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Questions about Lotus Fifteens


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 23:34

Loath though I am to start the 288th thread with Lotus in the title, I couldn't find a SPECIFIC thread about the Fifteen in the other 287. There is a recent one, but that includes Coopers and other Loti whereas my interest here is specifically the Fifteen.

Point one; the headrest behind the driver. Is it true to say that some Fifteens never had one? I just picked up a wrecked Corgi model of such a car, and I thought I would restore it to look like a Le Mans entry. It has NO headrest.

When I searched a database of images of models of Le Mans cars, I found a Lotus Fifteen, entered by Equipe Lotus France in 1958, driven by Masson and Hechard (XJH 802). The image of the model of that car has no headrest. Can anyone confirm this?

Point two; also, the model of that car has SPOKED wheels; was that likely in 1958? Otherwise the car seems to be in pretty standard Lotus colours.

As far as I can see, it appears to be the only non-headrest Fifteen ever to run at Le Mans.

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#2 jayban

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 00:01

Hi Barry

According to Dominique Pascal's 'British Cars at Le Mans' the Masson/Hechard car (a Lotus XI #56) had a French registration plate (4110 DP76). The picture shows car with headrest, can't make out if the wheels were 'spoked' but several other XI's in the race were running spoked wheels.

However at least one of the 1959 Lotus Fifteens (# 54 Taylor/Sieff) ran without a headrest (but had the knobbly style wheels.

Jeremy

#3 David Birchall

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:04

Since the headrest fairings were often removable and held on with Dzus fasteners presumably a Fifteen could be seen without the headrest but wire wheels? Sacre Blur!! etc, etc...

#4 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 07:36

Barry -

I've never seen a Lotus 15 without a headrest. As for the Corgi model, I have a couple of Lotus XI Corgis, but haven't seen a Corgi Lotus 15. Are there any models of the 15? I'd like to get one. Come to think of it, maybe Provence Moulage (sp) may have done one?

Here is a link to a photo of the Masson and Hechard Lotus from 1958. Some sources say it is a Lotus 15, but I think it is an XI. Whatever it is, it appears to have a headrest and solid wheels in the photo:

http://www.mcestoril...958/20gxg8y.jpg

As for Lotus 15s, some had spoked wheels. Here is Lew Florence's Lotus 15 at Westwood in 1960. It had been run by Paul Nau in 1959. It is chassis number 614, and I believe it is still running in England.

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Jeremy -

I think the Taylor/Sieff car in 1959 was a Lotus 17.

I'll see if I can get Bill Colson, Lotus 15 historian, to respond. He'll know!

Vince H.

#5 kaydee

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 07:37

Some Lotus Fifteens did indeed have wire spoked wheels -
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Derek Jolly's Lotus XV

#6 John Ellacott

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 07:41

The Derek Jolly Lotus 15 had/ has wire wheels as does Barry Bates 15 which currently races here in historics.
Will post photos sooooon. :wave:

#7 jayban

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:11

Jeremy -

I think the Taylor/Sieff car in 1959 was a Lotus 17.

I'll see if I can get Bill Colson, Lotus 15 historian, to respond. He'll know!

Vince H. [/B][/QUOTE]




You are right Vince.

I cross checked my sources and it appears Pascal's book has got it mislabled as a fifteen
(and I didn't look closely enough at the photo :rolleyes: )

Jeremy

#8 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:19

So, Vince, what I gather you are saying is that the Corgi model is an Eleven, right?

So I must look for a suitable subject to re-model my old wreck on - not necessarily from Le Mans.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, and so quickly! Clearly the Lotus that I quoted above has been seriously mis-modelled!

#9 hipperson

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 09:42

A friend has this car..........I am out of my depth with 15s but I believe the car attached has some good history not sure what though ?

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#10 Bill Colson

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 09:50

Vince is correct on all counts, I think.

Yes, Provence Moulage did, for a limited time, offer a Lotus 15 kit and I've been searching for one for years. I was pipped at the post for one on E-bay and am still searching. 'Will pay up to GBP 100 for a complete but unmade kit, or rather less for a made up one, unless supreme.

