1962 Lotus Elite Series II Super 95 Coupé
Registration no. 791 HYT
Chassis no. 1959
Registration no. 791 HYT
Chassis no. 1959
*One of an estimated 23 Super 95s built
*Matching chassis, engine and gearbox numbers
*Engine rebuilt 700 miles ago
'The road manners of the Elite come as near to those of a racing car as the ordinary motorist would ever experience.' - The Autocar.
With the Lotus 14 of 1959 - better known as the Elite - Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars. The Elite was, nevertheless, conceived with competition in mind - Chapman had his sights set on class wins at Le Mans and the Monte Carlo Rally - and incorporated technology developed in Lotus's single seaters. Every bit as innovative as Chapman's outright competition cars, the Elite featured a glassfibre monocoque body tub - the world's first - independent suspension all round, rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the lightweight four-cylinder Coventry-Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam unit of 1,216cc producing 75bhp, while the gearbox, an MGA unit fitted with an alloy casing and modified bell-housing, was sourced from BMC.
The curvaceously styled body - the work of Peter Kirwan-Taylor and aerodynamicist Frank Costin - although possessing an admirably low coefficient of drag (0.29), made few concessions to comfort or noise suppression, not that that is likely to have bothered the Elite's customers, for whom its 112mph top speed and superlative handling were of far greater importance. Body production was farmed out to Maximar, a boat builder, which supplied around 250 for assembly at the Lotus factory in Edmonton, North London. With demand increasing, the company relocated to a new purpose-built factory in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in 1960. The body contract for what would become known as the 'Series 2' Elite was given to the Bristol Aircraft Company, and by the time production ceased in 1963 an estimated total of 1,030 cars had been completed. Series 2 developments included an improved design of rear suspension and more civilised interior. Engines in higher states of tune became available and the Elite could be ordered with optional twin Weber carburettors and/or a ZF all-synchromesh close-ratio gearbox. As its name suggests, the 'Super 95' came with an engine producing 95bhp.
On the racetrack, the Elite proved every bit as successful as Chapman had hoped, scoring its first international class win at the Nürburgring 1,000km race in 1959, and would go on to win its class at Le Mans on five occasions, twice winning the prestigious Index of Thermal Efficiency competition, with best finishes of 8th overall (twice). They were a mainstay of sports and GT racing at national level on both sides of the Atlantic and many are still in action in historic events today.
A Bristol-bodied Series II Elite, the car offered here is an original, right-hand drive, 'matching numbers' (chassis, engine, gearbox) example of the Super 95 model, of which approximately 23 were built. An accompanying letter from Lotus Cars Ltd confirms that '1959' is an original Super 95 Special Equipment model that was sold new to one A J Mucklow in December 1962. Finished in green with grey leather upholstery, it has the desirable ZF gearbox and twin SU carburettors.
Believed to be the 1962 Earls Court Motor Show car, '791 HYT' was acquired by the current owner, a Club Lotus member since 1957, in 2008, since when it has formed part of his private collection of Lotus cars and other classics. The Elite has been driven some 6,000 miles since acquisition, being used sparingly and never raced. Relatively recent works carried out include a no expense spared engine rebuild by Jim Stokes Workshops (JSW) at a cost of circa £20,000 700 miles ago, and an interior re-trim in Connolly hide (in 2013). Bills for these works are on file and the car also comes with extensive service history and a quantity of expired MoT certificates. The bonnet and boot have been refurbished by the owner. Adjustable dampers and a plumbed-in fire extinguisher are the only notified deviations from factory specification.
Offered with a V5C document and current MoT, '791 HYT' represents a rare opportunity to acquire one of these highly desirable, limited edition, Special Equipment Elites, offered from discerning enthusiast ownership.
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- 9 September 2016, 09:00 - 17:00 BST