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  Lotus 15 Climax

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1958 - 1960
Numbers built:27
Designed by:Colin Chapman
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBased on the hugely successful Lotus 11, the 15 offered Lotus customers the opportunity to race larger engines. The FPF engines available for the 15 ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 litre. To allow for them to be fitted under the low profile bodywork the Coventry Climax engines were mounted almost horizontally. On regular cars the engine was tilted only 28 degrees and on the Le Mans cars the engines were mounted even flatter at 17 degrees.

Although the design followed the lines of the 11, penned by Frank Costin, the 15 was designed by Colin Chapman and coachbuilders Williams & Pritchard. Under the streamlined body the biggest change compared to its predecessors was the rear suspension. This incorporated the Chapman strut, first found on the Lotus 12 single seater, making the 15 the first Lotus sportscar with fully independent rear suspension.

In racing the 15's pace was more than a match for its competitors. On crucial moments it was however let down by poor reliability. At the 1958 Le Mans practice Graham Hill posted a fifth fastest time with a 2 litre 15, outpacing the 3-litre Ferraris.

The Lotus 15s featured are still being competed in historic events all around the world. They are pictured at the 2002 Le Mans Classic and the Historic Spa Six Hours race of the same year.

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  Article Image gallery (39) Specifications User Comments (2)