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Lotus 23 for sale


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#1 TerryS

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 05:16

The car in this ad had a long and varied career in Australia. That is what prompted my interest.

 

It was first raced by the great Niel Allen.

 

Racecarsdirect.com - 1966 Lotus 23C

 


Three points I note:

 

-  It is described in the ad as a 23 C 

   However it always ran in Australia as a 23B

   DID the Lotus factory make a 23C?

 

It is described as winning the 1968 Sports Car Championship

However there was no such Australian Championship in 1968

 

It has now been restored with "enclosed rear wheel arches"

This is incorrect. It ran from start with open arches. See photo

 

66444 - N. Allen - Lotus 23B - Warwick Farm 17th July 1966 - AUTOPICS

 

 

 



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#2 lyntonh

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 05:57

I must chase down this chap 'Bob Gritton' (sic.)..........



#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 10:26

No mention of it winning the scratch section of the RAC Trophy race the year it was held as a handicap...

 

Yes, they certainly could have done a better job of describing its history. And that '1968 Sports Car Championship' comment is a real mystery.



#4 lyntonh

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 11:32

Here's the car at Warwick Farm in 1969.

 

858-D7666-9-B28-444-D-A972-95-EFB3463-AC



#5 68targa

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 17:28

In Graham Capel's  The History of the Lotus Twenty Three  this is what he says about the 23C.

 

Lotus 23C - Glen Baldwin:  At the Riverside races in October 1964 Glen Baldwin of Michigan was listed as racing a Lotus 23C.

 

According to Lotus records no such thing as a Lotus 23C was produced. Sports Car Graphic magazine in June 1965 published a article on Glen Baldwin's car. 53 year old Glen from Birmingham, Alabama, worked as an engineer for General Motors. He had heard of the prodigious power output of the Chevy II engine which was effectively half a V8 with lightweight castings.  The block was bored to 4 inches to produce 2.6 litre capacity.  Anson pistons and an Anson aluminium cross flow cylinder head were fitted and 48 DCOE Weber carburettors. The only chassis modification was the addition of brake cooling ducts which was a popular addition particularly in the USA. Power was quoted at around 200 bhp. Quite what made this car a Lotus 23C as distinct from a Lotus built 23B (Series 2) is not explained, or maybe the 'C' stood for 'Chevy' !   However, the term Lotus 23C caught on in America and quite a few larger capacity and highly modified 23s used this connotation but it certainly did not come from Lotus.



#6 Paul Newby

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Posted 11 March 2022 - 21:55

The car in this ad had a long and varied career in Australia. That is what prompted my interest.
 
It was first raced by the great Niel Allen.
 
Racecarsdirect.com - 1966 Lotus 23C
 
Three points I note:
 
-  It is described in the ad as a 23 C 
   However it always ran in Australia as a 23B
   DID the Lotus factory make a 23C?
 
It is described as winning the 1968 Sports Car Championship
However there was no such Australian Championship in 1968
 
It has now been restored with "enclosed rear wheel arches"
This is incorrect. It ran from start with open arches. See photo
 
[url="https://autopics.com...ly-1966/"]66444 - N. Allen - Lotus 23B - Warwick Farm 17th July 1966 - AUTOPICS[/url
.

That ad does get a few things wrong, but Bob Muir did win a Sports Car Championship in the Lotus 23B in 1968. It was the New South Wales Sports Car Championship, a one off race held at Oran Park.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 March 2022 - 00:53

Regarding the 'Lotus 23C' title...

 

The only car I've ever seen or heard of referred to as such in Australia was the John Roxburgh car, which was chassis No. 23 - S - 16. A very early car, but it was entered as a Lotus 23C after the new wore off.

 

Niel Allen entered his car, chassis No 23 - S - 123, as a Lotus 23B throughout his ownership.