Barry Patterson in Oz. offers a Fifteen slot car kit, the clear blown body being generally represetative, rather than exact. Nice to have though.

All Fifteens had the head fairing and wire wheels were more common than not, even though everyone now seems to want to put cast wheels on them.

Dominique Pascal's book is a good contribution to Le Mans history but contains several errors, including switching of the chassis numbers of th etwo 1958 LM Fifteens. The 1.1/2-litre car was No. 608 which leads me, finally, to Kaydee's pictures of two Fifteens, the first of which was 608, that with the cockpit occupied, which Derek Jolly purchased post-Le Mans, 1958 and wrote off at Albert Park in December. The car wreck, though shipped back to England was scrapped. The other picture, with the bonnet open, shows the replacement car that Jolly purchased in May 1959 and shared at Le Mans with Graham Hill. That was 'snuck' into Australia as the old car repaired, to save on duties, and as it carried a substitute palte with the old car's number, it has cause confusion ever since. The car, correctly No. 626-3, survives.

I hope these comments help.

Bill C

#11 David Shaw

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:04

Is it still in the Gibson family Bill, as Blanden lists it with Grant Gibson, a brother of the unfortunate Bevan?

Blanden lists it as 626, not 626-3, although I don't doubt that you are correct.

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:13

It was, basically, Grant's inheritance I think...

He took it to England and restored it in his spare time while working as Nigel Mansell's engineer. When Nigel was looking good to get the title in 1986, he promised that he'd pay for the new body to be made for it if he did win the championship.

So when Grant saw Nigel's tyre explode on Brabham Straight, he had more than one reason to be upset.

Nevertheless he completed the job, new body and all, returning to Australia with the car in the nineties. Entering it in various events, he had to pull out of the Guyra GP because schrapnel from roadworks was doing so much damage to that highly expensive new body.

One of the 'issues' with this car over the years was the queerbox, which he established had been wrongly assembled at some time so that it required very careful selection of the gears or they would jump out of engagement. A spacer was in the wrong place or something... with that corrected it was completely reliable.

But I don't know if it continues to use Vauxhall crownwheels...

#13 D-Type

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:36

Originally posted by Barry Boor
So, Vince, what I gather you are saying is that the Corgi model is an Eleven, right?

So I must look for a suitable subject to re-model my old wreck on - not necessarily from Le Mans.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, and so quickly! Clearly the Lotus that I quoted above has been seriously mis-modelled!

Barry,
The Corgi model was definitely an Eleven. Although they called it a 'Le Mans' it was most likely based on the 'Club' or 'Sport'
Why not model Graham Hill's yellow Ford-engined car as it had no headrest. I have seen a picture of a model by MEA (I think) that shows it with a single screen - not an aero screen but curved plexiglass but not the full wrap-around of the headrest cars.

Bill,
In addition to Provence Moulage, Mikansue produced a white metal kit of the 15 in the strange scale of 1:38. But I suspect these are even further into the 'hens' teeth' category than the PM kits.

#14 Bill Colson

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 15:41

D-Type,

Thanks for the mention of the Mick & Sue Mark 15 model. I'll now search for one of those as well.

Bill

#15 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 16:12

I have a copy of Robin read's book "Colin Chapman's Lotus", and on page # 43 there is a picture of a works Lotus 15 that was campaigned in 1959, with the front and rear body work opened up . The car has wobbly wheels and a spare wobbly wheel stored upright under the head rest.

#16 cmotd

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 18:12

Don't know if this is any help - some photos of partially restored 15 taken at (wet) Silverstone Classic a couple of years ago.

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#17 Charles Helps

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 19:11

Originally posted by jayban
Hi Barry

According to Dominique Pascal's 'British Cars at Le Mans' the Masson/Hechard car (a Lotus XI #56) had a French registration plate (4110 DP76). The picture shows car with headrest, can't make out if the wheels were 'spoked' but several other XI's in the race were running spoked wheels.
...Jeremy

I think you will find that the registration was actually 4110 DP 75. When Jabby Crombac got his carte grise in France for the ex-demonstrator Lotus Mk6 in 1954 (registered 1611 H) he was given that number. 75 is the number for the Paris departement.

