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Lotus 12: Australia to the FoS


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#1 M bennett

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 13:07

After 52 years Lotus 12 chassis No 353 is returning to the UK to take part in the Lotus celebration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car is one of two that took part in Lotus' first GP at Monaco in 1958 where it was driven by Graham Hill. the other Lotus 12, chassis No 357, in that race was driven by Cliff Allison. Graham went on to drive 353 at the 1958 Dutch and Belgian GP before he moved over to the Lotus 16. These Monaco cars survive today after they both spent many years unused and in storage.
The car passed from Team Lotus to John Fisher in Portsmouth. In 1959 Frank Gardner arrived in the UK from Australia, buying the car from John after a demonstration by Bruce Halford. After a few brief outings it was shipped back to Australia in 1960 where it has been ever since. It lay unused for some 27 years in New South Wales due to a failed crown wheel and pinion which is unique to the car. My friend Don Asser and I acquired the car in 1991 and we returned it to its former glory over four years.
During the painting process we discovered the NO 2 centre punched in all the body panels which identified the car as the one driven by Denis Jenkinson on public roads in Hampshire on Christmas Day 1957. This secret jaunt started from The Phoenix Hotel in Hartley Wintney and was witnessed by Colin Chapman, Bill Boddy and Merv Therriault.
Merv, a Canadian mechanic at Team Lotus, had nothing better on offer for Christmas Day than to go to The Phoenix and start and warm up the car ready for Denis to drive. In a wonderful touch Merv, now aged 83, is coming over from Vancouver to mechanic on the car again at the FOS.
I collected so much information on the car over the years, meeting every previous owner or their direct descendent, that in 2006 the whole story was put in a self published book detailing the car's life. "Lotus 12 ChassisNo 353 The History". The book runs to some 160 pages in colour. Qantas luggage limits allowing I will squeeze a few copies in my luggage.
The car is one of only two cars coming over from Australia for the FOS, please call by and see us during the event. I have asked my friend David Beard if he would kindly add a couple of photographs to this post.
Mike Bennett Adelaide Australia

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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 13:14

Excellent news, Mike. I look forward to seeing you and the car at Goodwood.

#3 Barry Boor

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 13:14

I really look forward to see both you and the car in a few week's time, Mike.

#4 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 15:24

I would also add that Mike's book is well worth buying by anybody interested in these cars.

#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 20:04

I would also add that Mike's book is well worth buying by anybody interested in these cars.


Seconded - with knobs on. Fine job.

DCN

#6 David Beard

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 20:16

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Great to hear Merv will be there, Mike!

Edited by David Beard, 05 June 2012 - 20:17.


#7 bradbury west

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 20:36

Seconded - with knobs on. Fine job.
DCN

Ever the talented wordsmith, Doug. I couldn't agree more with you and Roger. An excellent dedicated single car history.
Roger Lund

#8 Gatmo

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 20:39

I was lucky enough to have seen Cliff Allison and his car close up as he undertook a MotorSport magazine track test at my place of work [Mallory Park] a few years ago. A beautiful little car.

#9 GMACKIE

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 21:29

Is that the same car that David Holyoake had 'tucked away' in the loft, at CC Tyres, Camden?

Scrubbed up well, didn't it? :clap:

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 23:45

The car looks fabulous! Always one of my favourite Lotii.
I had lunch with Merv Therriault on Sunday and he is looking forward to the event.

#11 john medley

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 00:12

Yes, Greg, that is the former David Holyoake car, perhaps with MGA gearbox. He raced it once or twice in Historics. Did Gary Bergman have it for a while, too?
Looks great. Well done, Mike.