 

As for that Oran Park race, it was a bit of an oddity. Usually NSW 'title races' were held at Catalina Park or Bathurst, but this one was over 42 laps of the little Oran Park circuit. Muir's win was largely on reliability, the Elfin Chev fell out with a broken axle and Scotty's 23B also retired, second place went to the Lotus 15 of Bevan Gibson.



#8 TerryS

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 00:33

This is photo of the poor Lotus 23 after the Gibsons "enhanced " it:

 

 76120 - Grant Gibson, Lotus 23B - Calder 1976 - Photographer Peter D'Abbs - AUTOPICS



#9 Paul Newby

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 06:58

Regarding the 'Lotus 23C' title...
 
The only car I've ever seen or heard of referred to as such in Australia was the John Roxburgh car, which was chassis No. 23 - S - 16. A very early car, but it was entered as a Lotus 23C after the new wore off.
 
Niel Allen entered his car, chassis No 23 - S - 123, as a Lotus 23B throughout his ownership.
 
As for that Oran Park race, it was a bit of an oddity. Usually NSW 'title races' were held at Catalina Park or Bathurst, but this one was over 42 laps of the little Oran Park circuit. Muir's win was largely on reliability, the Elfin Chev fell out with a broken axle and Scotty's 23B also retired, second place went to the Lotus 15 of Bevan Gibson.

Securing the NSW Sports Car Championship was one of the first things that Allan Horsley did when he took over the management of Oran Park. In the scheme of things, it probably wans’t a major coup, but it led to a round of the Australian Drivers Championship in 1970 and then the big one the following year - the Australian Touring Car Championship. Both of those were at the expense of Warwick Farm - from that time on Oran Park never looked back.

#10 Bloggsworth

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 09:53

This is photo of the poor Lotus 23 after the Gibsons "enhanced " it:

 

 76120 - Grant Gibson, Lotus 23B - Calder 1976 - Photographer Peter D'Abbs - AUTOPICS

 

Pass the sick-bag Mabel...


Edited by Bloggsworth, 13 March 2022 - 09:53.


#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 13:45

Originally posted by Paul Newby
Securing the NSW Sports Car Championship was one of the first things that Allan Horsley did when he took over the management of Oran Park. In the scheme of things, it probably wans’t a major coup, but it led to a round of the Australian Drivers Championship in 1970 and then the big one the following year - the Australian Touring Car Championship.....


As I mentioned, Paul, these NSW title races were otherwise only held at Catalina and Bathurst..
So how did Oran Park 'secure' the Sports Car title?

I would suggest that after Frank Matich's domination of this kind of race had been leading to lower levels of competition year by year, it would have been easy for Jack Hinxman to allow Horsley to take away this title from his list. And as Touring Cars became more prominent, such a race was easily replaced.

But then, what happened? In 1968 the race was held at Oran Park over no fewer than 42 laps, in 1969 it was scheduled to be held at the June meeting but it simply didn't happen.

So what did happen?

There was another 'title' race being held each year at Oran Park. Instigated before Horsley's arrival, the Angus & Coote Diamond Trophy was held for 1.5-litre cars (over a mere 14 laps) in 1964 and 1965. In 1966 it was open to the 2.5-litre cars, and while it only attracted entries from two of them, it still had a good field.

In 1967 it became a 15-lapper John Harvey breaking the Geoghegan winning streak while KB followed Leo home. 1968 it was a 20-lapper, Leo again gaining the upper hand over KB, while in 1969, at the meeting slated for the Sports Car title race, another 20-lap Diamond Trophy race was held and the field broadened even more, Bartlett, Stewart, Geoghegan and Niel Allen, while Harvey was entered but didn't arrive.

So we come to 1970, the first time the circuit had an Australian Championship race. There was no Diamond Trophy meeting (nor any sign of any Sports Car title race), but a Gold Star race won by Stewart. In 1971, however, the "Diamond Trophy Meeting featuring Gold Star Rd 2" saw the Angus & Coote name back in lights. And it was there for a separate race in 1972, the Diamond Trophy at one meeting and the Gold Star round at the next.

