http://news.boldride.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/1956-Lotus-11_02.jpgFor this week’s eBay Car of the Week, we’ve found a genuine 1956 Lotus Eleven Series 1 that would be perfect to buy, prep and take to you favorite vintage racing series. While this race car may have been small and had a 4-cylinder engine, it was driven by greats like Sterling Moss and Graham Hill. Designed by Colin Chapman, Lotus Eleven was a very successful and winning example of the Lotus philosophy of “simplify, then add lightness.” Let’s dig in and see what made this car so quick.
Like most race cars of the time, this car was based on a tubular steel space frame. The slippery aluminum body was designed by aerodynamicist Frank Costin. This design and a special bubble canopy helped Sir Stirling Moss capture a class world record of 143 mph for a lap around Monza.
This particular model is fitted with a common Coventry Climax 1100cc (1.1-liter) 4-cylinder engine. This mighty midget engine put out around 90 hp at 6,800 RPM. That might not seem like much power, but fully equipped this car only weighs around 1,000 lbs. There are a lot of motorcycles with worse power-to-weight ratios than this, and worse aerodynamics as well.
“Lotus factory records suggest that this race car was shipped to the US for buyer Gary Laughlin, a 1950’s-era driver from Texas. According to Laughlin, he never took delivery of the Eleven, but instead sold the car as it sat at port to Skitch Henderson, the original bandleader of The Tonight Show. In a 1957 Sports Illustrated article, Mr. Henderson discusses driving the model with Carroll Shelby.”
Apparently, this Lotus Eleven suffered some damage in the rear and had to be repaired by welding some parts on to it from a donor Eleven back in the 1970′s. Since then, it has been owned mostly by collectors and has seen very limited time on track at some vintage racing events. Most recently, it was purchased in Monterey, CA a few weeks ago as it went across the Gooding and Co. auction block for less than expected.
If you are interested in getting into vintage racing, this would be a super fun car to do it in. Beware though, it is already at around $80K. Vintage racing is not the sport of those with a weak wallet. The auction ends tomorrow (9/2/12) just before 3pm EST, so you better hurry if Lotus is you team, orange is your color, and #86 is your lucky number.