This Lotus Mk XV Series 3 is no longer available. Please contact us for any further information you may require.
Motorsport in the 1950s is understandably reminisced as a golden era. The development and innovation among sports cars of the period was greater than arguably in any other in the sports illustrious history. In a short space of time developments such as Fuel Injection seen on the Mercedes SLR and Disc Brakes on Jaguar's D and C-Types changed motoring (not just racing) for ever. It was this magical era that saw the greatest drivers the likes of Fangio, Moss, Clark, Scott-Brown, Hamilton, Gendebien and more (often on alternate weekends to Formula One) piloting open cockpit cars around the greatest circuits of the world, Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, Goodwood, Silverstone, Monza, Spa and the Fabled Nurburgring. There are perhaps no more iconic racing cars than those of this period, the cars were an insatiable mix of beauty, power and speed. By the end of the decade in 1959 there were five outstanding models; the Jaguar Long Nose D-Type, Lister's Knobblys and Costins all shared a common 3.8 Litre Jaguar power unit, the 3 litre Ferrari Testarossas took the 1960 Le Mans victory, and Aston Martin's DBR1 was an equal rival in the 3 Litre Class. Remarkably there was another competitor setting a similar pace to these big boys, designed in England by the genius of Colin Chapman and driven by Graham Hill amongst others; the Lotus XV.
The Lotus Fifteen was born directly from the successful Lotus XI which had established the Lotus name onto the sports racing scene. In total 270 Lotus Eleven's were built and today these cars remain desirable and effective in modern Historic Motorsport.
Unsurprisingly given its popularity in the day, 1950s Sports Racing cars remain an extremely popular grid within Historic Motorsport as we know it today and good 1950s sports cars are eligible for Blue Riband Stirling Moss Series, Le Mans Classic and the Goodwood Revival. True to period, Listers and Lotus XV's remain amongst the front running competitors.
In the case of the 15 the redesigned body allowed the driver to sit much lower as well as the obvious aerodynamic advantages. The 15 utilised a larger engine than the 11 and with it came greater performance. Chassis design was similar to its predecessor however drastic changes were made to the rear suspension and brake setup with Chapman struts and inboard brakes, both influenced from the Lotus 16 Formula 1 car. Just 27 Lotus Fifteen's were built making each example extremely desirable.
Of these 27 cars however the most effective and most desirable are the 7 "Series 3" cars introduced in 1959. Upgrades and reinforcements were made to weak areas found on the earlier cars, the front suspension was also revised and a clever one piece bonnet fitted extending from the front of the car all the way to the dashboard.
This Particular Lotus XV offered for sale exclusively by DK Engineering is chassis 627-3 – the 2nd from last produced and a superb example of this wonderful 1950s sports racer. The car was constructed in 1959 and supplied new to the well-known USA based racer Tom Fleming with a 2 litre Coventry Climax engine (as it remains today) it is also believed to be one of just two cars supplied with wire knock-off wheels giving a significant advantage when racing against cars fitted with slower to remove, 5 stud wheels.
Fleming and the XV headed straight into competition at the Famous 1959 Bahamas Speed Week and at the Nassau Trophy Road Races he placed a commendable 3rd in class behind none other than Roger Penske (who would later race in F1) and Bob Holbert (Le Mans Class Winner) and in front of both a Ferrari 500 TRC and a 250 GT SWB! Fleming's success continued with several more podiums and class wins in 1960 leading to a 3rd place overall finish in the SCCA Drivers championship.
In 1961 Fleming sold the car to another racer Mr John Willock of Long Island, New York, who continued to campaign the car across a number of SCCA events with continued success and then stored it until 1970 when the well-known English historic racer Murray Smith purchased the car when he was residing in the USA.
The Lotus passed through 2 more owners before being sold in 1997 to the Great collector Mr Hugh Taylor. Taylor immediately repatriated the car to England to join his renowned collection. Hugh retained the car for 18 years meanwhile participating in a number of historic events with great success including 1st place in at the Gentleman Drivers Trophy at Donington Park in his first outing with the car. Following Mr Taylor's retirement from racing the car passed via one other owner to its most current keeper. Under this ownership the car was totally restored by Twyman racing who are undoubtedly amongst the best in the world for Lotus restoration and race preparation. The restoration cost in the region of £75,000. – Which goes a very long way with a small Lotus! During the restoration the Twyman's discovered that the cars body is almost entirely original, the complicated front bonnet and rear bodywork showing their age and originality and the chassis seeming undamaged and original. It has since competed in a number of historic events including the GT and Sports Car Cup at Silverstone, the 2016 Le Mans Classic (where it ran 2nd Overall), 2016 and 2017 Goodwood Revivals, Spa 6 Hours and the Donnington Historic Festival.
All major components have recently been rebuilt with just 7 Hours of running on the engine, a gearbox rebuild after Le Mans 2016 and a differential rebuild this year. When racing in the USA the car ran with the 5 Speed Borg Warner T10 Gearbox which crucially means that the car benefits from the ability to utilise this strong gearbox in today's race events, (providing another significant reliability advantage over other XV's running MG or ZF gearboxes). Testament to being proven to be a front running car it placed as the 2nd fastest XV at this year's Goodwood Revival, 1.5 seconds in front of the next Lotus XV driven by current Indy Car driver Ed Jones.
This highly eligible Lotus has most recently had its FIA Historic Technical Passport freshly renewed and comes accompanied by full UK road registration. Having been maintained with no expense spared it is presented on the button ready to be used and enjoyed immediately with viewings available at our showrooms just outside London. This sale represents the opportunity to a race winning entry at the 2018 Le Mans Classic, an entry that has already been submitted.
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