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Thread: Lotus Eleven 1956

  1. #1
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    Lotus Eleven 1956

    The Eleven was designed by Colin Chapman and fitted with a sleek body designed by aerodynamicist Frank Costin. Its standard version, dubbed Le Mans, was fitted with a 1500 cc (92ci) Coventry Climax engine mounted in the front of a tubular space frame and featured a De Dion rear axle and Girling disc brakes. Fully loaded, the car weighed only about 1,000 lb (450 kg). Versions for a 1100 cc (67ci) Climax engine (Club) and a 1172 cc (72ci) Ford engine (Sport) were also produced; both featured a live rear axle and drum brakes. Some versions of the Le Mans were fitted with a closed body with gullwing doors to meet GT specifications.

    Despite the wide variety of engines installed, the car was primarily designed to compete in the 1100 cc class where it was one of the most successful cars during the mid- to late-1950s. In 1956, An Eleven, modified by Costin with a bubble canopy over the cockpit, was driven by Stirling Moss to a class world record of 143 mph (230 km/h) for a lap at Monza. Several class victories at Le Mans and Sebring followed, and the Eleven became Lotus' most successful race car design.

    In 1957, the Eleven underwent a major design change, including a new front suspension and improvements to the drivetrain. Although officially called Eleven Series 2, these late models are sometimes informally referred to as Lotus 13s, since they were produced between the 12 and 14 models and the 13 designation was not used by Lotus.
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    Lotus Eleven #2
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    Lotus Eleven #3
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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    Chassis #211, works entered in the 1956 Le Mans 24-Hour race.

    This Cliff Allison/Keith Hall car - running as race number '35' completed 89 laps before being sidelined by a crash. "As Cliff Allison was hurtling down the Mulsanne Straight that night a huge german Shepherd dog suddenly appeared right in his path. He aimed right to avoid it, only for the unfortunate animal to change its mind and dodge back right into the path of the Lotus. Team Lotus mechanic Ernie Unger recalled: "It was quite misty and Cliff said the impact was so severe it threw the car into a high speed spin, thankfully straight down the road. Cliff told me he laid down across the seats so as not to get his head knocked off if he hit anything, and when he got down he noticed the headlights were still working and laughingly described the moment as lying down in a high-speed lighthouse watching the scenery going round and round..."
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    Chassis #211
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  6. #6
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    Lotus 11 #211 just sold at Bonhams for 152,700. Looked for LeMans pics (post canine encounter) to no avail. Here's under the bridge in 1956.

    Plus some detail shots provided by Wouter... different car.
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    Last edited by csl177; 09-06-2012 at 09:02 PM. Reason: removed photo, poor quality
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    I am partial to the looks of this car. It is oddly appealing to me. I am not usual into these small displacement old sportscars but this is damn fine.

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    Its interesting to me that this was built before the Jaguar D-Type.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    I am partial to the looks of this car. It is oddly appealing to me. I am not usual into these small displacement old sportscars but this is damn fine.
    I love these cars. They are low enough to give Quiggs wetdreams and are automotive minimalism at its finest.
    They have a purity about them that their larger-engined counterparts cannot match.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum9987 View Post
    Its interesting to me that this was built before the Jaguar D-Type.
    actually it was designed for the 1956 season and the D-types came about in 1954
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  11. #11
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    A bit OT, henk, when did you first start following racing? How did you get into cars in the first place?

    You lived through a lot of good racing in Europe.

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