#12 M bennett

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 00:15

The full ownership of the car through the years:
Team Lotus to John Fisher to Frank Gardner/Len Deaton of Sydney Australia then to Joe Hills to David Conlon/Ian Stewart to David Conlon to David Holyoake to M Bennett/Don Asser to M Bennett
The pictures posted on the Frank Gardner thread came from the Len Deaton archive kindly provided by Rik Deaton
So yes it is the car that was stored for many years in the tyre store in Camden NSW.
Luckily it survived with its original chassis, alloy bodywork, suspension, radiator, 5 speed sequential gearbox, fibre glass fuel tank in the tail, wheels seat etc

Th car driven by Cliff Allison at Mallory for Motor Sport was in fact chassis No 359 the ex Ivor Bueb car not his "Old Banger" chassis No 357 which is now being raced in UK by Nick Rossi
Chassis No 357 lay dismantled for many years in Farnham Surrey
Thanks Dave for posting the pictures
Mike B

#13 terry mcgrath

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 00:21

mike,
I noticed the bit about the book "Lotus 12 ChassisNo 353 The History".
I would be keen to buy a copy if you can email me
thanks terry
tmcgrath@bigpond.com
western australia

#14 Gary C

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:23

Yes, I'd be interested in a copy, too. I'm in the UK but won't be at the FoS.

#15 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:56

The car looks fabulous! Always one of my favourite Lotii.
I had lunch with Merv Therriault on Sunday and he is looking forward to the event.


Saw Merv today. Yes, he is excited.

Vince H.

#16 hipperson

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 20:31

I have the book too..............it was gifted to me via an Ozzie friend Peter Murray recently retired Editor of the fanzine..'Lotus Notes'
A wonderful personal tome that I immediately showed my friend Philip Stacey brother of Alan sadly killed in an F1 Lotus at Spa 1960.

I will be at FOS on the Friday Mike...will say 'g'day'

Edited by hipperson, 06 June 2012 - 20:32.


#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 21:40

Chassis No 357 lay dismantled for many years in Farnham Surrey


Umm, I think actually a mixture of Aldershot, just adjacent to the north-east, and the village of Bentley, nearby to the west.

DCN


#18 asapiro

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 22:04

a public thank you for supplying me with chassis drawings years ago, when your restoration project was in it's early stages

exciting news about Goodwood

will be too far away to attend this year (Florida) and I will miss it

my scale project has not prgressed as far as your restoration - but I have actually begun the body carvings and have a complete, scratchbuilt, engine

would love to see some photos posted here of the car at Goodwood, with some photos of the completed engine bay




After 52 years Lotus 12 chassis No 353 is returning to the UK to take part in the Lotus celebration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car is one of two that took part in Lotus' first GP at Monaco in 1958 where it was driven by Graham Hill. the other Lotus 12, chassis No 357, in that race was driven by Cliff Allison. Graham went on to drive 353 at the 1958 Dutch and Belgian GP before he moved over to the Lotus 16. These Monaco cars survive today after they both spent many years unused and in storage.
The car passed from Team Lotus to John Fisher in Portsmouth. In 1959 Frank Gardner arrived in the UK from Australia, buying the car from John after a demonstration by Bruce Halford. After a few brief outings it was shipped back to Australia in 1960 where it has been ever since. It lay unused for some 27 years in New South Wales due to a failed crown wheel and pinion which is unique to the car. My friend Don Asser and I acquired the car in 1991 and we returned it to its former glory over four years.
During the painting process we discovered the NO 2 centre punched in all the body panels which identified the car as the one driven by Denis Jenkinson on public roads in Hampshire on Christmas Day 1957. This secret jaunt started from The Phoenix Hotel in Hartley Wintney and was witnessed by Colin Chapman, Bill Boddy and Merv Therriault.
Merv, a Canadian mechanic at Team Lotus, had nothing better on offer for Christmas Day than to go to The Phoenix and start and warm up the car ready for Denis to drive. In a wonderful touch Merv, now aged 83, is coming over from Vancouver to mechanic on the car again at the FOS.
I collected so much information on the car over the years, meeting every previous owner or their direct descendent, that in 2006 the whole story was put in a self published book detailing the car's life. "Lotus 12 ChassisNo 353 The History". The book runs to some 160 pages in colour. Qantas luggage limits allowing I will squeeze a few copies in my luggage.
The car is one of only two cars coming over from Australia for the FOS, please call by and see us during the event. I have asked my friend David Beard if he would kindly add a couple of photographs to this post.
Mike Bennett Adelaide Australia



