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Designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman with aerodynamicist Frank Costin, the Lotus Eleven was one of the most victorious small-bore sports racing cars of the latter 1950s and well beyond. Some 270 Elevens were built from 1956–1958 and a club racing/road version was also offered, including this example, chassis 386. Perhaps the last Series 1 Eleven built, it also benefited from a factory “W” braced scuttle, making it a more desirable specification with a stiffer chassis, known to marque enthusiasts as a “series-one-and-a-half.”
Built in late 1957 and retained by the works until February 26, 1958, it was supplied the following month to Alexander Continental Autos S.A. in Geneva and displayed at the 1958 Geneva Motor Show. Road tested by Swiss magazine Auto Review in March 1958, the car was reputedly then shipped to the US. Following return to the UK via the renowned Chequered Flag Garage, the car was owned and raced domestically by a succession of British owners until early 1973, when it was acquired by Lotus historian David Morgan of Hertfordshire, UK, who commenced a full restoration in 1984 and retained the venerable Lotus until recently.
During the restoration by experts Neil Twyman Ltd., an emphasis was placed on retaining as much originality as possible and the car even shows traces of Vermillion red paint, its original shade. In restoring the car with partially new bodywork, David Morgan used Len Pritchard whose company, Williams & Pritchard, had supplied Lotus with aluminum panel work. Indeed, chassis 386 is reputed to wear the last Lotus aluminum body fabricated by this historic company. During Mr. Morgan’s ownership, the Eleven was shown at the 1988 Brands Hatch Lotus Festival and has been regularly driven on extended tours and drives throughout Europe, including a trans-Alpine round trip to Geneva and back in 2012. This car’s provenance is exceptionally well documented with a wonderful history file, including Historic Lotus Register documentation, as well as period racing photographs, a wealth of restoration images, and historical paperwork. This Lotus Eleven is an excellent example that celebrates the Lotus legend and is sure to provide a highly eligible entry for the world’s best tours, races, and rallies.
*Please note that this lot is currently located in the UK. It is UK registered and has a UK DVLA-issued V5C. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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