A Lotus 49B once piloted by Graham Hill will be offered, for the first at auction, during the 2014 Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale, scheduled for Friday, June 27th at Goodwood House in Chichester, UK.
James Knight, Bonhams Motoring Director said, “By every standard, Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49 concept is an absolute landmark in Formula 1 design. It simply raised the bar for every rival manufacturer, and its Cosworth-Ford V8 engine went on to win a record 155 World Championship Grands Prix.
“This car, chassis ‘R8’, was Graham Hill’s – it was also raced by that wonderful driver Richard Attwood to set fastest lap at Monaco in 1969, and private owner Dave Charlton drove it to become South African national Champion. Add the excellent provenance of it being offered direct from the famous Dawson-Damer Collection and plainly ‘R8’ is an iconic car,” continued Knight.
Chassis number ’49-R8’ was part of Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s motor racing team, and is the last Lotus to be sold from the collection of British-born Formula One Lotus collector and racer, the late John Dawson-Damer.
’49-R8’ was built in October 1968 and is one of a handful remaining of just 12 Lotus 49s produced. Its Colin Chapman concept, detailed by designer Maurice Phillippe, perfected a stressed-skin monocoque forward fuselage which terminated immediately behind the driver’s cockpit, to which the Cosworth-Ford DFV engine was then bolted as the rear chassis member, carrying the ZF or Hewland gearbox and rear suspension.
The Lotus 49 instantly set new Formula 1 performance standards, and won its debut race, the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Jim Clark. In 1968 Graham Hill won his second Formula 1 World Championship title in the developed Type 49 and 49B cars and, when brand new, chassis ‘R8’ — the example being offered — became the new World Champion’s mount for the Tasman Championship races in New Zealand and Australia in January-February 1969.
Graham Hill drove ‘R8’ — rigged with the distinctive high-level strutted downforce wings of the period — to second place at both Christchurch and Invercargill, New Zealand, before finishing fourth at the Australian GP at Brisbane, and sixth at Melbourne. This car was shipped back to Europe in time to be driven by Richard Attwood in the World Championship-qualifying 1969 Monaco Grand Prix, finishing fourth and setting fastest lap.
Later in life, at Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s Hethel works in Norfolk, England, ‘R8’ was adapted to latest Type 49B specification and raced again by British World Champion, Graham Hill at the 1969 British Grand Prix, finishing seventh. Sold then to Swedish privateer Jo Bonnier ‘R8’ retired from the 1969 German GP due to a fuel leak.
For 1970 the car was sold to Dave Charlton who used it to clinch the first two of his six consecutive South African Formula 1 Championship titles, 1970-75. Lotus 49 ‘R8’ won nine qualifying rounds in Dave Charlton’s 1970 campaign, and four more in 1971.
Campaigned to the end of 1972 by South African drivers Piet de Klerk and Mayer Botha, ‘R8’ was eventually acquired in damaged condition by Australian resident and British Lotus enthusiast, the Hon. John Dawson-Damer. He restored’ 49-R8’ to race-worthy condition and it is today the last of his eight-strong, Dawson-Damer Lotus Collection — six of which were sold by Bonhams in Sydney in 2008.