We hope to see this lightweight racer back on the track someday.
Collector car buyers continue to find something special about ratty barn finds, as H&H Classics' recent sale of this 1966 Costin Nathan works prototype shows. The little racer needs a complete restoration before it can hit the track again. However, bidders clearly saw something special about the vehicle because the hammer dropped at 81,224 pounds ($105,340) after fees, and 71,000 pounds ($92,070) of that was just for the car. H&H Classics originally estimated a price of 25,000 to 30,000 pounds ($32,420 to $39,000).
The 1960s were a special time in motor racing when practically anyone could build a chassis, source an engine, and compete against factory-supported teams. Lotus engineer Frank Costin came up with this swoopy design and followed Colin Chapman's maxim to "add lightness." Costin created a wood monocoque chassis and used tubular steel subframes at each end to carry the independent suspension and brakes. A 1.0-liter tuned Hillman Imp four-cylinder engine made around 96 horsepower, and he covered the shape in an aluminum body. In the era, this beauty raced in the United Kingdom and Europe against small-displacement cars like Abarths. It was originally an open-top car, but a later owner modified the exterior into a coupe.
The old gal is in rough shape today after sitting in a garage for the last 45 years, and the new owner has quite a challenge ahead. Even the original powertrain is gone, and instead of the small-bore engine, the Costin has a Ford-based twin-cam and Hewland MK5 gearbox. We hope the winning bidder has the funds to bring this car back to original condition, and we'd like to see it racing at Goodwood sometime. Check out the video below to watch the auction and an interview with Costin racer Roger Nathan.