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Information sought on early Lotus Elite


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#1 pmurray

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 22:46

I’ve occasionally visited The Nostalgia Forum and been amazed by the information/photos that members can provide on matters great and small.

I have very recently purchased a Lotus Elite, chassis number 1020, a very early Elite, invoiced on 8 April 1959 to Edward Lewis, the owner of Westover Racing Shoes based in Northampton.  Edward had an association with Lotus and had raced Lotus 6, 7 and Lotus IX in the years 1953 - 1959.  This association has been written up in the Historic Lotus Register magazine.

Edward raced the Elite in 1959 :- Silverstone International (2 May 1959); Snetterton (6 Sept 1959) and Brands Hatch (4 Oct 1959).  I can find no other record of this Elite competing in England.

The car was originally painted Royal Blue and registered KNH 7.

I understand Edward sold the Elite to a theatre technician/electrician (date unknown) who in turn sold it to Ian Thompson around September 1969.  Ian brought it to Australia where it was dismantled and has lain in pieces for over 35 years.

 

Can anyone provide more information about the car, especially colour photos whilst in Edward’s hands or subsequently?



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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 10:04

I'm very surprised you don't have an answer to this query, pmurray...

Normally I would have expected something to happen within a day or two. Maybe bringing it to the top now might help?

#3 pmurray

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 22:37

Thanks Ray,  I've also been surprised that no-one has made a comment.

 

Unfortunately the original Registration Book (vehicle log book) was not with the car as that would have given us the full ownership history.  With help from a friend in England we initially tried the DVLA (current UK registration authority) but realised by the time that organisation came into existence the car was already in Australia.  We next tried the Northamptonshire County Council as KNH 7 was one of their allocated series of registration numbers, but it seems their records are long gone.

 

From the condition of the bodyshell it seems clear that the car continued to be raced after Ted Lewis sold it (early 1960?) so I am hoping to be able to access the Autosport magazines of 1960 - 1969 that are in the Sporting Car Club library in Adelaide to see if I can find photos of the car at a UK race meeting and maybe an article about that/those races which may then give me the driver/owners name.  I've only found two photos of the car at the Silverstone meeting (2 May 1959) that were held in the US Klemantaski Collection.

 

Neither Club Elite (UK) nor Club Lotus Australia have any information about the car before Ian Thompson brought it to Australia (circa 1969/1970).

 

Maybe one day I'll get a lucky break!



#4 bradbury west

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 23:50

Perhaps a long shot, but more  probable than going via Autosports may be to check on the REVS Institute archive, see separate thread currently on the front page here. Check out the collection of George Phillips pictures or Max le Grand, or others showing UK lesser  races. Some of the grander snappers favoured major events.  Sort by years in question, and/or circuits and scroll through. I know there are a lot of Elites in various races. The archives are not currently captioned by marque or drivers too well, a massive task, so just look at the pictures. Warning; you will be distracted by all the wonderful shots, but you will enjoy it all.

It may be simpler/more manageable to go via circuits and a narrow band of years, say 2 or 3 at a time. You can click on each shot as you choose it and then click on the plus sign top left in the box for a bigger view. The event is usually captioned/notated under the description line on the right of the original clicked picture.  I am sure we can also give you details of other foto archives via TNF members. The obvious one is Ted Walker at Ferret Fotographic, google him, always very helpful and knowledgeable

Best of luck

Roger Lund

 

edit. Have you or your contacts tried the Kithead Trust over here? They have some of the old archived/abandoned records from the old reg authorities. Sometimes things turn up


Edited by bradbury west, 24 November 2014 - 23:52.


#5 cooper997

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 00:04

This thread might be of a little assistance with Ted Lewis.
http://forums.autosp...ormation-sought

Stephen

#6 pmurray

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 00:17

Thanks Roger and Stephen,

 

Stephen - The thread re Ted Lewis was started by my UK friend who has helped my with DVLA and NCC searches.  As he mentioned Ted is still alive and I have had one round of correspondence with him but at 91 + years old he apparently has difficulty concentrating on any issue for more than a very short period of time.  I have been told he is quite protective of his files and documents and will not let anyone go through them.  I have asked for copies of photos or documents but doubt I will get anything from him - a real pity that they might be lost for all time when he dies!

