A real "Racing car for the road" just as Colin Chapman always intended.
To be offered by Silverstone Auctions at the ‘Silverstone Classic’ on Sunday 28th July 2019 in The Wing building at the Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire (NN12 8TN). Viewing is available from 9:00am on Friday 26th July and on the morning of the sale day. For further images & information please click on the lot listing link (above) and get in touch with classic car specialist Roger Taylor of Silverstone Auctions.
The Silverstone Classic Sale 2019>
2pm Sunday 28th July 2019 Classic Cars & Competition Cars>
1961 Lotus Elite
LOT NO. 433 - 1961 LOTUS ELITE
Estimate: £65,000 - £75,000
+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%
Recent engine refresh at Tolman Motorsport, 5-Speed ZF Gearbox
Restoration by Specialist Paintwork
Prestigious and continuous Motorsport history. FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form, FIA Identity Card
Eligible for Goodwood Revival, Tour Auto andTour de France
Independent suspension, a ZF gearbox, disc brakes, a Coventry Climax all-aluminium engine and a very low drag coefficient of just 0.29 - makes for a great driver's car
The Lotus Elite, when first launched in 1958, put Colin Chapman and Lotus cars very firmly on the map. It utilised a 'monocoque construction' which meant there was no separate chassis and the body was 'load bearing', and whilst this was becoming accepted practice, the Elite was the first time it had been attempted in glass-fibre. When combined with the independent sporty suspension, a ZF gearbox, disc brakes, a Coventry Climax all aluminium engine and a very low drag coefficient of just 0.29 - it made for a great drivers car. So much so, that by production end in 1963 over one thousand had been produced and Lotus was now a credible British sports car manufacturer.
The elite on offer here was originally invoiced and exported new to Yngve Nystrom in Sweden on 16/03/61 in Stage III tune as Nystrom had recently become the Lotus dealer in Sweden and set up a team of Elites for the 1961 Swedish GT Championship. This was not his own car but sold to A B Motale Bilstrum in May 1961 and is understood to have raced in the Championship in the early 1960s.
The engine number is different from than that referred to in Lotus records which may be explained as a clerical error or, more likely, the fact that Elites became eligible for the 1150 cc class in the Swedish GT Championship in the early 1960s by taking advantage of regulations that permitted the fitting of new cylinder liners that reduced capacity to 1140cc.
The car appears to have been first road-registered (L25406) from 1966 until at least 1971. In the summer of 1989, the car was shipped to Neil Twyman Engineering in England and bought for rallying by the present owners that December. The body was stripped, re-gel coated and painted by Alan Rigarlsford's Specialised Paintwork Ltd who had more than 50-years’ experience of fibreglass restoration, specifically of Lotuses, since working for Mike Spence’s Lotus dealership in Maidenhead in the 1960s. The engine and ZF gearbox were rebuilt by Doug Lawson (ex-McLaren). All Elite replacement parts, modifications and advice were sourced from Tony Bates, the leading Elite expert at the time.
Upon completion, it was UK registered in March 1990 and competed in several UK-based rallies during the year, including the RAC Britannia Rally and the Belgian Historic Rally. In the winter of 1990/91, the engine and gearbox were stripped, checked and re-assembled with replacement parts as necessary in preparation for the FIA European Historic Rally Championship – an exclusively tarmac stage rally championship - and other overseas events in 1991. Participation subsequently became less frequent, so much so that the car was eventually put into dry storage in the late 1990s, remaining there until 2011 when it was readied for road use, covering less than 100 miles a year until 2019 when the decision was taken to prepare the car for sale.
The body was returned to Specialised Paintwork to restore to pristine condition. Tolman Motorsport refreshed the engine and fitted a 4.22 differential (in place of the 4.88 used for rallying), carried out a detailed inspection and replacement of all other mechanicals. Detailed invoices for this work, the 1991 restoration, and the 1990/1991 engine and gearbox work are available for inspection together with related photographs and photographs of the car on its repatriation in 1989 and subsequently in competition.
The Elite is fully road legal, with the all-important, in-date FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form and FIVA Identity Card and is in competition-ready condition for rallying/racing where it would be eligible for events such as Tour de France, Goodwood Revival, Tour Auto etc. Alternatively, it can easily be returned to road-going trim.
1990 Coppa D’Italia (1st event)
Belgian Historic – 1st in class; 6th overall
Bavaria Rallye Historic
Historic Vltava Rallye (Czechoslovakia) – 1st in class; 5th overall
500 Minuti Historic (Italy) – 1st in class; 3rd overall
Mitropa Historic Cup Series 1991 – Winner
San Remo Rallye Storica
Classic Marathon – 1st in class; awarded Alpine Cup
1000 lakes Historic (Finland)
Corse Retro (Corsica) – 1st in class; 7th overall; awarded Coupe Corse
FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form
Period NACA duct in bonnet from Sweden
Rear wishbones rose-jointed
Front wishbones triangulated to strengthen
Fire extinguisher system
Parallel fuel pumps
This is a rather special little Lotus, freshly prepared for the 2019 season, an historic Elite ready for road, stage or track.
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