1958 Lotus Elite Series 1- Ex Chris Barber and "For the Love of Cars"

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  Lot #309  (Sale Order: 9 of 65)  
Sold for: £150,000.00 to onsite
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Registered initially as CB 23. 1958 Earls Court Motor Show Lotus display car. Bought new by Jazz Legend Chris Barber. Extensively raced in top level, International Sports Car racing 1958-1963. Class Winner: 1963 Tourist Trophy, Goodwood. Just emerged from a top quality, very exacting restoration as an historic racing car for C4's 'For the Love of Cars' TV program. Stored for many years prior to its restoration commencing in early 2016. Restoration carried out by renowned engineer Ant Anstead's team at Evanta Motors with assistance from Lotus marque experts.Lotus Elite 1009 represents a unique proposition for buyers wanting to race in top-level historic motor sport or add to a stable of historically interesting cars. Its history and provenance make this Elite one of the most famous in the world and mean it would be welcome at any prestigious historic race meeting or show, worldwide.Not only is it the first Elite produced as a production vehicle for sale rather than a pre-production prototype as the previous eight were, but it was originally purchased by one of Colin Chapman's favoured customers and friends, jazz legend Chris Barber, a man whose music was influential in the British Blues and Jazz scene of the 1950s and 1960s and whose band was behind the UK's first Rock'n'Roll record, 'Rock Island Line' by Lonnie Donegan.Barber entered and raced the car extensively for 5 seasons in top-level international sports car racing in the UK and Europe including the Nürburgring, Spa and Zandvoort. During this period it was driven regularly by Sir John Whitmore, the 'Racing Baronet', who famously broke the class lap record at Spa using CB23 while on his way to class victory in the Grand Prix GT Support Race of 1962. Other notable drivers who drove the car include Mike Beckwith and Bob Olthoff as well as Chris Barber himself. Lotus Elite HistoryThe Lotus Elite was debuted at the 1957 Earls Court Motor Show and caused an absolute sensation, the star of the show. At this time it was, without any doubt, the most beautiful and aerodynamic British-built road car ever designed, yet it was being presented by Lotus, a company that was just five years old! The fact it was also made entirely from the new wonder material, glass fibre, simply added to the Elite's aura of other-worldliness. It cost just under £2,000, double the price of the Lotus Seven Chapman had also recently announced, but good value for a car of its complexity, performance and elegance when you consider an Aston Martin DB MkIII was well over £3,000.Lotus' first foray into building a race inspired GT road car for serious production, the Type 14 Elite was the first car to be produced using 'fibreglass' monocoque construction; a technology then in its infancy and first seen, in a much cruder form, on miniature economy sports car the Berkeley SA322. Chapman, however, was obsessed by efficiency and in a car, whether road or race, that meant light weight and low drag. The Elite had a CD figure of 0.29, remarkable now let alone in 1958, and utilised the maximum amount of energy then possible from every ounce of petrol it consumed; amazingly it was capable of returning around 40mpg even when touring at 80plus mph! Chapman saw the fibreglass monocoque as a way of achieving this without the need for expensive tooling, which he simply could not afford.Though still a young man, he was just 29 when the Elite was launched, Chapman was not in awe of more established companies or designers; indeed he relished looking at the basic problem of making a car go as fast as possible over a given distance with completely fresh eyes. He was also very ambitious and saw that if he wanted to grow Lotus into a serious force in racing he had to follow Enzo Ferrari's model of making road cars which paid for the racing. His first attempt, the Six, was a successful but basic car and by 1956 he had ideas about producing a small upmarket GT car with serious performance using the Coventry Climax engine he was so familiar with from racing.He gathered together his small army of young volunteers, who often worked for beer and sandwiches just to be part of a world-beating racing car company, for this exciting new project. Frank Costin looked at the aerodynamics of Peter Kirwan-Taylor's overall shape, while friends from the Ford Motor Company design office, John Frayling, Peter Cambridge and Ron Hickman, did the detail work on the interior and other aspects. The aim, to produce a coupe that could be used on the road for touring and also race at Le Mans was very ambitious, but the young team more than achieved it. Chapman's own suspension design, softly sprung yet firmly damped, all independent by wishbones at the front and Chapman struts at the rear, gave the Elite fantastically predictable handling while the brakes, all disc but fitted inboard at the rear to reduce unsprung weight, proved more than able to cope with stopping this lightweight gem.

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This item is part of The Porsche Car Sale 2016
 Saturday, Oct 15, 2016 | 2:00 PM  EUR (BST)
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1958 Lotus Elite Series 1- Ex Chris Barber and "For the Love of Cars"
1958 Lotus Elite Series 1- Ex Chris Barber and "For the Love of Cars"
Lot number: 309
Seller: Silverstone Auctions
Event: The Porsche Car Sale 2016
Ends: Saturday, October 15 | 2:00 PM  EUR (BST)

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