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12th & 13th NOVEMBER 2016
1958 LOTUS ELITE SERIES 1
Ex Chris Barber and "For the Love of Cars"
· Registered initially as CB 23.
1958 Earls Court Motor Show Lotus display car.
· Bought new by Jazz Legend Chris Barber.
· Extensively raced in top level, International Sports Car racing 1958-1963.
· Class Winner: 1963 Tourist Trophy, Goodwood.
· Just emerged from a top quality,
very exacting restoration as an historic racing car for C4's 'For the
Love of Cars' TV program. Stored for many years prior to its restoration
commencing in early 2016.
· Restoration carried out by renowned engineer Ant Anstead's team at Evanta Motors with assistance from Lotus marque experts.
Lotus Elite 1009 represents a unique
proposition for buyers wanting to race in top-level historic motor
sport or add to a stable of historically interesting cars. Its history
and provenance make this Elite one of the most famous in the world and
mean it would be welcome at any prestigious historic race meeting or
Not only is it the first Elite produced
as a production vehicle for sale rather than a pre-production prototype
as the previous eight were, but it was originally purchased by one of
Colin Chapman's favoured customers and friends, jazz legend Chris
Barber, a man whose music was influential in the British Blues and Jazz
scene of the 1950s and 1960s and whose band was behind the UK's first
Rock'n'Roll record, 'Rock Island Line' by Lonnie Donegan.
Barber entered and raced the car
extensively for 5 seasons in top-level international sports car racing
in the UK and Europe including the Nürburgring, Spa and Zandvoort.
During this period it was driven regularly by Sir John Whitmore, the
'Racing Baronet', who famously broke the class lap record at Spa using
CB23 while on his way to class victory in the Grand Prix GT Support Race
of 1962. Other notable drivers who drove the car include Mike Beckwith
and Bob Olthoff as well as Chris Barber himself.
Lotus Elite History
The Lotus Elite was debuted at the 1957
Earls Court Motor Show and caused an absolute sensation, the star of the
show. At this time it was, without any doubt, the most beautiful and
aerodynamic British-built road car ever designed, yet it was being
presented by Lotus, a company that was just five years old! The fact it
was also made entirely from the new wonder material, glass fibre, simply
added to the Elite's aura of other-worldliness. It cost just under
£2,000, double the price of the Lotus Seven Chapman had also recently
announced, but good value for a car of its complexity, performance and
elegance when you consider an Aston Martin DB MkIII was well over
Lotus' first foray into building a race
inspired GT road car for serious production, the Type 14 Elite was the
first car to be produced using 'fibreglass' monocoque construction; a
technology then in its infancy and first seen, in a much cruder form, on
miniature economy sports car the Berkeley SA322. Chapman, however, was
obsessed by efficiency and in a car, whether road or race, that meant
light weight and low drag. The Elite had a CD figure of 0.29, remarkable
now let alone in 1958, and utilised the maximum amount of energy then
possible from every ounce of petrol it consumed; amazingly it was
capable of returning around 40mpg even when touring at 80plus mph!
Chapman saw the fibreglass monocoque as a way of achieving this without
the need for expensive tooling, which he simply could not afford.
Though still a young man, he was just 29
when the Elite was launched, Chapman was not in awe of more established
companies or designers; indeed he relished looking at the basic problem
of making a car go as fast as possible over a given distance with
completely fresh eyes. He was also very ambitious and saw that if he
wanted to grow Lotus into a serious force in racing he had to follow
Enzo Ferrari's model of making road cars which paid for the racing. His
first attempt, the Six, was a successful but basic car and by 1956 he
had ideas about producing a small upmarket GT car with serious
performance using the Coventry Climax engine he was so familiar with
He gathered together his small army of
young volunteers, who often worked for beer and sandwiches just to be
part of a world-beating racing car company, for this exciting new
project. Frank Costin looked at the aerodynamics of Peter
Kirwan-Taylor's overall shape, while friends from the Ford Motor Company
design office, John Frayling, Peter Cambridge and Ron Hickman, did the
detail work on the interior and other aspects. The aim, to produce a
coupe that could be used on the road for touring and also race at Le
Mans was very ambitious, but the young team more than achieved it.
Chapman's own suspension design, softly sprung yet firmly damped, all
independent by wishbones at the front and Chapman struts at the rear,
gave the Elite fantastically predictable handling while the brakes, all
disc but fitted inboard at the rear to reduce unsprung weight, proved
more than able to cope with stopping this lightweight gem. The
successful Lotus 12 racer also contributed its wheelbase and track.
