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LOTUS ELITE Type 14 Chassis 1559 with 1558cc Twin Cam

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#1 RobLotusFord

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 15:01

Does anyone on the TNF have any recall about a 1961 Type 14 LOTUS Elite chassis number 1559.

This vehicle appears to have been fitted with a LOTUS Twin Cam engine serial number 31 in period, this is the Elan type 1558cc Twin Cam in the CHESHUNT factory days circa 1961 to 1963. It is also fitted with a metal subframe similar to the E Type Jaguar to carry the diff. LOTUS people mentioned who may have been involved in this vehicle were Brian Luff, Christopher Cadogan-Rawlinson and Victor Grimwood etc. The current owner in the USA has fully restored Elite chassis 1559 to this specification and is seeking any memories from people who may recall this unusual Elite, any information would be a great help.


#2 68targa

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 16:04

There appear to have been several twin-cam Elites built.  According to the 1978 Lotus Elite Register chassis 1559 was registered in the UK as KVO 222.   Also listed is Chassis # 2001 (reg MPW 804E) which mentions a twin-cam fitted for David Lazenby. The internet throws up  an advert from Greenville SC for Chassis # 1161 also fitted with a twin-cam with several photos.

#3 Rupertlt1

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 20:39

See also ref Stirling Moss: https://forums.autos...-2#entry9488314



#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 08:28

At the risk of repeating myself: "Bob Curl built an Elite for himself in 63/64 with a 1500 Ford engine, painted mid-green with a white roof. Last time I saw it it was on the Kelvadon forecourt. He later built a couple of twin-cam Elites, one for himself and one for Mike Adda who used it to win the Motoring News Championship in IIRC, 1971, beating a raft of 23Bs McLarens and others."


The Bob Curl cars certainly had subframe to properly locate the rear suspension unlike, I was told, the Lazenby example.


The Mike Adda car went to America, so it may be the one of which you write...

#5 RobLotusFord

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 09:29

Hello TNFers thank you for your replies.

To clarify LOTUS Elite chassis 1559 a bit further the handwritten Warren King LOTUS Ledger pages indicate that LOTUS Elite chassis EB1559 a Series 2 Bristol built Elite circa 1961 was sold to an R.J Fuller of the Northampton area in December 1963 with engine number 31 listed.

This car was later advertised for sale by Victor Grimwood then of LOTUS Cars powertrain division in 1970 and sold by him and exported to the USA arriving in the States in 1971 and registered on a Michigan plate for 1971.

It is fitted with an early LOTUS Twin Cam engine serial number "31" and also fitted with what can only be described as possibly a unique E Type inspired metal rear subframe to carry the Elite diff.

The Bob Curl Elite from Kelvedon motors is still in the UK with one of my friends.

The the Bob Curl MODSPORTS Elite Michael Adda race car is a different Elite entirely to chassis 1559 but it is also in the USA having been bought by its present owner in the UK circa mid 1970's.

The MODSPORTS Elite carries an unusual hand made ally chassis plate something like HCBC 01 and this car was created initially by Peter Jackson and completed by Bob Curl before being raced successfully.

I have now also identified quite a few more Twin Cam Elites with the 1558cc Elan Twin Cam engine fitted in period as opposed to the standard FWE Climax engine.

The most well know Twin Cam Elite of course mayh be the David Lazenby 1967 created Elite in which David & Jane went on honeymoon.

Any and all further information is most welcome relating to LOTUS Elite Twin Cam chassis 1559 especially about those LOTUS names who may have been at LOTUS when Elite 1559 was created.

#6 cooper997

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 03:05

Page 180-82 of Dennis Ortenburger's Elite book has some details and photos of a Modsports Elite mentioning American serviceman Phil Cannon.


The EB2001 'Lazenby' Twin cam is here in Melbourne. Having come from Switzerland to a Queensland-based owner and then to its current custodian. It still looks much like the 1983 photos shown in Ortenburger p50.  I did some detailing on it 2 months ago.




Edited by cooper997, 23 June 2021 - 06:58.

#7 john aston

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 06:03

CAR magazine tested a twincam Elite, including comparing it against the Elan in about 1968. I still have the copy and next time I venture into the badlands of the spare bedroom I will see if I can find it . There's ..err..quite a few others there  :eek:

#8 RobLotusFord

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 06:34

Hello TNFers
The story of the TWIN CAM Type 14 LOTUS Elites is becoming a larger topic, I have added some more details below:
Most are fitted with the Elan 1558cc LOTUS Twin Cam engine.
Please see below:

"TWIN CAM Coventry Climax engine and LOTUS Elan TWIN CAM engine 1558cc plus Alfa Romeo Twin Cam LOTUS ELITES".

My Twin Cam further updated research has so far revealed the following information and possibilities.

I have put the Elites with known Chassis numbers Chassis Body Units CBU's in CBU order:
All cars start at over the 1,000 unit number so I think it is simpler to drop the 1 at the start of the chassis number and for example refer to 1255 as the 255th chassis body unit made, and of course there is the overlap of chassis numbers where MAXIMAR and BRISTOL built CBU's with the same number and BRISTOL added EB to the chassis number to differentiate from MAXIMAR built units.