The same carte grise and registration number were used for Jabby's Series 1 Eleven and for his Series 2: Eleven - it was easy to change MKVI-9 to MKXI-9 on the paperwork.

I believe Jabby usually entered the French Lotus Eleven at Le Mans for his friends André Héchard and Roger Masson.

Getting back to the thread, perhaps Bill could tell us whether the pneumatic tonneau cover was a customer option from the factory or whether that conceals a Le Mans history for the chassis? The other thing I've noticed is that although Elevens often had their headrests secured by Dzus fasteners, the Fifteens I've seen have all had welded headrests, integral with the tail section - unless anyone knows any better?

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 19:22

I would suggest that they were a fixture...

Chapman has obviously built that into the design as a convenient way to cover the spare wheel. There's one photo above showing it and another post mentions the fact.

#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 20:21

Why not model Graham Hill's yellow Ford-engined car as it had no headrest.



Yes, yes, yes - great idea!

Any photos around of said vee-hickle?

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#20 Peter Morley

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 10:27

Originally posted by Barry Boor


Yes, yes, yes - great idea!

Any photos around of said vee-hickle?


Look at Coys website, it was up for auction at the Autosport show this year and there are some photos on their website.

#21 Charles Helps

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:45

OT again on the Eleven. Barry, you may be a bit disappointed by the way the Yellow Peril looks now as it has a single seater cockpit wrap round screen and headrest as raced by Ian Walker when he won the Autosport Production Sports Car championship in 1957. It also has a bulge in the bonnet for the Willment OHIV cylinder head which was not there when G. Hill raced the car.

However the car was road tested in period by by Autosport written up in the November 23, 1956 issue and by Motor Sport in their February 1957 magazine. Sports Car and Lotus Owner also tested the car but I don't have an issue date. Plenty of black and white photos in those tests. As D-Type points out, it was fitted with the cast framed Sports Windscreen - the Corgi model has the full width perspex job.

Fifteen pneumatic tonneau covers, anyone?

#22 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 13:23

Look at Coys website



I have done so and now I am even more confused. The car at Coy's DOES have a headrest; D-type said it didn't.

Whas' 'appenin?

#23 bradbury west

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 13:48

[i]Originally posted by Charles Helps
Fifteen pneumatic tonneau covers, anyone? [/B]

The original launch spec. details in the Motor mag. for the 15 showed it as centre lock wire wheels fitted with wobbly webs as an option.
The tonneau refers, no doubt, to the items fitted in the 15s and 11s at LM in '58 which were a development of Frank Costin's reputedly patented design form the 11s the previous year, with the tonneau going from the screen top to the leading top edge of the rear body at the back of the cockpit, perhaps something to do with changes to cockpit dimensions' regs.
For '58, as a means of stopping them flapping in the breeze at high speed, a mk 2 version was used which had fluted pockets sewn in , which were then inflated, rather akin to a small li-lo airbed, offering a more rigid surface to the tonneau, and expected greater aero efficiency.
Jaguar, of course, had used a sloping tonneau previously on the D Types, IIRC.
Roger Lund.

#24 kaydee

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 14:04

Originally posted by bradbury west

The original launch spec. details in the Motor mag. for the 15 showed it as centre lock wire wheels fitted with wobbly webs as an option.
The tonneau refers, no doubt, to the items fitted in the 15s and 11s at LM in '58 which were a development of Frank Costin's reputedly patented design form the 11s the previous year, with the tonneau going from the screen top to the leading top edge of the rear body at the back of the cockpit, perhaps something to do with changes to cockpit dimensions' regs.
For '58, as a means of stopping them flapping in the breeze at high speed, a mk 2 version was used which had fluted pockets sewn in , which were then inflated, rather akin to a small li-lo airbed, offering a more rigid surface to the tonneau, and expected greater aero efficiency.
Jaguar, of course, had used a sloping tonneau previously on the D Types, IIRC.
Roger Lund.


Roger,
The "fluted" type tonneau is clearly shown in the second photo of Post #5 on this thread.........
Kevin

#25 David McKinney

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 14:14

Originally posted by Barry Boor

I have done so and now I am even more confused. The car at Coy's DOES have a headrest; D-type said it didn't.
Whas' 'appenin?

