A beautifully restored Lotus Elite Series 1 will be available in an upcoming auction with Stratas Auctions commencing on the 18th of November 2020. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Judge and British marque expert mechanic Roy Miller was commissioned to complete the restoration of this immaculate car.
The Lotus Elite, which was designed by Peter Kirwan-Taylor and aerodynamicist Frank Costin, was probably the first sports car that made use of a car’s fiberglass body shell as an active structural element.
The Series 1, of the Elite or Lotus Type 14, was manufactured from 1957 – 1963. In 1957, at the London Motor Car Show at Earls Court, the car finally made its debut after a year in development.
For the construction of the Lotus Elite, they used plastic reinforced with fiberglass for the car’s whole load-bearing structure with a steel subframe bonded to the front of the monocoque.
The construction resulted in a lighter weight that allowed the Elite an exhilarating performance out of its 75hp 1.2-liter Coventry Climax inline four-cylinder engine.
The Elite is also equipped with independent suspension, with transverse wishbones on the front, while the rear had Chapman struts. They also placed Girling disc brakes that they mounted inboard at the back.
By 1963, at the time they stopped the production of the Elite, there were a total of 1,030 units made.
This example for auction has a Poppy red finish matched with a tan interior. It was sold in April 1960 by a West Coast Lotus distributor and well-known racer, Jay Chamberlain, to a doctor based in Boise, Idaho.
The doctor entered the car in a variety of shows, rallies, as well as auto crosses. The “July Jackpot Jamboree,” a three-day event that ran from Boise, to Elko, Nevada, was founded by the previous owner and the Elite was able to win the best mileage for all eight years the event ran.
In 1977, his son took ownership of the Elite, which he then took with him to Oregon where the current owner acquired it in 2012.
The Series 1 Elite is arguably one of the finest Lotus Elites in existence. The example only has 33k mileage, and when the unit was acquired in 2012, the body was stress-fracture free and still had its original paint and interior, as well as its original Coventry Climax engine and standard BMC 4-speed gearbox.
Although the example was in good condition, the owner commissioned the work of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Judge and British marque expert mechanic Roy Miller for the Elite.
With the help of the historian and “Lotus Elite: Racing Car for the Road” author, Dennis Ortenburger, Miller started in 2013 and continued for three years.
Even though the example was in an amazing ‘preservation class’ original condition, each part was taken apart and restored. Since the original engine only had 33,400 mileage, it did not necessitate a rebuild. Miller did upgrade the timing chain as a preventive measure. The electricals of the example were checked, restored, and rewired.
Exterior of the 1960 Lotus Elite Series 1
The Elite is in its factory-correct Poppy Red finish. Costa’s Auto Works based in Carpinteria, California, completed the paint and bodywork.
The fit and finish were done and expertly maintained to the highest standard and the example shows no flaws.
Interior of the Lotus Elite
In terms of the interior, the factory-correct tan on gray carpet and mats appears in like-new condition.
The Smith’s gauges were reconditioned and operate as new. The steering wheel that was installed in the example has been wrapped in leather however the wood-rimmed original wheel will be part of the sale.
Period correct lap belts were also added for the benefit of both the driver and passenger.