Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Bristol
In late 1957, Lotus debuted the all-new Elite – a cutting-edge road car that owners could also use for sporting purposes. Lotus opted for the Coventry-Climax FWE single overhead cam engine since it would qualify for the 1,300 cc class, popular in club and endurance racing. Solid performance, minimal weight, impressive aerodynamics – are common traits of the marque in recent decades, but in the 1950s it took ingenuity to create such an array. The Lotus Elite was noteworthy as an early production car to use such a light alloy block, which was complemented by the low-drag fiberglass body designed by the era’s leading aerodynamicist, Frank Costin. Disc brakes at all wheels and fully independent suspension completed the advanced package. Tipping the scale at just 1,100 lbs., the Elite punched above its weight. Production ended in 1963 after approximately 1,030 were built.
This Elite, chassis 1318, is a late Series II example, with coachwork by the Bristol Aircraft Company. According to a copy of the original Bill of Sale from Western Distributors in Burbank, California, this Elite was sold new in April 1962 to Hale and Bonnie Hunter of San Anselmo, California. Amazingly, the Elite has remained in the Golden State ever since and presents today as one of the best preserved, unrestored examples of the model. Displaying fewer than 23,000 miles and retaining factory finishes throughout, this Elite is complete with its original tool kit, 1962 title, Club Lotus badge, and California “black plate.” A striking example of a groundbreaking English sports car, this outstanding and highly original Elite is sure to impress the most discriminating collector.