 

Roger - I'll have a start on your suggestions later.  I might just try by year as I do not know what circuits the car may have been raced at 1960 onwards and will only be able to identify the car by its registration KNH7 and that it will be a dark car (Royal Blue) so I can eliminate anything that appears as light grey/white.

 

Peter



#7 cooper997

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 01:01

Indeed a pity, maybe you need to try to keep a family member in the loop. Then hopefully records and photos won't be thrown in the skip one day.

Sports Car and Lotus Owner magazine might be another source that could help reveal where / who the Elite went to after Ted. Once a name is established then there should be a reasonable number of enthusiasts here with race programmes. But I only have a limited number of SC&LO issues.

Maybe SCCofSA has them in the library.

Stephen

#8 pmurray

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 03:27

Initial search of REVS Library using "Lotus Elite" as search constraint turned up 49 photos.  1-5 were various racing Elites (not mine); 6 is an Elan (wrong citation); 7-12 publicity shots of what appears to be a very early Series 2 Bristol bodied car Reg No 6574AR which is not listed in the Club Elite UK Register;   13-21 look to be the same car.  22-38 is a Series 2 car Reg No 2078 UR now listed as being in Japan; 39-44 the original 1957 Earls Court car; 45-47 three show cars and 48 & 49 also incorrectly cited as Elite when they are Elans.

 

Supposedly some 1445 Lotus photos in the collection.  Might try that next before tackling a single year of all UK circuits.

 

Stephen, I have a friend in Adelaide going through his complete copies of SC&LO for any references so should hear from him in a week or so.  

 

Peter



#9 cooper997

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:28

Peter,

If you would like scans of the 2/5/59 Silverstone & 4/10/59 Brands Hatch entry lists, pm me your email address.

I've had a brief glimpse at various other 1959 UK programmes and no luck with other Ted Lewis entries.

Stephen

#10 pmurray

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 04:44

OK, an update and I’d appreciate some more helpful suggestions / advice on how to progress!

 

I have established that Ted Lewis only raced the car three times in 1959.  Source - Racing Sports Cars website – see first post in this thread. 

 

I have established that he registered the car in Northampton as KNH7. (See second post).

 

The Club Elite UK Register circa 1970 recorded the colour as Royal Blue.  With help from DuPont technical people we have recently analysed a small remnant of blue paint found behind the original English adhesive rear number plate – it is a metallic blue, unusual but quite attractive!

 

It is highly probable that Ted sold the car late 1959 / early 1960 and from the condition of the body it was later fitted with a side exhaust, painted a yellow ochre colour and would appear to have continued racing (or maybe rallying but the body has only superficial damage so I lean towards racing).

 

Following earlier suggestions in this thread:-

 

I’ve been through the REV photos by year and by UK track and then separately using the constraint “Lotus Elite” but found no photos of KNH7;

 

Ted Walker (Ferret Foto) doubts he has any images of the car but that’s still to be confirmed;

 

The published images of John Hendy do not show the car and I have had no response to a question I subsequently sent them;

 

There is no mention of the car in Sports Car & Lotus Owner magazines;

 

The Klemantaski Collection, which provided two photos of the Ted’s first race in the car advise they cannot search by UK registration number and I would need to give them particular race details or maybe driver’s name to work from - information that I do not have.

 

Shelsley Walsh have no record of Ted competing there in 1959 or the 1960s. (That query followed a suggestion Ted may have hillclimbed the car).

 

Next steps

A friend in Sydney who has his father’s collection of Autosports magazine will lend me the years 1959 - 1969 so I can search them at leisure at home next year.  With luck I may find a photo of an Elite with the registration KNH7.