I would have to conclude from all of that the securing of the NSW Sports Car Championship was no real stepping stone to an Australian title race, but the Angus & Coote Diamond Trophy race showed that heritage and blended into it. And along with all of that, one must keep in mind that the CAMS were often in trouble finding sufficient circuits willing to promote these races that sometimes there were fewer rounds of the Gold Star held than would seem desirable.

.....Both of those were at the expense of Warwick Farm - from that time on Oran Park never looked back.


I'm not so sure of this, either...

Warwick Farm had built its big races up over the decade to 1970 with their own titles for the races. The AJC Trophy for Touring Cars, the RAC Trophy for Sports Cars, the Hordern Trophy for Racing Cars. In time they became National Title rounds.

I don't see that anything Oran Park did actually detracted from Warwick Farm's position, and the races you mention were always additional rounds of the National series with Warwick Farm's rounds still being held. Warwick Farm had other problems, of course, and even as it ran to its ultimate conclusion, the final meeting was a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship.

#12 TerryS

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 22:57

Thanks Ray for going to the trouble of outlining the Oran Park history of title races.

 

The names of the main races bring back such strong memories.

 

I well recall the AJC Trophy race at Warwick Farm in December 1962 as it was the very first meeting I attended.



#13 TerryS

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Posted 04 November 2022 - 23:52

I see this Lotus 23C has come up for sale again, only this time on an Aussie sale site.  This is nine months after the ad in post #1

 

1966 Lotus 23C. '68 Australian Sports Car Champion - Australia's Number 1 Motorsport Marketplace - my105.com

 

In that nine months it has managed to win the 1968 Australian Sports Car Championship. That is truly amazing, especially as the 1968 Championship was never run.

 

Obviously, the vendor is not a TNF reader.



#14 GreenMachine

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 01:41

A few distracting typos too ...  :rolleyes:

 

Be nice if it finds a home here, unfortunately there is a problem getting the funds from my recent lottery win so I am out of the running  :cool:



#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 03:13

There's more than typos, among which Bill 'Proswe' stands out...

 

'Warwick Farms' is predominant, 'Neil' Allen and there's Bob 'Gritton' and more. It seems to play on the Geoghegan connection when they were merely the dealers who sold it to Niel.

 

But no mention of it being the fastest finisher in the 1966 RAC Trophy Race, surely its best result?



#16 E1pix

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 03:24

For what it’s worth, I know the seller a little and he’s a really stand-up guy in California.

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 03:44

I don't think we can question that, Eric...

 

This is all information which has been passed from owner to owner, I'm sure.



#18 E1pix

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 03:52

No worries, Ray.

I’d bet he’ll be happy to see any corrections for the good of the car’s history.

#19 TerryS

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 02:12

It seems that in the last 24 hours there has been an "update clarification" in the ad,

 

Although still mentioned in the heading that it won the 1968 ASCC it has been amended further down

 

Would be nicer if heading was corrected.

 

1966 Lotus 23C. '68 Australian Sports Car Champion - Australia's Number 1 Motorsport Marketplace - my105.com

 

Must have been a TNF poster who brought it to vendors attention

 

Such is the power of TNF



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#20 E1pix

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 03:24

I wrote the seller out of respect for him, and for historical accuracy.

Though hesitating to speak for him, under the circumstances it seems best. He joined the forum today, but was awaiting membership confirmation and ran out of time. He’s now traveling for a couple weeks and will post here upon his return.

One detail he did relay was that the actual ad title could not be edited once posted. He genuinely appreciates the corrections on this thread, so Thanks to all for that.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 03:40

There's a 'Vimeo' clip of the car winning linked in the advertisement now...

 

It's just one of many Oran Park clips which I'm sure quite a number here will find interesting. The quality of the film isn't bad at all, though on some the commentary is amateurish and the music could grate.



#22 E1pix

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 04:18

That’s a great clip, Ray.

