1964 Lotus Elite

Consider the time, 1957. Colin Chapman's Lotus cars are already a factor in small displacement sports-racing and formula cars. Chapman decides to apply their basic structure to a world-beating GT car, the Lotus Elite. Typically Lotus, Chapman doesn't follow convention. Instead, he designs the first all-fiberglass monocoque two-seat coupe, a concise, sensually beautiful, aerodynamic confection penned by Peter Kirwan-Taylor (an accountant, no less) and vetted by coachwork genius Frank Costin. It's not only pretty, it's also efficient, with a nearly impossible drag coefficient of 0.29 and stability in crosswinds and cornering that defied accepted standards. Power came from Chapman's favorite Coventry Climax engine, specially tailored to the Elite's needs and called the FWE, "Feather Weight Elite." The only other fiberglass sports car of significance, Chevrolet's Corvette, had a separate body and frame (the latter borrowed from a 1953 production sedan.) Chapman's Elite had 4-wheel independent suspension, weighed close to nothing, was so svelte a lighted match didn't blow out at speed when the windows were removed (they didn't roll down to save weight and give drivers more elbow room) and had 4-wheel disc brakes. The Lotus Elite was, and still is, one of the seminal designs in the automobile's history, something so different, advanced, innovative and visionary that its importance is undeniable. So important is the Elite that something near half of them still survive, but few of them are so sublimely restored and maintained as this example. It was restored for one of America's collectors of great sports and racing cars, representing Chapman's Elite GT among Birdcage Maserati’s, V-12 Ferrari sports racers and the elite (if you will) of great 50's and 60's formula, sports and sports-racing cars. Nothing has been overlooked; no shortcuts have been taken in the pursuit of the best Lotus Elite. Most frequently seen in right-hand drive configuration, this Elite is left-hand drive, powered by the Coventry Climax FWE engine and beyond perfect in British Racing Green with Black interior. It will delight the most fastidious collector, not only with its appearance and attention to detail but also with its performance.

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