Monterey

17-18 August 2012

Previous Next

Lot 124

1956 Lotus Eleven Series 1 Sports Racing Car

  • Chassis no. 189

Sold for $126,500


100 bhp, 1,462 cc DOHC four-cylinder engine, two 2-inch SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with swing axles and coil-spring dampers, De Dion rear axle with wheels located by parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 85"



Please note that this vehicle will be sold on a Bill of Sale only.



• Well-known, polished-aluminum Lotus Eleven Series 1

• Spectacular 56-year competition record in Europe and the U.S.

• Most desirable, finned, single-seater Le Mans model

• Top speed of 165 mph from aluminum Coventry-Climax engine



Colin Chapman was an engineer for the British Aluminum Company, who built competition cars in his spare time, starting with the bare-bones Lotus VI in 1952. Initially with Ford side-valve engines, the aluminum Coventry-Climax SOHC, four-cylinder proved to be the magic ingredient, and 100 Mark VIs were sold in three years.



Chapman wanted to enter the 1500 cc class and hired De Havilland Aircraft engineer Frank Costin to produce an aerodynamic full-width racer. The Lotus VIII and IX were followed quickly by the XI (Eleven), which had a stunning low-drag body. It was sold as the Sports, a street car with a 36-horsepower Ford engine and drum brakes; the Club, the same car but with a 75 horsepower Coventry-Climax engine; and the Le Mans, a single-seater with 1,462 cc Coventry Climax engine, disc brakes, and De Dion rear axle. The Le Mans was capable of 165 mph in 1955.



The car on offer is a Lotus Eleven Series 1, chassis number 189, which has had an illustrious career. From 1956–1958, it was raced 40 times around Europe by the Hon. Edward Greenall, of Ecurie Arklow. He won eleven Firsts, five Seconds, and five Third Places. In 1958, the car passed to Bill Allan, of the Curtis Smith Racing Team, who campaigned it extensively in the UK, until it was retired at the end of the season.



American racer David Springett was transferred to England for Xerox in 1978. Looking for a competitive car, he found 189 and was immediately successful, running 52 races from 1980–1983, including 28 in one year. Springett won the under two-liter class at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in 1983 and was Second at the Nürburgring Historic Grand Prix in 1981.



Racing in the FIA International Series, against the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Springett scored numerous First, Second and Third Places, including setting a lap record at Donington in August 1981. Springett also competed in the Lloyd’s and Scottish UK Historic Championship Series, finishing Third in Class in 1981 and 1982 and Second in 1983. Since returning to the U.S. in 1983, the Springett’s highly polished Lotus has been a familiar sight at racetracks all over the West Coast, and he’s been a front-runner in more than 250 races.



However “the best day, bar none” as he puts it, was winning the Monaco Historic GP in 1983. “I was chasing a two-liter Porsche RSK, who was giving me no room to pass. I realized I’d have to go round on the outside of the turn by the swimming pool. It scared us both, but we were neck-and-neck down the straightaway…then we both spun out at the next corner by the church. I got out first and took off up the hill.”

Addendum

As with many Lotus 11's another similar car claims this cars chassis number. UK Lotus 11 registrar Victor Thomas confirms however that this car was a LeMans model from new and is accepted as an original Lotus 11 by the Register.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 212 894 1981
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more