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  Lotus 16 Climax
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1958 - 1960
Numbers built:8
Designed by:Colin Chapman
Predecessor:Lotus 12 Climax
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn an incredible short period Colin Chapman's Lotus had evolved from a kit-car builder to a very serious manufacturer. Its nimble sports cars had scored many victories, including class victories at Le Mans. However to be really taken seriously Lotus had to build a competitive single seater, preferably a Formula 1 racer. Lotus' first single seater, the 12, scored some promising victories, but in F1 it never was competitive.

In 1958 launched their second single seater. Designed more specifically for F1 purposes, the 16 looked very similar to the hugely successful Vanwall, Chapman had designed for Tony Vandervell in 1956. The ultra-low 16 was designed around a conventional tubular frame and featured all-round independent suspension. The rear suspension featured the 'Chapman strut', first found on the Lotus 12. Engines were mounted in various positions, but always slightly off-set to allow the propshaft to run left of the driver. Only one of the 16s built was constructed to full F1 specifications, with the 2.5 litre FPF engine under the long hood.

Cliff Allison held a promising second place with the F1 spec Lotus 16 on the 1958 Nürburgring Grand Prix, but he was forced to abandon after a ruptured radiator. The best result of the 16 was a dismal 6th in the Italian Grand Prix of the same year. This was not a proper reflection of the 16's capabilities and its outright speed showed Lotus was on the right way. In 1960 it was replaced by the mid-engined 18.

The featured example is pictured at the 2004 Oldtimer Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. Underlining the car's capability, Spanish driver Joaquin Folch-Rossinol took the victory in both heats of the Historic Grand Prix race.

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  Article Image gallery (32) Specifications