#19 M bennett

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 14:00

Yes indeed Gary Berman was involved with the car, he drove the car for David Conlon the owner at the time. David owned the car when he ran the BP Service Station in Silverwater Sydney. Gary Bergman also raced a 48-215 Holden for David. I traced Gary to Denver Colorado where he runs two tyre stores. In 2004, when back in Australia Gary met up with the car again
Regarding the use of an MGA gearbox, to clarify this two Lotus 12 cars came to Australia, #351 and #353.
#351 had it survived would be a real piece of Lotus history, it was the first Lotus single seater to turn a wheel. It was built from new with an MG Magnette gearbox with a stepped down special rear diff unit in the tail. It was sold new to Ernie Tadgell of Australia. It was imported into Australia in the belly of a cropdusting aircraft which somehow bypassed a few customs officers. Thereafter it was known as Sabakat. After blowing its engine it was fitted with a Lycoming aircraft engine crashing and burning at Lowood Queensland in 1960. It was totally destroyed, however Graham Howard with the skills of Tony Caldersmith, made a replica of Sabakat which still exists in Australia today
#353 always had its 5 speed sequential gearbox but when the crown wheel and pinion failed and could not be replaced; an attempt was made during David Holyoakes ownership to fit a VW transaxle in the tail, but its installation was never completed.
Mike B

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#20 GMACKIE

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:02

It would have been mid '80s when I saw quite a bit of #353, when I lived near Camden. Even though there were plenty of 'projects' on my plate [Jolus FJ, 1923 Peugeot 175, SS 100 etc.], the Lotus was very attractive. My half-hearted attempts to obtain the car were not successful, and now that I have seen the photos, I feel glad. I believe that no-one, myself included, could have done a better job of restoring #353 Lotus than that. Top Marks!

Cheers,

Greg

#21 bradbury west

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:35

Talking of Lotus 12s, this photograph was part of a batch offered on e bay earlier in the year, copyright unknown, advertised by George Wall. I will delete it if it is felt incorrectly posted.
Aintree 200 meeting in 1958. It looks like Allison rather than NGH so is probably 357.
Image deleted
Roger Lund

edit; click image for larger size photograph

Edited by bradbury west, 09 June 2012 - 14:40.


#22 David McKinney

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 05:27

Aintree 200 meeting in 1958. It looks like Allison rather than NGH so is probably 357.

Agreed

#23 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 05:49

There were 18 Coopers in that race at Aintree. I wonder which one that is behind Cliff. It looks a bit like Tony Brooks to me.

#24 Jean L

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 06:20

Aintree 200 meeting yes but in 1958 or 1959 ?

#25 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 06:42

Definitely 1958. There was only one 12 in 1959 and that was Denis Taylor's car, and that had a high tail.

#26 Roger Clark

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:02

I think it's Graham Hill, not Cliff Allison.

#27 David McKinney

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:08

My vote's for Allison :)

#28 David Beard

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:14

I think it's Graham Hill, not Cliff Allison.


Are you sure?

#29 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:17

Yes indeed Gary Berman was involved with the car, he drove the car for David Conlon the owner at the time. David owned the car when he ran the BP Service Station in Silverwater Sydney. Gary Bergman also raced a 48-215 Holden for David. I traced Gary to Denver Colorado where he runs two tyre stores. In 2004, when back in Australia Gary met up with the car again
Regarding the use of an MGA gearbox, to clarify this two Lotus 12 cars came to Australia, #351 and #353.
#351 had it survived would be a real piece of Lotus history, it was the first Lotus single seater to turn a wheel. It was built from new with an MG Magnette gearbox with a stepped down special rear diff unit in the tail. It was sold new to Ernie Tadgell of Australia. It was imported into Australia in the belly of a cropdusting aircraft which somehow bypassed a few customs officers. Thereafter it was known as Sabakat. After blowing its engine it was fitted with a Lycoming aircraft engine crashing and burning at Lowood Queensland in 1960. It was totally destroyed, however Graham Howard with the skills of Tony Caldersmith, made a replica of Sabakat which still exists in Australia today
#353 always had its 5 speed sequential gearbox but when the crown wheel and pinion failed and could not be replaced; an attempt was made during David Holyoakes ownership to fit a VW transaxle in the tail, but its installation was never completed.
Mike B

Where did you find a crown and pinion? In those days one would have thought they were all proprietry parts.