Here it is:


#23 ArtH

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Posted 07 November 2022 - 10:42

Thank you, everyone, for your input on this Lotus 23. I greatly appreciate it, as well as EPix’ very kind support. Thank you, Autosport, for approving my new account, which was approved 21 minutes ago.

 

As EPix indicated, I think we all want to represent the history of cars as accurately as possible. This is not always easy given all the challenges that we are familiar with in chasing down histories. However, as seen from the comments in this forum, we still believe that it is worth the effort. I always welcome, and appreciate, input in order to most accurately represent all these cars. I think we all win in this regard.

 

I am about to leave on a trip and will be without the Lotus 23 file. Before I go, let me briefly address the comments I’ve seen in this forum.

 

Typos. Those are mine, and mine alone. I have already corrected the “Proswe” problem. Please let me know of others.

 

Regarding the issue of the “Lotus 23C” designation. I’ve seen ongoing debate about this over the years. Frankly I’m not sure that anyone is wrong on either side of this issue. I think the answer may be found on what side of the Atlantic you are on. 

 

The late cars have sometimes been referred to as Lotus 23C cars in the U.S. These are typically the cars with the wider wheels, open rear fenders, and maybe a few other modifications. However, I understand from others that the Lotus factory did not designate a “C” version of the Lotus 23 back in the day. So that could be accurate too. 

 

Having said that, in the voluminous files with chassis #123 is a Lotus Components Ltd. document received by a prior owner on April 18,1988. It lists the specifications for a “LOTUS MARK TWENTYTHREE ‘C’” (sic). Also included in the file is a 1981 letter from Club Lotus Australia stating that chassis #123 was invoiced from the factory on July 23, 1965  with 7” wide front wheels and 9” rear wheels. The letter goes on to say that the factory modifications included Lotus 19 front brakes, axles, and hubs. 

 

As seen from many period photos, the car was raced with the wider wheels and open rear fenders too. So I referred to the car as a Lotus 23C based upon the foregoing. A 23 “C” spec car could be more appealing to a U.S. racer than the earlier B spec car. Yes, the Lotus currently has the earlier style 23B rear body on it, but it did not run that way in period, and could be put back to its original factory specification, whether we call it a “C” or a “B.” 

 

Perhaps this naming issue is similar to the Austin Healey “Bugeye” or “Frogeye” Sprite. The factory may not have designated the car as such, but that’s a name that later was used in the U.S. to differentiate the earlier Sprite from the later Sprite. It could also be similar for the “XKE” Jaguar, vs. the “E-Type.” Either way, we know from the documents in the file the original Lotus factory specs for chassis #123, and that Lotus Components Ltd was referring to Lotus 23 “C” specs by at least 1988.

 

Regarding the Australian Sports Car Championship, that appears to be just poor reporting on my part. The car won the 1968 NSW Sports Car Championship race, not the Australian Championship because it appears there was no actual Australian Sports Car Championship that season! For 1968, there was just the NSW Sports Car Championship Race. Perhaps Muir would have won the Australian Championship that year based upon his season long results, but that’s irrelevant as the Championship did not exist that year. The good news is that I’ve just come across a Vimeo video of the actual 1968 NSW Sports Car Championship race with Muir winning in the Lotus. You can see it at:

 

The above corrections have already been made. If more are needed, or if there is any additional information about the car, please let me know. Thank you again, everyone, for your corrections, comments, and passion for preserving these cars and their histories.

 

Art



#24 Gary C

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Posted 07 November 2022 - 11:02

Welcome, Art.

#25 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 November 2022 - 11:07

Welcome to TNF Art.

Other examples of differing designations are the cars known as McLaren M1A, M1B, M1C in Europe, but McLaren Mk 1, Mk 2, Mk 3 in North America.

#26 marksixman

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Posted 07 November 2022 - 16:34

And then you have the Mk1s that were not Mk1s until the Mk2 came along !

 

Sorry 'guiporsche', should have done more research before I posted, AGAIN  !! (See 'da Silva' post #6 and #8)


Edited by marksixman, 07 November 2022 - 16:35.