Lotus' groundbreaking fibreglass
monocoque was initially developed away from their own workforce for
secrecy by Peter Frayling and 21-year-old assistant Albert Adams. The
first Elite bodyshell was 'cast' on Saturday, August 31st 1957 and that
day Chapman took the decision to debut the car at the Earls Court Show
in October 1957. Remarkably the team made that deadline but then had to
develop the car into something which worked reliably and could be
produced efficiently. This car is the first customer car, chassis #1009
and would be finished in October 1958, just in time to be displayed at
the Motor Show alongside the last prototype, 1008. It was then fine
tuned before being officially sold to Chris Barber, and entered in the
Lotus' Cars ledger on 31/12/1958. Barber, though, had already raced the
car as the owner on the 26th of December, Boxing Day, Brands Hatch
Sports Car race, so it seems likely the ledger entry was made on the day
the factory returned to work following the Christmas break.
By the time Elite production ceased in
September 1963, 1030 examples had been made and Lotus had developed from
a company unheard of outside of UK club racing to one of the most
famous racing teams in the world. They were about to be crowned F1 World
Champions for the first time with Jim Clark, and were seen as
established world players in road car manufacture with a mature market
presence in the USA and elsewhere. The Elite played a big part in this
remarkable feat of automotive industrial growth. It was Lotus' first
'grown-up', credible road car and laid down the foundations of the Lotus
business that still exists today.
Lotus Elite 1009 has undergone a very
high quality nut and bolt restoration by renowned restorer Ant Anstead
at Evanta Motors as a racing car, and is not currently road registered.
The restoration has been filmed for a forthcoming episode of the 'For
the Love of Cars' series which has been so successful worldwide,
something which can only add to this car's remarkable provenance.
The restoration involved stripping the
car to a bare monocoque and started by examining it with prominent Lotus
Elite authority Malcolm Ricketts. The fibreglass monocoque was found to
be very sound and original but was stripped back completely and then
lovingly refinished in UDT Green.
It was then fitted with a full, FIA
Approved, roll cage by Pete Folbigg from 'Fabricage'. The Elite's unique
construction makes meeting modern safety standards quite involved and
Fabricage have developed a floor mounted frame in addition to their
cage. This has been fitted to over a dozen Elites worldwide and is the
gold-standard in Elite roll cages. This was accompanied by an FIA
homologated Tillett B6F Carbon-GRP racing seat, TRS belts and a
Moto-Lita steering wheel.
The engine was rebuilt by Coventry
Climax specialist, Glyn Peacock, to his full race 'all steel'
specification which includes forged pistons and rods, a steel crank, big
valves and every other modification he has developed in many years
building only Coventry Climax FW engines. It was tested on the dyno and
The original MGA sourced gearbox was
rebuilt by well-known specialist Mike Jennings who fitted a new
layshaft, front and rear bearings, and strengthened the clutch slave
cylinder mounting. The gears and syncro-cones were found to be perfect.
New wheels, from specialist MWS, were fitted with the correct Dunlop racing tyres.
Once the suspension had been rebuilt
with all new parts from Mk14 Components it was set up by well known
Elite specialists who ensured that this Elite flows down the road in the
way Colin Chapman intended.
Every detail has been restored to better
than new standard using only top quality components. The result is
a car that is a joy to behold and a thrill to drive. A car that will be
competitive in 1300cc class racing just as it was when new and will be
welcomed by any prestigious event organiser because of its unique
history and bewitching beauty. It also has the latest FIA HTP papers and
is thus eligible for all International events.
Offered in pristine condition, and ready
to race with fresh FIA HTP papers, this Lotus Elite Type 14 Mk1
presents a unique opportunity for collectors and racers alike.
Engine builder: Glyn Peacock Engineering. http://climax-engines.co.uk/
Gearbox builder: Mike Jennings, Harrow Cross Engineering. 01787460965
Rollcage: Fabricage UK. www.fabricageuk.co.uk 01223 870563
Racing Seat: Tillet Racing seats. www.tillett.co.uk
Belts: TRS Motorsport harnesses. www.trs-motorsport.com/
Wheels: Motor Wheel Services. www.mwsint.com
Parts: Mk14 Components. www.mk14components.com/
KEEPING IT CLASSIC