1. CBU 1255 the 2 Litre Coventry Climax FPF engined racing car. LOTUS
Factory Racing car

2. CBU 1495 the 750cc / 742cc Coventry Climax engined racing car, this
750cc engine was basically half of the 1.5 litre Coventry Climax V8 F1
racing engine as being developed for that 1.5 Litre Formula 1 category
at that period. Ron White Ex LOTUS remembers this
car well due to the amount of work he did on the car.
N.B. Ron White worked at LOTUS and then B.R.P. British Racing Partenership racing team which later became the UDT Laystall Racing team etc.

3. CBU 1514 The Tony Sommerard 1558cc LOTUS-FORD Twin Cam built by Tony
Sommerard of LOTUS to aircraft specification as confirmed by Tony in a
phone call as Tony was ex aircraft industry, Tony Sommerard still owns
this car and it currently has a small engine problem with the LOTUS-FORD
Twin Cam which needs sorting as one spark plug blows out due to stripped thread in Twin Cam head.

4. CBU 1559 The 1558cc LOTUS-FORD Twin Cam built at LOTUS but by whom?
This has the E Type Jag inspired style rubber mount subframe alternate diff mounting set
up, maybe built by Brian Luff of LOTUS or Vic Grimwood of LOTUS.

5. CBU 1764 The Bob Curl FORD 1.5 litre FORD engined Elite this is a non Twin Cam with
LOTUS Elan rear suspension., this car is owned by a Club Lotus Avon Area UK

CBU 1789 The Stirling Moss Twin Cam UK Reg Number HRT 163D with Hobbs Mechamatic gearbox 1789/TC/1601/1

6. CBU 2001 The David Lazenby 1558cc Twin Cam built by David Lazenby
with the go ahead given by Fred Bushell for David to create 2001 as a
Twin Cam to use as his company car This car Now In Australia.
7. CBU number not known "The Brian Luff 1558cc Twin Cam" with what was
described as being fitted with the "wobbly" diff arrangement / set up,
it may be possible that this is CBU 1559.?

8. CBU number not known the Christopher Robert Johnstone Cadogan
Rawlinson 1558cc Twin Cam Elite reported built in 1964, it was suggested this Elite may have
been dismantled but this is not confirmed, most likely converted back to FWE Climax spec.
Chris Rawlinson passed away in 2010.
9. CBU number not known the Victor "Vic" Grimwood 1558cc Twin Cam Elite,
another Twin Cam Elite reported being built in 1966 mentioned as being built to same spec and Chris Rawlinson drawings with the drawing provided to Victor by Chris.

N.B. CBU number 1559 was sold by Victor Grimwood in 1970 priced at £650
from Hingham Norfolk U.K Tel No Hingham 254 and it was exported to the USA, arriving in the USA in 1971 and put on a 1971 MICHIGAN number plate / licence plate.
It could well be that the Brian Luff Elite, the Chris Rawlinson Elite, and the Victor Grimwood Elite, are all actually 3 separate chassis numbers but which other chassis numbers would the first two be,we know one is  CBU 1559.

10. CBU number not known the Elite created by Paul Haussauer of LOTUS an Elite CBU on a 4
inches approx stretched Elan chassis with 1558cc engine and full Elan
running gear. CBU body on Lotus Elan chassis, Paul does not remember the CBU number of his Elite.
11. CBU number not known The Bob Curl 1558cc Twin Cam built by Bob Curl
for Bob Curl himself. * see comment below *

12. CBU number not known The Bob Curl 1594cc Twin Cam MODSPORTS ELITE built by Bob Curl
for Michael Adda to race it was mentioned to be originally a Tangerine paint
coloured Elite. * see comment below *
This car now in the USA.
13. The Bob Curl built Alfa Romeo Twin Cam with Alfa 5 speed gearbox Elite built at LOTUS PANSHANGER for a German customer CBU not known, Bob Curl does not remember the name of the German customer.
N.B. Bob Curl created the NOMAD racing cars and lots more.

It would appear that most of these 1558cc Twin Cam engined Elites were
possibly what could be called "Out of Hours" Lotus projects undertaken
by LOTUS staff who were working at LOTUS in period but were not official
LOTUS factory projects to install the LOTUS Elan Twin Cam 1558cc engine to create Twin Cam Elite projects.

* N.B. Bob Curl confirms that 11 and 12 above are the same Twin Cam Chris Steele built 1594cc Elite as Bob used the MODSPORTS racer as a very fast personal road car after it finished racing, Bob states that he sold the MODSPORTS Elite in early 1970's to be able to put the money towards a house, Bob still lives in that same house today.
Bob Curl link below:
Any further information about Twin Cam would be most welcome
Very best regards.

Rob Ford.
Article about ELITE 1559 by Doug Fraser is in this link.