#27 TerryS

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Posted 08 November 2022 - 02:54

I think I may have resolved the issue of what Sports Car Championship it won.

 

In Marc Schagen's Lotus book (the bible for Lotus race cars in Australia) he simply states on page 130 that it won "the 1968 Sports Car Championship". This where it may have come from.

 

If so, it is regrettable as Marc is normally very precise on these things.


Edited by TerryS, 09 November 2022 - 02:12.


#28 MarkBisset

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Posted 08 November 2022 - 11:19

Thanks Tezz,

TNFs greatest research challenge is nailed, we can all sleep easy tonite. May the Saints be praised.

I note that Paul Newby identified Muiro as winner of the ‘68 NSW Sportscar Championship on March 12 in post #5.

Marc’s copped a delicate spanking from you - the lucky brute - despite you having no proof of a connection between his book and the abominable crime of ‘68 Australian Sportscar Championship Theft.

m

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 November 2022 - 12:49

Particularly for Art's sake, but to complete the picture also...

 

The issue of the 1968 Australian Sports Car Championship is rather more complicated than saying, "There wasn't one held." From 1956 there was a de facto championship race, but in the British tradition it was called the Australian Tourist Trophy. Strangely enough, this car never appeared in any of those races, but when the Tourist Trophy was replaced by the Australian Sports Car Championship in 1969 it ran in all three rounds with Bob Muir driving, finishing each time, and was third in the pointscore behind Matich and O'Sullivan.

 

In 1970 it was driven by Peter Larner and finished only one round (in third place) and likely only contested two of them, filling sixth in the series. The Lotus 23 was not a front-running car by this time, the fitment of a V8 engine by the Gibsons being a partial evidence of this.

 

The various State Championship races rarely (if ever) counted for any National Championships. The Australian Touring Car Championship was a single race from 1960 to 1968, also going with a series in 1969, while the Racing Cars had only ever had a series (if you ignore the Australian Grand Prix, which continued right through even when there was a series for the Australian Gold Star Championship) which commenced in 1957.

 

With regard to the 23C designation, there was only ever (to my recall) one of the 23s which ran here ever termed as such and it was one of the first 23s to arrive here, owned by John Roxburgh. It was nothing special.



#30 MarkBisset

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Posted 09 November 2022 - 09:13

The Australian Sports Car Championship (ASCC) didn't replace the Australian Tourist Trophy (ATT). The ASCC - always a series of at least three events except in 1975 when it was one race - was held 20 times from 1969-1988. The ATT has been held 30 times since 1956 to the present. It's been one race, and a series, at present the trophy goes to the winner of the Bathurst 12 Hour. The ATT was held contemporaneously with the ASCC from 1975-1979.

 

John Roxburgh's Lotus 23C seems pretty special to me. It appears to have been Climax 2.7-FPF powered. Hence the owner deemed the Lotus to be of 'C' specification (C for Climax or C for different or C for more advanced) - quite appropriately - to differentiate it from the Ford twin-cam powered hordes.

 

What's in a name? As to the car's model descriptor, an owner can slap whatever name he likes in a car's CAMS/MSA logbook. Frank Matich bought an Elfin 400 Oldsmobile from Garrie Cooper in December 1965 - the chassis plate called it thus, By the time the car was entered at Warwick Farm (or wherever) a month later it was a Traco Olds, coz the logbook presumably said so. Bob Britton built Rennmaxes but the names applied (to some) were whatever the owner wanted.

 

When I ran my Van Diemen RF86 FF at State level I could have entered it as an RF86B (without a logbook change) and no-one would have batted an eyelid.

 

Garry and Barry Rogers didn't like the name of our S5000's - Ligier JS F3-S5000 as per the chassis plates - so the egotistical pericxx changed it to the far catchier Rogers AF01/V8 Ford, Do I want to call my car a Liger or a Rogers, if I owned a chassis, hmmm, let's think about that.

