1956 Lotus Eleven S1 Le Mans
In the early 1950s, Lotus built several examples of the VIII and X. Streamlined examples of 'top engineering' in which Lotus founder Colin Chapman was assisted by engineer Frank Costin.
When the brilliant aerodynamicist Frank Costin entered the picture, body design suddenly went far beyond just streamlining a bodywork. From then on, there could be talk of real aerodynamics. The VIII and X had large rear fins, which made the cars very stable at speed.
And very stable may be taken literally. When cornering, the car was not fast enough. To remedy this, Costin started modifying and lowering the fins and applying more elliptical shapes in his design. The Lotus Eleven had the magic ratio; stability on straights and fantastic cornering ability.
Combine the aerodynamics with a high-performance 1098cc Coventry Climax engine and a total weight of around 450 kilograms and it quickly becomes clear why the Lotus Eleven had a record to match.
At Le Mans 1956, the Eleven took victory in the 1100cc class and 7th place overall. A very nice achievement when taking into account other participating cars such as the Jaguar D-Types, Aston Martin DB3S, Maserati 150S, Porsches 550,... In 1957, a Lotus Eleven finished a fitting 11th place in the 1957 Mille Miglia.
In 1959, actor Steve McQueen bought a Lotus Eleven for which he sold his Porsche 550 Speedster. From then on, he claimed to really understand what sports car racing really was about.
Today, we are proud to present to you a 1956 Series 1 'Le Mans' example. A car with an extensive and beautiful (motorsport) history. A unique opportunity to own one of the just 270 examples built.
In June 1956, this Lotus Eleven was finished at Lotus Engineering Company at Tottenham Lane in Hornsey, London. As the 38th from the series of 150 "Series 1" cars. In August that same year, the car ran its first race at Crystal Palace in London with Briton Tony Bik as pilot.
Around 1960, the car was exported to Australia by Mr. R.F. Hepworth of Strathfield, New South Wales. In 1961, Mr. Graham White of Castle Cove, Sydney bought this Lotus. He raced the car from his purchase until 1965 a total of about 40 races. Some highlights of his record included the 1961 Australian Tourist Trophy and the 1962 New South Wales Sports Car Championship.
In 1965, Ross MacKenzie purchased this Lotus Eleven from Mr. White. He was also an avid racer and drove a 35 races with his lovely Lotus over a 4-year period. In 1969, he in turn sold the car to Mark Croudace of Canberra. Mark drove no competition as did subsequent owner Peter Davidson.
From 1983 through 2016, Mr. Andy Murray was the owner of the Lotus. He had a full restoration completed in 2006. In 2016, the car ended up in Belgium. The last owner compiled a complete file on the extensive history the car possesses.
Today, this rare piece of Lotus history is in fantastic and complete condition. An opportunity to seize?!
In that Lotus I really started to become competitive. I was smoother, more relaxed; the rough edges had been knocked off my driving. I was beginning to find out what real sports car racing was all about.Steve McQueen , American actor & racing driver
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