Don't worry about how it looks now - it didn't have a headrest (or wraparound windscreen) in the day ;)

#26 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 14:36

Good! Now all I need is the model and I can start 'restoring'. I would like an 'in period' picture, though.

#27 bradbury west

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 14:38

[i]Originally posted by kaydee
Roger,
The "fluted" type tonneau is clearly shown in the second photo of Post #5 on this thread.........
Kevin [/B]

Kevin, thanks.
A picture says 1,000 words. Best shot I have seen of the fluted cover. Usually they are in b/w in the old magazines or books. Now all I need to do is to remember who made them; I cannot find it quickly in the Lotus books.
RL

#28 Charles Helps

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 16:47

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Good! Now all I need is the model and I can start 'restoring'. I would like an 'in period' picture, though.

Jay Sloane's website is not a bad place to start. The Motor Sport road test of the Lotus sports (you will find it under contemporary articles at the bottom of the web page) shows Graham Hill's car before Ian Walker changed the top bodywork.

#29 Charles Helps

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 17:46

and here is NGH in the Yellow Peril Eleven on Jay Sloane's site under #19 Sports class

#30 D-Type

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 00:06

Barry,
Here's a picture of the MEA Model of NGH's Lotus Eleven

Bill,

Here's a picture of The Mikansue kit so you know what it looks like.

#31 Barry Boor

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 09:36

Thanks, D, and to everyone who has chipped in with information etc. :up:

It's only a Corgi model so I cannot be too particular but the pictures from Charles and on the Motor Sport article, i.e. BEFORE the wrap around screen and headrest arrived are the ones I shall be following.

#32 M bennett

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:05

As I recall, and I believe Derek Jolly told me too, the inflated cockpit cover was made by LILO the airbed people. Mike B

#33 Bill Colson

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 14:34

D-Type

Thanks for the Mickandsue Mark 15 photo. I can't make out what series is stated on the box. Would you please confirm?

For wobbly-web enthusiasts: There are now more Fifteens with wobbly webs than had them originally. The majority of all cars, by one, were normally equipped with wire wheels. Having stated that, the early 1958 (non-LM) works cars, sometimes ran on wobblies, depending upon the event. It is easy enough to change front and rear hubs. As a generality, wire wheels were use by the works for longer events and on quite a few customer cars, simply for cheapness.

The inflatable tonneau cover, as Mike Bennett writes, was manufactured by the makers of Lilo inflatable beds, C.B. Cow Limited, whose wider-known product was 'Cow Gum', a general-purpose, latex-based adhesive, used in many offices and by upholsterers. Cow disappeared into one of the German chemical manufacturing groups quite a few years back. Without looking it up, Bayer, I believe. The inflatable tonneau was conceived for works cars, particularly for Le Mans, both 1958 and '59, but no doubt Chapman would have sold them to anyone with cash. I would say that except for perhaps for the last car built, they were neither actually supplied or used on non-works machines.

Bill

#34 D-Type

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 19:49

Bill,

I'm afraid all I know is what I found on that website.

Duncan

#35 Bill Colson

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:28

D-Type,

I asked the question because the series number didn't look like it might be a 3, yet the engine bulge of the model is that of a Series 3 car, as given by one 'restorer' to three different cars to which it didn't belong.

Bill

#36 David McKinney

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 16:47

Sorry to drag this thread up again
I knew when people were discussing spare-wheel stowage I had a photo - and have now found it
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#37 Bill Colson

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 14:13

David,

That's a very nice picture. With some laborious checking, I should be able to identify (from visible details) which of the Fifteens it actually is. But to make the task a little easier, perhaps you can tell where and when the photgraph was taken, please?

Bill

#38 David Beard

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 14:38

Originally posted by Bill Colson
David,

That's a very nice picture. With some laborious checking, I should be able to identify (from visible details) which of the Fifteens it actually is. But to make the task a little easier, perhaps you can tell where and when the photgraph was taken, please?

Bill


I would guess it's the David Piper car....I spy a BP sticker.