 

My point is you can call a car whatever you like, subject to the CAMS-man's consent, and sometimes without it (RF86-RF86B). Sometimes it may signify a change in specification from 'standard' like Roxburgh's 'C', and sometimes it may be ego/commercial power in the case of Matich/Rogers with absolutely no change in the before and after specs of the car other than the nose decal. 

 

m

 

ps; Yes Matich's boys did fit a different (from the other 400s to come) tail section to the 400 as soon as it got to Sydney in December '65, but of course that made it, arguably, an Elfin 400B, not a Traco Olds...


Edited by MarkBisset, 09 November 2022 - 09:14.


#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 November 2022 - 10:26

When the ATT was reinstated it was because there'd been a major change in classes...

 

The Australian Sports Car Championship had been handed to the production-based sports cars while sports-racing cars had the ATT again.

 

I know, there have undoubtedly been other changes since then, but that was the way it went in the seventies.



#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 November 2022 - 10:30

Originally posted by MarkBisset
.....John Roxburgh's Lotus 23C seems pretty special to me. It appears to have been Climax 2.7-FPF powered.....


Yes, at some time it did get that big engine, but it was being entered as a 23C prior to that, in 1500 form.

#33 TerryS

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Posted 09 November 2022 - 23:35

Unfortunately, John Roxburgh died in August 1993, so it is not possible to ask why he added the C suffix to his 23.

I am inclined to agree with Mark's comment in post #30 that he added the C suffix when he installed the Climax engine. I don't think it had anything to do with the later use of the C in the USA.

Have a look at this site for misinformation.

The Lotus 23C doesn’t need muscle to beat muscle cars | GRR (goodwood.com)

I personally believe the use of the 23C label in the USA was to make them sound later and better than all the 23B's. So more valuable

Marc Schagen notes in his excellent Lotus book that there was a batch of three Lotus 23s imported by Derek Jolly in 1962 being chassis numbers 23-S-14, 15 and 16.

Chassis 14 went to Les Howard
Chassis 15 went to the Geoghegans
Chassis 16 went to John Roxburgh

Only the Roxburgh car was ever described as a 23C, despite being delivered identical to the other two.

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 November 2022 - 23:53

It was definitely entered as a 23C prior to the Climax being installed...

 

In fact, I never saw it with the Climax in it. But I was at a Sandown where it was so described.



#35 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 November 2022 - 03:19

Some posts have been edited or removed. Please stick to the subject, folks.

#36 Peter Morley

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 13:40

Richard Spelberg's compilation of Lotus 23 information has a copy of a Lotus Components Price List from January 1967.
 
It lists a Lotus Mark Twentythree "C".
The specifications page gives some differences:
Brakes are 10½" rather than 9½"
Engine is Cosworth Mark 13 twin-cam, Box is Hewland Mark 5 (e.g. latest spec).
Wheels are still 13" diameter but the widths are now 7" front and 9" rear.
 
Of course Lotus had stopped making 23s by 1967 and moved to Hethel, so it doesn't confirm that the term existed when they were selling them.
 
Interestingly they don't mention a 23B - rather Twentythree Series Twos!!


#37 MarkBisset

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Posted 03 January 2023 - 03:36

7-CA72175-0081-4114-A015-E4-DAE7700162.j

Factory spec sheet for the Lotus 23C, and chassis in build found looking for something else.
 

(Kirk Lockwood Collection)

 

 

 

9249-A976-7320-4-AAC-8537-C906-E3514-CAD


Edited by MarkBisset, 03 January 2023 - 03:40.


#38 Porsche718

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Posted 03 January 2023 - 04:06

 

Factory spec sheet for the Lotus 23C, and chassis in build found looking for something else.
 

9249-A976-7320-4-AAC-8537-C906-E3514-CAD

 

 

Obviously a "trial" fit of components.

 

At the moment the rear sway bar is jammed under the rear brake lines whereas on the "23" series they should not only be above the brake hoses, but actually face forward lying above the top arms with the drop rods attached to the FRONT of the rear uprights.