1968 Lotus Type 47 Europa
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The Lotus Europa had a steel backbone chassis, a design that Lotus had perfected through many of its prior cars, and powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder ohv engine of the Renault 16. In similar fashion to racing cars, the engine was placed behind the driver and ahead of the rear wheels.
The Type 47 GT, which features updates, modifications, and improvements by Lotus Components Ltd (the customer racecar division of Lotus), was introduced towards the end of 1966. It retained the same basic layout as the Europa but fitted with a lightened chassis and more advanced form of independent rear suspension incorporating magnesium uprights from the Lotus 59 F2/F3 car. The engine was a Cosworth-developed 1.6-liter Lotus twin-cam engine, the same unit found in the Elan and Ford Lotus Cortina. The Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection system was standard and helped raise the horsepower to an impressive 165. The gearbox was a Hewland FT200 transaxle with limited-slip differential. The entire package was clothed in fiberglass bodywork with slightly flared front wheel arches to conceal the wider tires.
The competition debut for the Type 47GT was at Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting in 1966. John Miles piloted the works Lotus Components entry and won the Sports/GT race. The field included many proven and seasoned machines such as Ferraris, Cobras, and E-Types. In 1967, Miles won eight more times in UK events, plus a class victory at the Brands Hatch round of the World Endurance Championship with co-driver Jackie Oliver.
In 1968 the car was given approval to race in the FIA's Group 4 competition after being homologated as a sports car (not a GT). The rules stated a minimum of 50 examples had to be constructed, though it is believed that Lotus only created about 30 by this point in history. Sponsorship was secured through their F1 partners, John Player's 'Gold Leaf' brand, for the 1968 season. In proper form, the Type 47s were painted in similar livery as the works F1 cars. The two factory drivers were John Miles and Jackie Oliver, though other drivers assisted during endurance events.
Miles won the 2-Liter class in the John Player Trophy at Silverstone during the 1968 season. He finished 2nd in the same meeting's International event as well. Oliver won his class at Brands Hatch and Croft. Also significant were the numerous victories achieved by the privateers.
This 1968 Lotus-Ford 47 GT Group 4 Competition Coupé is painted in Gold Leaf Team Lotus livery. It is chassis number 85 and is a genuine Type 47 GT. It retains its original chassis, still bonded to the fiberglass body which is an indication that its racing career may not have been too extensive. Many of the Type 47s have been mutilated over the years due to corrosion or crash damage, with only a few surviving in original form.
In the early 1980s this car was purchased from the UK by its current owner. It has been treated to a recent, complete restoration bringing it back to original form. It is recognized as a Type 47GT by the Historic Lotus Registrar and can be entered in 'vintage' racing.
In 2007 this Group 4 Competition Coupé was brought to Bonhams auction, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel, California. It was sold for $92,000 plus premium and taxes.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia|
|Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia||1961-1969|