During the 1960s and early 1970s, Lotus scored no fewer than seven Formula One Constructors' World Championship titles and the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Along with their victories, the company created many successful race-winning designs for all single-seat formulae including Junior, Formula 2, 3 and Ford.
Successful in nearly every form of single-seat racing, the company turned their attention to the 5-liter single seat competition. Following the contemporary Formula 1 and Formula 2 designs of its day, the Lotus 70 was designed by Martin Wade and tested by Emerson Fittipaldi. It had a central monocoque setup and the engine and gearbox were an integral part of the car's structure. Power was from a 5 liter unit. Originally the company tested a Ford 302 motor and then Chevrolet powerplants. The completed customer cars could be purchased as rolling chassis suitable for either, but not readily interchangeable.
It is believed that this was the first such production car of the nine that were built. It was sold new to Koshland Competition and raced at Sebring on December 28th of 1969 by Mario Andretti. Andretti put the car on pole. During the race, the car jumped to an early lead but on the 12th lap the Ford motor gave in and they were forced to retire.
In 1970, the car was piloted by George Follmer who finished 3rd at Elkhart Lake, 2nd at Lime Rock, and then a victory at St. Jovite and Mid-Ohio. It is thought that the car was owned by Ron Grable later in the year. Bruce Eglington of South Pasadena, California took over driving duties from 1971-73, before Butch Henneger became its next driver. He raced the car at Road Atlanta in August of 1973 after which it was sold to Rodney Green of Colorado. After the cars racing days were done, the car was given a restoration for then owner Ken Johnson.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Quail Lodge sale presented by Bonhams Auction. The car was estimated to sell for $140,000 - $160,000. Unfortunately, a buyer willing to satisfy the reserve was not found and it would leave the auction unsold.