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Lotus History

1961 Lotus 20

Chassis number : 20-J-935

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Sold for $60,500 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
In 1959, Formula Junior was adopted as an International Formula and would retain that title until its demise in 1964. The most successful and dominate force in the series was Lotus, winning the British National Championship from 1960 through 1963.

The Lotus 20 was first shown at the Racing Car Show in 1961. It quickly became a dominate car and with the help of the factory drivers was the most successful car of the season. It was an evolution of the Lotus 18 but with smoother lines and a minuscule frontal area to aide in aerodynamics. It had a lightweight space-frame chassis, a fiberglass body by Williams & Pritchard, and a suspension courtesy of the Lotus 18. Power was from a Ford inline four and mated to either a Renault or a Hewland modified VW gearbox.

In total, 118 examples were created of the Lotus Model 20 FJ in the one-year production run.

The Lotus 20 was successful in many countries, including the United States. Sy Kabach of Millertown, New York, ordered two Model 20s in 1961 and used them in local Sports Car Club of America contests. This example, with chassis number 20-J-935, is one of those two cars. It retains its original registration number of 24-126 and was used in many East Coast events. The other car was chassis number 934, which is still in existence in modern times.

The current owner took possession of this car over two decades ago and has continued its racing history in various vintage events. It has been raced at the Monterey Historics, and many other well-known venues throughout the Formula Junior circuit. It was given a no-expense-spared restoration by John Collins and still shows well to this day.

This car has the Hewland transmission and a 1100cc Cosworth four-cylinder engine rated at 105 horsepower. There are four-wheel disc brakes from the 1962 Model 22 and weighs a mere 880 lbs. It has been updated with modern safety equipment including a fuel cell, five-point harness and a fire system.

In 2007 this car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA where it was estimated to sell for $50,000 - $75,000 and offered without reserve. Those estimates proved accurate as the lot was sold for $60,500 including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008

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2007 Gooding & Company

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $50,000-USD $75,000 
Sale Price :
USD $60,500

1961 Lotus 20 Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Lotus 20

(Data based on Model Year 1961 sales)
1961 Lotus 20/22 Formula Junior
Chassis#: 22 J 901
Sold for USD$78,400
  2018 Bonhams : Quail Lodge
1961 Lotus 20 image  1961 Lotus 20 image  
1961 Lotus 20/22 20J919 Race Car
Chassis#: 20/22 20J919
Sold for USD$79,200
  2014 Russo & Steele - Monterey
 
1961 Lotus 20
Sold for USD$60,500
  2007 Gooding & Company
1961 Lotus 20 image  1961 Lotus 20 image  
1961 Lotus 20/22 Formula Junior
Sold for USD$55,000
  2006 Russo and Steele Auction in Monterey
 
1961 Lotus-Ford 20 Formula Junior Racing Single-Seater
Chassis#: 20J-926
Sold for USD$41,295
  2003 Bonhams - Sports, Competition & Collectors' Motor Cars
 

Lotus 20s That Failed To Sell At Auction

1961 Lotus 20's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1961 LOTUS 20/22 FORMULA JUNIOR 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction $35,000$45,000
1961 Lotus-Ford Type 20/22 Formula Junior Racing Single-Seater20J-9262012 Bonhams Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood $40,000$50,000
1961 Lotus 20 2007 Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia $40,000$50,000

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