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  Lotus 15 Climax

  Article Image gallery (139) Chassis (4) Specifications User Comments (5)  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1958 - 1960
Numbers built:27
Designed by:Colin Chapman
Successor:Lotus 19 Climax
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 29, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe Type 15 proved quick straight out of the box but also suffered from reliability woes. Team Lotus prepared two cars for Le Mans, one powered by the 2-litre FPF for Cliff Allison and Graham Hill and another by the 1.5 litre engine for Americans Jay Chamberlain and Pete Lovely. Interestingly, the engines were now only angled at 17° to cure the lubrication issues caused by the original installation. Hill was a startling fifth fastest in practice, beating many of the three-litre engined Ferraris. Sadly, the two-litre engine expired early in the race while the other Lotus retired following an accident.

Based on the Le Mans cars, Lotus introduced the Series 2 version of the Type 15 before the end of the 1958 season. It featured the more upright engine installation and accordingly a bulge on the engine cover to clear the FPF. Lotus also offered an optional BMC four-speed gearbox with the larger engine options as it was more capable of coping with the FPF's torque. By 1959, a Series 3 was introduced, which featured a further stiffened chassis and revised front suspension with reversed upper wishbones and a narrower track. By the end of production in 1960, it is believed that 27 examples were constructed.

As mentioned earlier, the Lotus 15 was very quick and regularly humiliated much larger engined rivals but usually only in practice as poor reliability remained an issue. Among the highlights in the Type 15's career was a second overall for Roy Salvadori in a support race for the 1958 British Grand Prix, while Hill won the following year with a works car. Many of the surviving cars are still raced today and regular winners in historic events around the world.

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  Article Image gallery (139) Chassis (4) Specifications User Comments (5)