#30 Barry Boor

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:21

I can see Roger's point - #16 was supposedly Hill; #17 was Allison - but it does look like Allison.

Then again, when did the London Rowing Club helmet first appear? Graham certainly had it at Monaco four weeks later.

Zooming that picture up, I think I can see some white on the helmet and close up it does look like NGH.

Hands up all those people who dared doubt Mr. Clark. Shame on you!

Edited by Barry Boor, 08 June 2012 - 08:25.


#31 David Beard

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 11:13

Hands up all those people who dared doubt Mr. Clark. Shame on you!


I only asked if he was sure! He will be correct, of course...

#32 M bennett

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 11:41

The gearbox for the Lotus 12 was a unique design and a major challenge for Lotus. It was a five speed sequential gearbox with a reverse. The hard steel components for the gearbox were made for Lotus by ZF in Germany, in fact Keith Duckworth's first overseas visit was to ZF to oversee the ZF component's manufacture. The gearbox was also used in some early Lotus 15s
The LSD carried a unique crown wheel and pinion with a large hypoid offset. This was necessary to get the prop shaft below the driver's seat . Th rear universal joint is right under the drivers seat held in a safety cage. On wag noted that if the UJ broke the driver gets to join the Vienna Boys Choir.
David Holyoake told us that he and his brother drove the car with its failing crown wheel and pinion until it would move no more. The remains of the crown wheel with the car attest to this. Attempts were made by David back in the 1970s to get a replacement from ZF without success.
In around 1984 Bill Friend in the UK had a small batch of these CW&P made and we acquired the last one he had spare.
Currently thre is another run of CW&P being planned for the handful of Lotus 12 owners in the world. It is the one spare part woth keeping on the shalf as they seem to get made once every 30 years!
Keith Duckworth made a significant contribution to making the gearbox reliable, his positive stop gearchange worked first time as well as his fabricated "sump" around the crown wheel which holds the oil in close proximity.
Initailly the gearbox was planned to be fully dry sump but in Team Lotus hands the front gearcase was closed off and remained 'wet,' the dry sump pump being used only squirt oil oto the CW&P. The scavenge and pressure pump is the engine oil pump off a Velocette MSS
Mike B

#33 Richard Townley

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:00

Gary Bergman

By chance I first met my good friend Gary Bergman at Malalla in 2004 when I was over in SA to race the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special and Gary was there to see the restored Lotus 12.
We met, not because of the race cars, but due both of us owning Audi ur-quattros. Gary has an '83 US spec. 10 valve urq and I have a '91 urq 20 valve.
At the time Gary's Meadow Creek Tire business was the Nokian tire distributor in Denver and helped my company, Roof Carrier Systems, establish our new Nokian winter tyre business here in Australia, http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

During a later trip to Melbourne Gary was delighted to obtain a copy of John Medley's Bathurst Book which detailed some his race exploits with his FX Holden in the early Bathurst days.
Gary continues to run his Meadow Creek Tire business in Vail and Frisco and is still racing, finishing in the top end of the field racing, can I say in an un-special, class leading Audi 90 at the http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/ meeting in Denver last weekend.

gary's contact address is tyreguru@comcast.net , I am sure he would like some contacts from his old racing mates.

#34 David McKinney

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 15:31

Then again, when did the London Rowing Club helmet first appear? Graham certainly had it at Monaco four weeks later.

He was using it at least as early as 1956...


