1968 Lotus Type 51

Formula Ford was conceived in the UK in the Sixties to create an entry-level series to train new drivers in open wheel single-seaters at Geoff Clarke's Motor Racing Stables -- a driving school based at Brands Hatch. The school started with Formula Three cars which were the ideal size and setup but proved to be expensive in the hands of novices day after day. To create a more reasonably priced and easily serviced alternative the school took a Formula Three chassis and fitted it with a standard Ford Cortina crossflow cylinder head pushrod overhead valve 4-cylinder 1,599cc engine, along with steel wheels and road tires. It proved to be successful not only in the school environment but also a cost-effective way for novice drivers to enter racing. Given a few rules and restrictions within the basic concept it became Formula Ford and, with heavy backing from Ford and Lotus, the pre-eminent starter series in the Sixties and Seventies. Power comes from a stock dimension Cortina engine tuned with camshaft, a dual choke Weber carburetor and tube header that developed about 110 brake horsepower. The transaxle is a 4-speed Renault R8 Type 330. Brakes are Girling discs on all four wheels. The first car conceived and built as a purpose-built Formula Ford came, not surprisingly, from Lotus, the Type 51 like the really beautifully restored 1968 model offered here. Finished in British Racing Green bright yellow racing stripe and wheels, the cockpit is upholstered in red. It has a racing logbook going back to the 1970's and has been brought to modern standards of safety during restoration with Willans 4-point belts, an onboard fire suppression system. The restoration is meticulous, complete and impressive in its attention to details. Finishes and materials are all of the highest quality and it is fresh and unused, showing zero wear on the brakes, or anything else for that matter. Weight with driver, fluids and fuel is less than 1,200 pounds; 110+ horsepower makes it emphatically fast, an ideal introduction to vintage racing in a well-populated class with a car that will be the class of the field in the paddock, and is capable of equaling that performance on the track.

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