 

LAT would be an option but all I can give them is the registration number and I suspect they would want more information, like Klemantaski, to narrow the search. 

 

And, I need to follow-up Roger Lund’s suggestion re Kithead Trust.

 

So, does anyone have additional suggestions?  All will be welcomed.



#11 hipperson

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 15:28

Found this on the BRDC website

 

http://www.brdc.co.u...---Edward-Lewis



#12 Rupertlt1

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 09:19

Have you seen this?

 

https://revslib.stan...tem/qg344rp9363

 

I've found BOC archives most helpful in the past.

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 09 October 2015 - 11:46.


#13 pmurray

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 06:17

It’s been a while since I updated this thread with my new knowledge.

 

Firstly thanks to the many who have added information or suggested avenues for me to pursue.  Ted’s recent death has closed one door.

 

I’ve spent many months searching through the Autosport magazines 1959 to 1969 which I have been loaned by my good friend in Sydney.

 

I think I have found all the events that Ted Lewis competed in:-

 

2 May 1959 - Silverstone - International GT - Placed 13th.

3 May 1959 - Prescott Hillclimb - GT Cars - Placed 1st

11 July 1959 - Westbrook Hay Hillclimb - Sports Cars - Placed 1st

6 Sept 1959 – Snetterton -  GT1.3 – Placed 1st

13 Sept. 1959 – Prescott Hillclimb – GT Cars – Placed 1st (New Class record)

27 Sept 1959 – Chateau Impney – G.H Cup Winner

4 Oct 1959 – Brands Hatch – Series Production cars – Placed 4th.

 

REVS Institute have two photos of the car at Silverstone 2 May 1959.

Autosport, 17 July 1959, page 70 had photo of the car at Westbrook Hay Hillclimb

Chateau Impney had a gallery of old photos on their website for the recent 2015 hillclimb, one of which which showed the Lewis Elite, KNH 7.  They have not responded to my request for a copy and the Hagley & DCC are unable to find who supplied the photo.

 

In Autosport 16 Oct 1959 (page 507) and 23 Oct 1959 (page 555) there is a For Sale notice posted by Ted announcing the car is for sale.  I have been advised earlier in the year that Ted had no recollection who bought the car, only that “he sold the Elite to a chap at Prescott Hill Climb who came up to him in the paddock and asked if it was for sale. A deal was done but he can not remember the name of the chap or were he was from”.

 

In Autosport 23 Sept 1960 there is a photo of an Elite at Prescott.  The REVS Institute file of this photo clearly shows the registration KNH 7 and we are unsure but the badge on the bonnet could be a BRDC badge.  With considerable help from my UK friend “Bakeryman” ; sighting a copy of the program purchased on eBay and the BOC archivist we know that there were three Elites entered for that 11 Sept event:-

 

T.T Marsh in a 1300cc Elite (probably not KNH 7).  Was this Tony Marsh?  I have found no other record of Tony Marsh driving an Elite in a hillclimb although he did co-drive John Wagstaff’s Elite at Le Mans. The Wagstaff Elite was chassis number 1027 and carried the UK rego FP 98.

 

WS (Bill) Perkins of Rugby in a 1216cc Elite. I have been told that Perkins previously raced a Lotus VI with a 6 cylinder Bristol engine. Apparently he had sold this by 1960 so he may well have bought an Elite.  I have found no other record of Perkins in an Elite. 

 

J.G Marks of Chigwell in a 1220cc Elite.  Marks competed in an Elite at Prescott 7 May 1960; Great Auclum Hillclimb 19 August 1960.  Was he the next owner?

 

So,  That’s all for the moment.