#35 bradbury west

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 16:39

AFAIR, and looking through various books, Allison normally ran with a visor whereas NGH had goggles so those of you with higher resolution facilities might be able to clarify. Certainly From Fells to Ferrari, GG's excellent tome, has Allison slated as no 17 for Aintree. When posting the shot I was more concerned with making it available on a relevant thread.
Roger Lund

#36 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:37

A thought occurs; the Lotus looks superb with the yellow wheels but I'm wondering if it ever raced with yellow wheels in period.

#37 David McKinney

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:15

Prettty sure not, or not by the works anyway. The only colour photos I've seen of the 12s and 16s in 1958 and 1959 show the wheels to be black

#38 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 11:42

If we are being super pedantic, Theme Lotus shows several pictures of 16s in 1959 with light coloured (surely yellow) wheels, as early in the season as Zandvoort.

#39 bradbury west

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 14:38

By chance I came across this shot of a 12 on e bay a few weeks back. Click the image for a larger view
and this of a 16 at Aintree
Edit; Images deleted.
Copyrights unknown, used for educational purposes.
Roger Lund

Edited by bradbury west, 09 June 2012 - 17:25.


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#40 David McKinney

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 15:09

If we are being super pedantic, Theme Lotus shows several pictures of 16s in 1959 with light coloured (surely yellow) wheels, as early in the season as Zandvoort.

OK, maybe what I thought was a 1959 picture was from 1958. Or before they found the yellow paint tin


#41 Roger Clark

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 15:58

In 1959, they sometimes used light coloured wheels and sometimes dark. I don't know why.

#42 M bennett

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:08

Yellow wheels The 1956 Motor Show Lotus 12, whch CTL still have, had yellow wheels, through 1957/8 yellow wheels appeared from time to time. Even with two yellow wheels and two black wheels in some events. The LAT pictures of Cliff at the last GP (Morocco) 1958 show a full set of yellow wheels. So I am guessing that yellow wheels were the intention, but masking and spraying wheels was on the bottom of the job list for the hard working and fatigued Team Lotus mechanics.
Mike B


#43 D-Type

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 19:23

Was the idea of the yellow paint to show up cracks? I think I read that somewhere. The paint was brittle and if the alloy cracked you would get reflective cracking and oil and brake dust etc would find their way into the hairline cracks and make them visible

#44 David Beard

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:44

On the subject of colours...
Met up with Mike on Sunday. He has recently accumulated some interesting old photos which include a Lotus 12 painted red. This is a bit of a mystery. Does anyone recall a red 12?



#45 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 12:56

I suspect that might be the Ecurie Hoba car that was driven in 1958 and 1959 by Peter Monteverdi, amongst others.

But, what do I know?

My Ecurie Hoba 12 is red, anyway.

Edited by Barry Boor, 19 June 2012 - 12:57.


#46 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 21:07

Yellow wheels The 1956 Motor Show Lotus 12, whch CTL still have, had yellow wheels, through 1957/8 yellow wheels appeared from time to time. Even with two yellow wheels and two black wheels in some events. The LAT pictures of Cliff at the last GP (Morocco) 1958 show a full set of yellow wheels. So I am guessing that yellow wheels were the intention, but masking and spraying wheels was on the bottom of the job list for the hard working and fatigued Team Lotus mechanics.
Mike B

Or Lotus got a discount on some yellow centred wheels.

#47 David Beard

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 21:26

Mike with the 12 and Merv, viewed beneath the sculpture feature in front of Goodwood House. Indy Lotus (29 I think) in the foreground)

Posted Image

#48 bradbury west

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 22:17

Nice photo composition David, but are you sure? I don't see Merv there. Man in green polo is not he.
Roger Lund

Edited by bradbury west, 01 July 2012 - 22:17.


#49 David Beard

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 10:47

Nice photo composition David, but are you sure? I don't see Merv there. Man in green polo is not he.
Roger Lund


You are correct Roger. I jumped to a conclusion. Mike's assistant here is David Head.



#50 llmaurice

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:36

Nice photo composition David, but are you sure? I don't see Merv there. Man in green polo is not he.
Roger Lund


I'll be seeing "the invisible man " man (Merv) on Wednesday and ask him where he was hiding .