1960 Lotus Elite Series ISOLD
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Engine Type: Coventry Climax 4-Cylinder
Engine Number:FWE7316
Color:Red / Tan

Reference Number 209977

as of 1/26/2013

Overview
Car 1960 Lotus Elite Series I
VIN 1151 
Mileage 33,496 miles 
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Known History

 

1960 Lotus Elite Series I

s/n 1151 Engine no. FWE7316

Red with Tan Interior

 

Like all Lotus cars from the Chapman era, the Elite is a technological marvel. Employing an almost entirely fiberglass monocoque chassis body unit, rack and pinion steering, and Lotus` usually sophisticated suspension design, the car was and remains a highly capable driver`s car. Its fiberglass construction and diminutive dimensions made for a light weight of about 1,300 pounds, yet the torsional rigidity of the platform is remarkable. The aerodynamic bodywork and mostly covered underside contributed to a coefficient of drag of just .29, a remarkable figure, even 50 years later. The car proved to be highly successful in competition, including six class wins in six years at Le Mans (where the car was reported to make 20mpg!).

 

This particular example epitomizes a true "survivor", with a remarkably stress-fracture free fiberglass unibody, what is believed by Lotus experts to be original paint and interior, its original numbers matching Coventry Climax FWE ("Feather Weight Elite") engine (number 7316) and standard BMC 4-speed transmission. It is believed that the 33,500 miles indicated is original from new.

 

Sold by Lotus to Jay Chamberlain (a fairly successful race car driver and the west coast distributor for Lotus Cars of America) under invoice # ELC 565 dated January 26th, 1960, # 1151 left the factory trimmed in red with a tan interior and it remains that way today.

 

Chamberlain sold s/n 1151 to Dr. G. J. Gardner of Boise, Idaho in April 1960, the first of two Lotus' he would eventually sell to Gardner (the second being a 1963 Elan). Gardner drove the Elite throughout the 1960s and 1970s, entering it into many events including shows, rallies and auto-crosses. He founded the "July Jackpot Jamboree" rally, a three-day, multi-hundred mile drive from Boise to Elko, Nevada. #1151 won the best mileage trophy for all eight years of the event. A copy of a 1961 newspaper clipping with a picture of the car was graciously provided by the Elite World Register and can be forwarded upon request. At some point in 1977, Dr. G. J. Gardner transferred ownership of s/n 1151 to his son, Dr. Charles Gardner and his wife Shirley, also of Boise, Idaho. In the mid-1980s Charles moved to Woodburn, Oregon, bringing the Elite with him, and he drove, preserved and maintained the car until 2012.

 

The car presents well, with a charming patina inside and out. In keeping with the cohesive nature of a well cared for, unrestored car, this Elite runs strong and has a tight, responsive road feel. It would appear to be a remarkably preserved car, in excellent mechanical health, and we welcome inspections to confirm the above.

 

This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire an excellent example of this sophisticated and charming car. Eligible for a growing number of events, this wonderful Lotus could be readily used for historic tours, prepared for vintage racing, or simply as a weekend runabout.