- Personal car of two-time Formula 1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Clark
- Given to Clark in lieu of payment for his services as a Works driver for Lotus
- One of only three Elites fitted in period with the rare Hobbs “Mechamatic” gearbox
- Retains original chassis plate, body plate, engine, registration number and buff logbook signed by Jim Clark
- Immaculately restored in original colour scheme of Primrose Yellow with silver roof
From their diminutive home in North London, Lotus Engineering – and specifically the charismatic Colin Chapman – challenged the automotive establishment with a variety of ground-breaking racing cars in the mid- to late-1950s.
By 1956, Chapman formulated plans for a small-capacity, lightweight road car suitable for competition utilizing a fiberglass monocoque chassis, with the engine, gearbox and front suspension all located via a bonded-in steel subframe. Suspension would be by double-wishbones at the front and via the ingenious “Chapman Strut” at the rear.
The first 255 Elite chassis were produced by Maximar Mouldings. Thereafter, production was transferred to the Bristol Aeroplane Company, whose quality control proved far superior; these examples retrospectively were referred to as Series 2 cars. This example was one such car, and boasted the superior “Super 95” specification, with increased compression ratio, more aggressive camshaft profile, servo-assisted brakes and long-range fuel tank.
Originally finished in Primrose Yellow with a contrasting silver roof, the first owner was none other than Jim Clark, and it was first registered, appropriately, with the Berwickshire registration HSH 200, to his company, Clarksport Ltd. Delivered to Clark in February 1962 in lieu of payment for his services as a Team Lotus driver, the car is one of only three Elites known fitted in period with the Hobbs “Mechamatic” gearbox.
It was used extensively on the road for the remainder of 1962 and most of 1963 by Clark, prior to its sale to George Simpson. A further four UK-based owners followed before the car was acquired by Simon Mears in 1970. Regrettably, soon afterwards, the car suffered a road accident, but a replacement bodyshell was procured from Lotus and was subsequently rebuilt. In 1980, Mears sold the car to Roger Hartwell, who in turn traded it to Elite authority Tony Bates in 1984. Bates kept the car for 22 years, until its sale to the consignor in January 2006.
In late 2012, the consignor was invited by Goodwood to take part in the Jim Clark tribute at the 2013 Revival, whereupon a complete restoration was undertaken. The original Coventry Climax engine was rebuilt by Andrew Tart, and the Hobbs gearbox inspected by original Hobbs engineer Cecil Schumacher. The original differential was rebuilt, and the car fitted with reconditioned brakes, suspension parts, a new wiring loom and wheels. Great care was taken to re-use as many original components as possible, including the dash, instruments, steering wheel, brake servo, fuel tank, interior trim and Lucas PL lights.
Regrettably, the car encountered gear selection problems at Goodwood, so the decision was taken to revert to the MG gearbox, as originally fitted by the factory when delivered to Clark. However, the Mechamatic gearbox – together with a further spare unit – accompany the car and can be reinstalled.
There are few more significant unions in motorsport than Jim Clark and Lotus. Immaculately restored, with impeccable provenance and comprehensive documentation, this Elite represents an unrepeatable opportunity to acquire a significant link between the two parties.