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Lot 601: Lotus Type 23B 1,600cc Sports Racer

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

A small-capacity sports-racer, the Colin Chapman-designed Lotus 23 debuted in 1962 using a widened version of the contemporary Type 20 Formula Junior chassis. The design had originally been intended for engines of up to 1,300cc but such was its popularity that a 23B version with stronger chassis was introduced to cater for the 1.5/1.6-litre Ford-Lotus Twin-Cam engine. Over 130 of all types were produced and today these versatile little cars are enormously popular in historic sports car racing worldwide. The Lotus 23's international debut is the stuff of legend. In May 1962 at the N´┐Żrburgring, Jim Clark in a works-entered, Coventry-Climax-engined '23' drove away from a field of much more powerful Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins in wet conditions, only to be forced into retirement on lap 12 having been overcome by exhaust fumes. Equally famous is its debut at Le Mans in June '62. Two were entered - a 750cc and 1,000cc - with the intention of challenging for the 'Index of Performance' and 'Index of Thermal Efficiency' awards, traditionally the preserve of French manufacturers. Controversially, both were disallowed on technical grounds, prompting a furious Chapman to vow that Lotus would never race at Le Mans again. Chassis number '23-S-73' is fitted with a Lotus-Ford Twin-Cam engine of 1,600cc, which is attached to a Hewland five-speed gearbox. The car was restored in 2003/2004 (a few of the invoices are available) and has covered only some 400 kilometres since the engine and gearbox were rebuilt. Eligible for a wide variety of the most prestigious events, including the Le Mans Historique, this potentially most competitive Lotus 23B is offered with current FIA HTP papers and ASI Homologation (No. 23423).

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number601
Estimate€90000-€110000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1962
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number23-S-73
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors