The ex-Team Lotus, Cliff Allison and Graham Hill
1957 LOTUS 12 FORMULA 1/F2 SINGLE SEATER RACING CAR
Registration No. Not road-registered
Chassis No. 352
Engine No. 1187
Green, with yellow wheels, and black seat
Engine: four cylinders in-line twin overhead camshafts, twin Weber side-draught carburettors, 1,475cc producing 100bhp at 6,000rpm; Gearbox: manual 5-speed sequential trans-axle unit; Suspension: front double wishbones and coil springs with built-in hydraulic damper units: rear Macpherson strut coil-spring and trailing link; Brakes: hydraulic four-wheel discs, inboard rear units. Single seater.
Towards the close of the 1956 season a new classification for Formula 2 cars was announced, laying down specification of engine size of 1½ litres unsupercharged. Colin Chapman's Lotus Company already had a very good sportscar with their Eleven, which utilized the extremely effective Coventry-Climax engine in the up to 1,500cc category. It was therefore but a simple step, diverting their existing layout and design, to produce a single-seater. With this as the starting point the new Twelve was conceived.
The chassis was of space-frame type, but with much aviation technology, using small-section lightweight steel tubing even for the main chassis rails as well, with extra rigidity being provided by the undertray. A new double-wishbone front suspension with a de-Dion rear axle layout with integral gearbox, all of which was located with a high vertical coil spring loaded strut on the Macpherson principle, with a long trailing link to the lower joint. The engine of course, already renowned as the remarkable 4-cylinder twin camshaft unit developed from the Coventry-Climax fire-pump motors. The gearbox itself was designed by Keith Duckworth and incorporated the new ZF differential in the transmission. Although exhibited at the 1956 Earls Court Motor Show, the car on display was something of a mock-up, produced in some haste to give the rival Cooper concern something to think about, following their all-conquering new rear-engined F2 car driven by Roy Salvadori. However Cooper were still in the ascendant until later in the 1957 season when the 12 finally made its racing debut at Goodwood in April. Although chassis No. 352 was the third car built, it was in fact the first car to race and was driven by Cliff Allison in its first four outings. Continual teething problems beset the team during 1957 as they worked tirelessly to improve this undoubtedly good inherent design.
Driven to its first finish in the Oulton Park Gold Cup Meeting by Keith Hall, it was subsequently run by Graham Hill at Toima International F2 event and then Brands Hatch. For the 1958 season the works cars were uprated with the larger 2-litre Coventry-Climax engines and entered in full Grands Prix races, with Allison and Hill as Team drivers, making their debut at the Monaco, although unfortunately not lasting the distance. However their first Championship - winning points were scored in the Dutch and Belgian events at Zandvoort and Spa respectively. The cars was sold into private hands at the end of the season and was campaigned through the 1960s by some five further owners.
In 1980 it was purchased by the well-known collector and Lotus specialist Bill Friend, who embarked on a thorough-going restoration of the car before campaigning it in Historic events more recently. During his restoration to improve the usability of the car he fitted Hewland gearbox.
It was prepared in the mid 1990s by Peter Denty and during these years the car has proved to be very quick and more practically reliable than in its Team-Lotus days! Indeed in recent times it has proved faster than several 250F Maseratis in competition and scored a class win at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Purchased by the current vendor in 1998, the car has continued to be maintained to a very high standard for racing by Hoole Racing and is now re-offered for sale as a more powerful historic machine joins his stable.
It comes with full FIA and VSCC eligibility papers and presents a rare opportunity to acquire the only remaining example of a Works car in race-ready condition.
Please note at the time of catalogue photography the windscreen had been removed to be replaced, this will have been accomplished by the date of sale.