#14 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 07:48

In Autosport 23 Sept 1960 there is a photo of an Elite at Prescott.  The REVS Institute file of this photo clearly shows the registration KNH 7 and we are unsure but the badge on the bonnet could be a BRDC badge.  With considerable help from my UK friend “Bakeryman” ; sighting a copy of the program purchased on eBay and the BOC archivist we know that there were three Elites entered for that 11 Sept event:-
 
T.T Marsh in a 1300cc Elite (probably not KNH 7).  Was this Tony Marsh?  I have found no other record of Tony Marsh driving an Elite in a hillclimb although he did co-drive John Wagstaff’s Elite at Le Mans. The Wagstaff Elite was chassis number 1027 and carried the UK rego FP 98.

Although Tony Marsh's full name was Anthony Ernest Marsh, it might well be him. In his autobiography he said that, following his drive at Le Mans, he'd quite liked the Elite and bought one as a road car. Then he said this:
 

After Brands came the chance to take the Elite to Prescott, where I won the Grand Touring class. I also took the old Cooper along and managed a class win in that too. It was good to let the hill climbers know I was still around and could still be up with them if I chose to. And it was good, too, to see some of the old names at the top such as David Good, Patsy Burt, Phil Scragg and David Boshier-Jones, who took BTD with a new hill record to set the seal on his third consecutive British title.

The Brands event was the Kentish 100 F2 race, run on 28th August 1960. His next F2 race was at Zeltweg on 18th September - he wasn't entered for the Danish GP on 10th/11th September. Later in the book he mentions running the Elite again at Prescott in 1961, and also racing it in the 1961 Fordwater Trophy at Goodwood.

 

(Edited to put correct month for the Zeltweg event - I originally put August. :blush: )


Edited by Tim Murray, 10 October 2015 - 10:49.


#15 pmurray

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 08:01

Thanks Tim,

 

Another piece of the jigsaw puzzle.



#16 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 22:47

6 March 1960, C.U.A.C. Speed Trial, Snetterton, 7th Overall, J.G. Marks, Lotus Elite, 47.2 sec

1 May 1960, B.O.C. Prescott, GT cars, 1st J.G. Marks, 1,330 c.c. Lotus Elite, 49.72 sec; 2nd A.E. Marsh, 1,600 c.c. Porsche, 49.81 sec



#17 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 22:19

Sunday 1 May 1961, B.O.C. Prescott, GT Cars: A.J. Nurse (Lotus Elite) 59.33; A.E. Marsh (Lotus Elite) 59.68; E.P. Scragg (Aston Martin) 59.94

B.O.C. Members Meeting 1961:

"From a splendidly mixed Grand Touring class of sixteen cars, Austen Nurse's dark-blue Lotus Elite emerged the winner, his climb in 58.99 seconds only just failing to equal Tony Marsh's class record, also made in an Elite, of 58.95 sec."

 

RGDS RLT



#18 pmurray

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 22:23

Thanks RLT,

 

Autosport June 24 1960, at page 861 has photo of three Elites.  The caption identifies the front car driven by Austen Nurse.  It is a dark colour and the registration is clearly visible - 500 KRA - this is chassis number 1021 now residing in Germany.

 

I must look for any reports of those other events you've listed although I have carefully looked at all the photos in the Autosport mags and can see no more of KNH 7 than those listed earlier.  Marks seems strongest possibility; Marsh maybe (given Tim's reference to his autobiography) but the BOC entry saying it is a 1300cc Elite suggests otherwise;  last possibility is Perkins.



#19 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 17:17

So we can discount Austen Nurse, 500 KRA. This is presumably the car sold to Bob Rose, later with 1,460 c.c. motor. The registration number 500 KRA turns up on Bob Rose's later vehicle(s).

 

Hard to believe no picture of Tony Marsh in his Lotus Elite exists? Marks, also a class winner at Prescott, Perkins are more obscure.


Edited by Rupertlt1, 15 October 2015 - 18:12.


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#20 pmurray

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 21:49

I checked back through the Autosport 1960 and 1961 issues yesterday for the reports on those events you listed above.  Nothing in the text of the reports or photos which helps.

 

I might try REVS library today for any photos in case they are not identified as Elites - they do have some incorrect captions as noted in post #8 above.



