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Lot 647: 1958 Lotus Eleven Series 2 Le Mans

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

The car offered here is a 1958 Lotus Eleven Series 2 to ‘Le Mans’ specification, fitted with a 1,460cc Coventry Climax FWB full-race engine and a close-ratio Austin-Healey Sprite gearbox. The Series 2 Le Mans specification includes De Dion suspension at the rear and improved double wishbone and coil spring suspension at the front. Girling disc brakes are fitted all round, the rears inboard.
‘USK 265’ is used regularly as a road car, and in 2006 featured as an eye-catching entrant at various important events including the award-winning Lotus display at Classic Le Mans, Her Majesty The Queen’s 80th Birthday Parade in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, and the GRRC Annual display at Goodwood House. It appeared on the Historic Lotus Register stand at the Donington Lotus Show in 2004/2005 and has also seen limited track mileage, taking part in the Eiffel Classic six years ago, demonstration laps on the full Le Mans circuit in 2004 and 2006, and testing at Goodwood circuit in 2005/2006 in addition to regular and reliable fast road use over the past four years.
This car has been personally known to the Historic Lotus Register (HLR) Eleven Registrar for the last 34 years and was in ‘exceptionally original condition’ when thoroughly inspected by the Registrar in 1975, prior to its later sale and restoration. We are advised that the unstamped chassis was identified as manufactured by Lotus Engineering and issued with number ‘112LH032’ by the HLR and assigned the VIN ‘SABTVR03782080001’ by the DVLA. Although the engine fitted is not original to this particular chassis, the Coventry Climax FWB is the largest of the three types fitted in period by Lotus to the Eleven.
A lengthy and thorough restoration was undertaken by a previous owner during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and is documented with photographs and correspondence on file. The original chassis was retained and trued and bears the Historic Lotus Register’s identification plate, while front and rear replacement aluminium body panels were ‘wheeled’ by Len Pritchard (the original coachbuilder) and fitted in the late 1980s. There are distinguishing historical features consisting of mounting points for twin fuel pumps, and a long-range tank on the passenger side complemented by slightly shorter doors. The colour was changed to British Racing Green from its original blue, black and white, while the interior is in traditional red, with full 4-point harnesses and twin fire extinguishers.
Fitted with twin Weber 40DCOE carburettors and gear driven tachometer, the Tony Mantle-prepared FWB race engine has seen relatively little use and is reported as extremely reliable and very torquey. All the Smiths instruments are in working condition including the original chronometric tachometer, speedometer and dash-mounted voltage regulator. The Sprite ’box has close-ratio, straight-cut, synchro gears which, combined with the 3.72 final drive ratio and torque of the FWB engine, the largest of the types fitted by Lotus in period, make the car particularly suitable for sustained high speed driving.
The car currently boasts adjustable shock absorbers and Michelin X/ZX tyres on 48-spoke wire wheels with knock-off spinners for road use. A second set of wires shod with Dunlop Racing L-section tyres is included in the sale together with an assortment of spares including an oil cooler, higher-ratio differential suitable for hill climbs/sprints, two gearbox casings and sundry engine components. ‘USK 265’ is offered with FIA HVIF papers, current MoT/road fund licence and Swansea V5C registration document.


Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
TypeCar
Lot Number647
Estimate£70000-£80000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1958
Condition rating
Registration numberUSK 265
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number400 40 9422
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors