Lotus Racer

Lotus 11

The car at Crystal Palace, June 7th 1965
Photo by Ferret Fotographics, 01453 543243


Print Friendly

HISTORY

This Lotus Eleven was made probably during 1957 at Hornsey in North London.

Unfortunately, like many other chassis, it has no known factory chassis number. The panel work behind the headlamp on which its number would have been affixed was discarded, probably when the E-Type style bonnet shown in this picture at Crystal Palace in 1965 was fitted. I suspect that race accident damage and the cost of having a new bonnet made in aluminium was the reason why the E-Type bonnet was used - after all it was not very valuable in the mid 1960s. Interestingly I have an Autosport advert from 1965 for the car....the price, £375.00!!

The car does have some interesting known earlier history, being one of a small number of Lotus Elevens that were converted in the early sixties to GT specification. This was to take advantage of Appendix K rules. The fitting of a closed body on top of the original aluminium bodywork was carried out to achieve this interesting modification. This featured gull-wing doors, which hinged from the centre of the roof and closed down onto the original Lotus Eleven doors.

It was as a GT that the car came into my possession in 1982. I had wanted a sports racing car for many years and asked several friends involved in motor racing to keep an ear out for any suitable restoration projects. Luckily Robin Longdon, the owner of the very famous Elite 'DAD10', had acquired a Lotus Eleven restoration project some months earlier and felt he did not have sufficient time to restore the car. Robin kindly sold me the car and I became the proud owner of a 'trailer full of parts'.

I joined the Historic Lotus Register and received much help and advice from amongst others Rob Lyall, Graham Capel and Vic Thomas. Vic Thomas was interested in the twin fuel pump mountings and the fact that this car is one of the rarer 'wobbly web' chassis cars. I still have all the original wheels and hubs, although their magnesium construction renders them only safe for static purposes.

Graham Capel raced an GT Eleven during the mid sixties and remembered racing against my car at Silverstone, Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch. He kindly gave me copies of various race programmes, all of which mention the car when it was raced as a GT by Don Marriotts and Harry Stiller.

Classic and Sportscar magazine did a track test feature on the car in 1988, well known historic race driver Willy Green commenting that he greatly enjoying the superb light handling! In the article the name of Don Marriotts was mentioned and I later received a letter from someone in east London telling me that Don had sadly died.  Fortunately, I am now in touch with Harry Stiller, so we will fill in some more early history when we meet. The trail to discover the car's first couple of years of life has sadly gone cold

Some new history has just come to light.
.
1960/61

Joe Robinson

I spoke to Joe on 20.09.05. He gave the following information.

He and his brother George bought car in 1960/61 from Charlie Young of LS Garages.

The car was unregistered and Charlie only had it for a short time. The car came from London and the previous owner was a dentist. The car was immaculate and almost unused. He remembered the following features:

Unpainted ali body

1098 Climax engine

Twin Weber carbs

Dedion rear

Wobbly webs

A30 box

Various chrome plated fittings

Never been raced

Never had any accident damage

Joe and George decided to use the car on the road and to use it in club races. They had it road registered in 1961 approx, the number was PTN 1.

The car's gearbox gave trouble and they replaced it with a MGA unit for reliability.

In addition, they fitted a pair of new Weber carbs after having great difficulty with the setting up of the originals. [instructions were only available in Italian!]

During their ownership of the car they raced at many northern events and Joe remembers the following circuits:

Thornaby

Charterhall

Catterick Airbase

For more power Joe and George took out the original engine and used a 1220 unit from a Lotus road car they were selling. The new owner of this vehicle wanted the newly rebuilt 1098 unit, rather than the existing s/h 1220, so they decided to swap it over.

In approx. 1963 they sold the car to the garage where Tony Dean worked.

1963/64
Tony Dean

I spoke to Tony Dean on 15.09.05. He gave me the following information.

Tony bought the car after it had been sitting for some time in the corner of the garage where he worked. At that time Tony had been very successful in go-kart racing and it was suggested by the garage owner that he should try racing a car.

He entered his first race at a Northern BRSCC meeting at Rufforth and Tony clearly remembers he qualified on pole. In the race Tony finished 2nd overall, a fantasic result for his first motor race.

Tony went on to race the car during 1964 at Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Croft, Mallory Park, Oulton Park and Rufforth.

Tony clearly remembers the car was fitted with a 1220ccs engine and had wobbly web wheels.

He sold the car in 1964 to Ben Moore of Hull.