#39 marchof73

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 15:50

Dizzy Addicott Lotus 15 Buick.As a teenager in the 60,s I used to cyce to Caste Combe.One of my heroes was Dizzy and his Lotus Buick,and his battles with the Attila.He was always the gentleman and he and mechanic John Dabbs would answer al my naive Questions.
Years later I met Dizz while working at British Aerospace in Bristol.In short order he lent me an 850cc championship winning Mini,which I used in sprints and hillclimbs-fun days.
Does anyone know where his lotus is now,last I heard was that it had been rebuilt by a guy called Graham Capel in the 80,s,although I seem to remember some originality questions?

Back on course,I have a Mikeansue 15 model{number 62 competition} which I,m prepared to sell.It is painted,can be stripped,is missing screen,has original box in good condition,email fo details

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#40 bradbury west

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 16:32

David McK will no doubt put me right, but I suspect that it is at Levin in 1963 - the code on the photo may be the giveaway.
Roger Lund.

#41 David McKinney

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 18:04

Ten out of ten Roger
Yes, March 1963 - end of the season, and Barry Porter's first appearance with 3-621

#42 David Beard

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 18:47

Originally posted by David McKinney
Ten out of ten Roger
Yes, March 1963 - end of the season, and Barry Porter's first appearance with 3-621


Oi, I'm right too then! The Piper car is the Dizzy car!

#43 Bill Colson

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 12:12

Definitely 621-3, as confirmed by number of sidescreen fasteners, Series 3 front body and bulge, stripe atop engine bulge, light colour, etc.

I have it that on Saturday March 23, 1963, at the Levin Championship Meeting, Barry E. Porter, a St. Andrews farmer, took the Fifteen, race no: 81, to second place in the Sports Car Scratch Race, but he failed to secure any place, and probably did not finish, in either the Sports Car Handicap or the Levin Championship races that day. If any one has more information, I'd be glad to hear.

Bill

#44 Bill Colson

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 12:20

David,

The Dizzy car is the ex-Piper, ex-Team Lotus (Cliff Allison) car, an early one which was works modified later in 1958 and after David Piper'sa crash in the 1959 TT was partly re-chassied in Series 3 guise, with a one piece rather than two-piece front bodywork. It was owned by Graham Capel, twice, before Tony Hildebrand acquired and raced it. Ken Rogers bought it in the 1980s and has restored it to Climax power. It appears in the recent photograph posting, taken at Silverstone.

Bill

#45 David McKinney

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 15:10

Porter was fifth in the sportscar handicap and sixth in the Levin Championship libre race against single-seater competition. I can also say, though you didn't ask ( :) ) that he was also sixth, after a spin, in a later libre race on the programme

You may also care to check your emails

#46 275 GTB-4

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:19

and in Australia...

Posted Image

#47 bradbury west

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 09:46

[i]Originally posted by Bill Colson
The Dizzy car is the ex-Piper, ex-Team Lotus (Cliff Allison) car, ........Bill [/B]

For anyone wishing to learn more about the Addicott car in period, Brooklands Books Lotus Cars; Gold Portfolio 1953 to 1965 has the Motor Racing Aug '62 track test of the car, plus detailed period history, by the excellent John Blunsden, along with other 15 articles. The book also provides more than 60 further period articles and track tests on the various other models, always a useful facility to have things written in period IMHO. Usual disclaimer.
Roger Lund.

#48 Rob Ryder

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:19

I'll bump/hijack Barry's thread with my own question..

Anyone have a race/date/location for this picture? I can't find any reference to Graham in #37.

Posted Image (copyright Photo: Karl Günter Peters, P-3 Motorsport Photos. )

Rob

edit : photo copyright added

#49 Stephen W

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 11:47

Originally posted by Rob Ryder
I'll bump/hijack Barry's thread with my own question..

Anyone have a race/date/location for this picture? I can't find any reference to Graham in #37.

Posted Image (copyright unknown :blush: )

Rob


Looks like the Nurburgring to me. Possibly the 1000Kms race? :wave:

#50 M bennett

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 11:53

The exact same picture appears in the Graham Hill Scrapbook page 29 with the caption "- - - round the Karussel during the sports car and gran turismo race" German GP 1958
Regards Mike B