That didn't mean I was sharing racetracks with Sir John as he raced his red-and-gold, Alan Mann-entered Cortina to victory in the 1965 European Saloon Car Championship. Wrong space-time continuum. Rather, I was Sir John, in my head, racing my 1/32-scale Airfix slot-car version, lovingly painted by me in the Whitmore car livery complete with KPU 392C number plate.
Like the real Alan Mann cars, my Lotus Cortina had started out in Ermine White with olivey-green side stripes and tail transom before wearing the team colours. Also like the Alan Mann cars, it wouldn't readily lift its inside front wheel in a high-g corner. The real ones wouldn't do it because they were set up with a softer front end and a stiffer rear than the works Lotus cars, to keep them more stable in a long, fast bend. My slot-racer wouldn't do it because, being a slot-racer, it had no suspension.
It was many years later that I finally got to drive a real Lotus Cortina, the fine example on Ford's heritage fleet. I had driven Mk1 Cortinas and Lotus Elans, but never an Elan-engined Cortina with lowered suspension, quicker steering and a whole lot of other raciness-enhancing tweaks. It did not feel quite as keen as I thought it would, the extra weight taking the edge off the twin-cam engine's vigour and the steering having the soft straight-ahead springiness often found when there's a steering box rather than a rack between you and the front wheels. But it was fun nevertheless.
Then, over the next few years, I managed to sample several more Lotus Cortinas covering all three forms of production car, a racer and one unique, extremely special prototype.