Lotus’ first F1 race automobile heads to public sale

The primary Lotus Formulation 1 automobile will probably be among the many featured tons at a Bonhams public sale scheduled for Could 10 in Monaco.

The unique Crew Lotus dissolved within the early Nineties (different unrelated groups subsequently used the Lotus title), nevertheless it was as soon as an F1 powerhouse, successful seven Constructors’ and 6 Drivers’ Championships with progressive automobiles designed beneath the supervision of legendary Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

This automobile—chassis quantity 353—is the one which began all of it. A Lotus 12, it was raced by Crew Lotus eight instances between 1957 and 1959 in each F1 and F2, as the foundations of the time allowed crossover between the 2 classes.

The automobile’s outings included the 1957 BRDC Worldwide Trophy, a non-championship race for F1 automobiles at Silverstone. Whereas not a part of the official World Championship calendar, it marked the F1 debut of each Lotus and driver Graham Hill, who would go on to win two F1 championships and the “triple crown” of the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1957 Lotus 12, chassis number 353 (image via Bonhams)

1957 Lotus 12, chassis quantity 353 (picture through Bonhams)

Chassis quantity 353 was additionally the primary Lotus to race within the F1 championship correct, when Hill drove it within the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. Historic significance apart, the automobile did not have an particularly good racing report, with its greatest end being second, achieved in a pair of F2 races.

Exemplifying Chapman’s philosophy of “simplify, then add lightness,” the automobile is claimed to weigh simply 700 kilos in racing trim due to a chassis constituted of plane aluminum. A Coventry Climax inline-4 makes 141 hp in F2 tune, which is distributed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed sequential gearbox with an uncommon lefthand straight-line shift sample.

Lotus offered chassis quantity 353 to privateer John Fisher after the 1958 racing season. Fisher raced it 4 instances in 1959 earlier than promoting it to Australian Frank Gardner, who had plans to proceed racing the historic Lotus however quickly offered it. The automobile handed via just a few extra house owners earlier than being acquired by present proprietor Mike Bennett and a companion in 1991. Bennett acquired full possession of the automobile in 1995 and had it absolutely restored.

Bonhams expects the primary Lotus F1 automobile to promote for between $310,000 and $420,000 at public sale. However to devoted Lotus followers, it simply may be priceless.

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