1,292cc Inline MG TA Four-Cylinder
Twin SU Carburetors
50hp at 4,500rpm
3-speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front and Rigid Axle Rear Suspension
4-wheel Drum Brakes
*First series production Lotus
*One of approximately 110 produced
*Ex-British race car
*Refurbished by Len Pritchard of Williams and Pritchard
*Registered for street use
THE LOTUS Mk6
Known as Colin Chapman's first production car, the Lotus Mk6 was, however, sold mostly in component or "kit" configuration. This allowed a number of different powertrains to be fitted and helped it to conform to a variety of racing formulae. First offered in 1952, the Mk6 was built on a sophisticated Chapman-designed multi-tubular chassis constructed by Progress Chassis. The firm of Williams and Pritchard shaped the aluminum bodywork, while the mechanical components were sourced from the Ford Prefect.
Quickly becoming a favorite among British club racers, the Mk6 introduced, for the first time in a series production car, Chapman's philosophy of "adding lightness" to boost performance. The tube-frame chassis weighed only 25kg (55 pounds) and the Mk6's total weight, depending on the drivetrain, was some 432kg (952 pounds). Despite the modest outputs from the engines used — which ranged from an 1172cc slide-valve Ford four up to a Coventry Climax — the car showed a top end of over 90 mph and lived up to Lotus advertising's claim for the Mk6: "It's faster than you think!"
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Lotus Mk6/95 was purchased in the UK by its current owner from a longtime Lotus Mk6 competitor. Restoration was initiated in England, and the body was refurbished by Len Pritchard of Williams and Pritchard, using as many of the original panels as possible, including the bulge in the bonnet. The mechanicals, including the MG TA engine, were refurbished, and to make the car enjoyable even in inclement weather, a new convertible top was fabricated as well as new side panels with windows.
The Mk6 was a remarkable dual-purpose automobile, as shown by its commercial and competitive successes. Not only is it a paragon of industrial design wherein form follows function, but Chapman's use of relatively inexpensive components make the Mk6 one of the great values for the money. Theory has rarely been so well matched to artisanal skill.
The current owner enjoyed the car on England's public road and during several club races in England before bringing it to the U.S. in the late 1980s. It is currently registered in California with the license plate "LOTUS 6," and though now thoroughly enjoyable as a road car, some close attention to the mechanicals should be considered before it is again ready to race.