adams drove it a year ago and described it as “one great car to drive.”

Lucky him. And poor rally fans in the ‘70s who never got to see it head-on against a car with a very similar design ethos: the Lancia Stratos.