Lotus Racer

Lotus 11

Chassis frame after painting
at Whitehead Classic Motors, Cheadle Hulme

Lotus 11

The car prior to restoration
at Whitehead Classic Motors, Cheadle Hulme

Lotus 11

The car prior to restoration
at Whitehead Classic Motors, Cheadle Hulme

Lotus 11

Len Pritchard's panel perfection!

Lotus 11

A classic cockpit

Lotus 11

The car as found by Robin Longdon,
owner of the famous Elite 'DAD1O'

Lotus 11

Overhead view of the car
as found by Robin Longdon

Lotus 11

During restoration
at Whitehead Classic Motors, Cheadle Hulme

Lotus 11

Tony Whitehead's perfect painting
prior to final assembly

Lotus 11

Tony Whitehead's perfect painting
prior to final assembly

Lotus 11

Awaiting windscreen and final finishing


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THE RESTORATION

and LEN PRITCHARD'S WONDERFUL SKILLS

I was very grateful to Tony Whitehead of Whitehead Classic Motors in Cheadle Hulme for his hard work helping me restore the car. In order to preserve originality, during 1982 and 1983 we spent many hours researching the original suppliers to Lotus Cars of the components.

I was fortunate to meet and become friends with Ron Welsh of Edmonton Tool & Engineering. Ron supplied many components for the car, all either to original specification or in the case of items such as hubs, wheels and drive shafts to a strengthened specification for long life.

Once the chassis had been shot blasted and repainted Ron kindly introduced me to Len Pritchard of  Williams & Pritchard,
the comopany who made all the bodies for the early Lotus cars from 1952 onwards.

Everyone who has seen my car in the flesh has always said it looks a real 'W&P' body, it just has something about the shape and lines which is Len's signature. He was a wonderful man. who made all the bodies for the early Lotus cars from 1952 onwards.

Len was working in his workshop just around the corner from Ron in Edmonton. I took the chassis to Len and will never forget meeting this wonderful man for the first time. His workshop was full of various chassis from Lotus and Cooper cars. Around the walls were the templates for various body styles, all cut out in pieces of cardboard and detailing all the panels Len needed to cut to create his wonderful bodies. With Len's guidance I chose the'LeMans' style. Len said it was his favourite [it was also mine] and he preferred the proportions, so that was good enough for me!

Some months later I received a call from Len telling me the car was ready for collection. I can well remember the first time I saw the new panel work; its shape was absolutely superb. I had seen other Elevens with panel work, which in my opinion looked a little heavy in certain areas, but mine was perfect. I was so glad that I'd found Len and he'd completed this very important part of the restoration. The car had 'gone home' and now it was only a question of bolting the components together.

Tony Whitehead did a superb job of the painting and assembly. The car finally saw the light of day in its newly restored condition at Silverstone, competing for the first time in April 1985 in an AMOC race for sports racing cars. It is with some pride that I can say I have raced the car every season since, a record I believe only Ken Rogers can better, [he's older than me!]

Finally, I am very sorry to have recently heard of the death on 17th September 2008 of Len Pritchard, one of the two partners of Williams & Pritchard. I am always amazed at Len's skill, why I don't know because after all he did make Spitfires in the second world war! Thank you Len, my car remains a tribute to you.