Sports Racing Car
Chassis #: 622-3
Engine #: FPF 1054
The Lotus Type 15 Sports-Racing Two-Seater were the replacement for the successful Lotus Eleven, the 1100-1500cc model which had established designer Colin Chapman's Lotus Engineering Company Ltd. as a major competitor of customer production competition cars. After around 150 examples of the Series 1 Type Elevens were produced, a Series 2 version was introduced in the spring of 1957. Production ended a year later, with around 270 Lotus Elevens completed. Their success was in their design and engineering. They had a lightweight yet rigid multi-tubular space-frame chassis designed by Chapman and given an aerodynamic body styled by De Havilland Aeroplane Company aerodynamicist Frank Costin. In 1958, the Type 15 was introduced as an uprated sports-racing car, wearing similar Costin bodywork, but strengthened to cope with the increased horsepower and torque of the Coventry Climax FPF 4-cylidner engines. Around 27 examples of the Lotus 15s were manufactured from 1958-59.
This Type 15 was assembled from factory-supplied parts by David Buxton who would later create Team Elite. The car was quickly purchased from him by future British Touring Car Champion Driver Roy Pierpoint, who had experience racing a 1958-built Lotus 15 and wanted to upgrade to a newer (3rd Series) chassis, such as this example. Pierpoint completed this car with a 2-liter 4-cylidner twin-camshaft Coventry Climax FPF engine and gave it a ZF 4S/12 gearbox. This gearbox was used as standard equipment by the Team Lotus entered works Type 15's but not commonly used on customer cars.
Pierpoint raced this Type 15 for two seasons. In the winter of 1961-62, it was sold to George Dixon as a rolling chassis, less engine. Mr. Dixon installed a Ford powerplant and raced it at club events and in British-series autocross races on grass and dirt tracks. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it passed through several owners who would continue to enhance its racing resume.
In 1986 it was sold to Peter Walter and after his death in 1989, the car was retained by his widow until February of 1995. It was acquired by Peter Austin who drove it at the Silverstone Classic in October of 1998 and at the Inaugural Goodwood Revival Meeting of that same year.
Austin gave the car a new chassis fabricated by a British specialist fabricated. The original frame was kept with the car. In 1999 it was purchased by Cedric Brierley and sold a year later to Don Law. It would soon trade hands again, and then pass through several more owners. In 2005, it was acquired by Steve Hilton who brought it to the US Vintage racing scene, after which it was acquired by the current vendor.
In 2010, this Sports Racer was offered for sale at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction presented by Bonhams. The car had been estimated to sell for $400,000 - $440,000 but was unable to find a buyer willing to satisfy the reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010