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  Article Image gallery (7) 48/1 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1967 - 1968
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 25, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIntroduced at the start of the 1967 season, the Type 48 was the first Lotus designed for the newly introduced 1.6-litre Formula 2 class. Designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe, it was effectively a downsized version of the company's contemporary Formula 1 and Indy cars. The Type 48 was also the first Lotus to feature the Cosworth FVA engine, which effectively was one half of the upcoming DFV V8 earmarked for the Type 49 F1 due to debut later that year.

Whereas the previous 'lower Formula' Lotus single seaters had used the bathtub style monocoque chassis, the Type 48 featured a fully enclosed monocoque. This was constructed from aluminium sheets with steel bulkheads fore and aft. Bolted to the rear bulkhead was a steel tubular subframe, which housed the FVA engine and ZF gearbox. The front suspension featured top rockers that actuated in-board mounted springs and dampers. A conventional, multi-link setup was used at the rear.

The Cosworth developed and built FVA engine combined a four-cylinder block derived from the Ford Cortina with a bespoke aluminium head. The acronym FVA referred to the four valves per cylinders found in the engine's new head. The valves were operated by twin overhead camshafts, which were driven from the crankshaft by gears. Equipped with Lucas fuel injection, the dry sump four cylinder engine was good for around 220 hp.

Although ultimately intended as a customer car, the Lotus 48 was exclusively campaigned by Team Lotus during the 1967 with privateers relying on uprated Type 41s. The new Lotus proved competitive but was faced with the even more impressive Brabham BT23. The Type 48 would win four F2 races in 1967 with Jim Clark scoring three of these. The fourth was scored by Jackie Oliver in the combined F1/F2 race at the the Nürburgring. Remarkably, this was the English racer's very first outing at the daunting track.

Lotus continued with the Type 48 in 1968 and once again struggled against the dominant Brabhams. Sadly, Jim Clark lost his life driving the Formula 2 Lotus at the Hockenheimring in April. Eventually only four examples were built as customers preferred the cars produced by Lotus' rivals.

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  Article Image gallery (7) 48/1 Specifications