#21 pmurray

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 23:45

Googling J.G. Marks resulted in a Bugatti Trust newsletter which listed him as  Trustee in 2010.  However, a subsequent newsletter of 2013 no longer lists him in that capacity.  I have emailed the Trust to ask whether he is still alive and whether they can put me in touch with him.



#22 Peter Morley

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 10:38

J.G.Marks is presumably John Marks who ran Vintage Restorations the instrument restoration company in an old bakery in Tunbridge Wells.

He started to wind down the business in 2013 but might still be contactable there.



#23 pmurray

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 10:57

Thanks Peter,

 

As you will see from post #13 above in 1960 Marks registered his address with Prescott event as living at Chigwell, to the North of London.

 

I have no idea what his business profession was then or later.  

 

However, after googling that business you suggested I found this site

 

http://www.classicca...ge-restorations

 

which lists the owner as John E. Marks.  So, not the same person.

 

Hopefully I will get a reply from Bugatti Trust which may answer my search for him.

 

Peter.



#24 Rupertlt1

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 11:04

See: http://www.mg-cars.org.uk/vr/

 

But more importantly: http://www.telegraph...John-Marks.html

 

Also: http://thetreborstory.com/blog/?p=342

 

He was John Graham Marks.

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 17 October 2015 - 12:43.


#25 pmurray

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 22:24

I recently received an email from the son of J.G. Marks with a photo of his father's Elite showing a registration plate E 23, presumably a personalised plate.  Whilst the photo is B&W it is clearly a light coloured car so not KNH 7.

 

Accordingly, this points more strongly to the car being purchased from Ted Lewis by Bill Perkins.



#26 pmurray

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 03:06

Since the last posting I have contacted the Archivist at Shelsley Walsh to inquire whether Bill Perkins ever competed there.  Whilst he didn't I was fortunate to find they held a photo of Tony Marsh's Elite showing part of the registration on the light coloured car.  That in turn left Perkins as the purchaser of KNH 7.

 

Rupertlt1 found in REVS files some untagged photos of the Elite competing at Brands Hatch on 4 October 1959.  This was during Ted Lewis' ownership.

 

Thanks again to Rupertlt1 who found a Bonhams Auction results the 2011 sale of John (Jack) M Perkins Bugatti Type 35B I wrote to Bonhams to ask if they would contact the vendor/Perkins family on my behalf.

 

I recently received a short reply from Jack's nephew to put me in touch with a family friend and former employee of Jack.  This person was able to tell me that Bill Perkins had used the Elite as a daily driver and that Bill had died shortly after he had retired.  Jack had then sold all Bill's cars. Neither Bill nor Jack had children so the Perkins family tree has stopped.  

 

So we now have as owners:-

 

Edward Lewis - 8 April 1959 to approx October 1959

William S Perkins - approx October 1959 - December 1966

Unknown - 1967 to 18 September 1969

Ian Thompson - 18 September 1969 to 14 April 2014



#27 pmurray

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 10:36

I've not really made a great deal of progress since my last post above but I summarised the known history of the ownership of Elite 1020 in an article for our Lotus Club Victoria / Lotus Club Queensland (Australia) joint magazine.   This was was published last month.

 

I hope this upload via Post Image will work satisfactorily.

 

My thanks to Stephen (Cooper997) and to Rupert (Rupertlt1) for their help both on this forum as well as off forum to find and trace possible leads.  They're special people to give that unsolicited help.

 

Page 1 of the article:

Pages_from_Lotus_notes_May_2016_emag_co_

 

and

 

Page 2 of the article:

Pages_from_Lotus_notes_May_2016_emag_co_

 

 

Ignore the short article about the Gold Coast run on the lower part of page 2, that's a record of an event run by Lotus Club Queensland.

 

PM me if you'd like to read the original file of these pages or the images contained therein.  The file is only about 375kb.

 

Peter

 

 

 

 


Edited by pmurray, 14 May 2016 - 10:47.