Lotus Elite Series II Coupe

Armed with a passion for cars and the 25 pounds Sterling borrowed from his future wife, in 1952, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman set about forming one of the most storied and eclectic car companies of the 20th century: the Lotus Engineering Company Ltd. A brilliant engineer obsessed with lightweight construction, Chapman built racing cars that were virtually unbeatable by competitors. Like Enzo Ferrari, road cars were a means to an end that would enable him to produce revenue with which to go racing. Introduced in 1957, at the Earls Court Motor Show, the Elite was Chapman’s first, dedicated road car, and it was a stunning product; the first car with an all-fiberglass monocoque while offering a drag coefficient of 0.29.

It was powered by an all-alloy Coventry-Climax FWE engine and benefitted from lightweight construction of just 1,484 pounds. Despite being trumpeted as a road car, it attracted the attention of the competition fraternity. An Elite won its first race at Silverstone in 1958 and finished an amazing Eighth at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959, only one of six consecutive class wins at the endurance classic.

75 hp, 1,216 cc SOHC inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar front suspension, Chapman struts, halfshafts, trailing arms and coil spring rear suspension, and front and rear disc brakes. Wheelbase: 88.2"

Car included in the RM Auctions event at Monterey on August, 17-19, 2012.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Matt Hughes

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