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Lotus Seventeen serial #657


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#1 David Birchall

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 20:15

Robin Marshall, a close friend here in the Vancouver area, has owned this car since the late seventies-always fitted with a Climax FWB 1460cc engine. It was the car that Olivier Gendebien set an unofficial lap record in at Westwood circuit in a test drive in 1960. It is the only Seventeen retaining the strut type front suspension, all the others having been modified to double A arm with a kit supplied by Lotus.

There has always been a rumour of leMans hanging over this car although it is not one of the cars listed in the usual places. However, Robin's daughter Christine, while trolling through results of the1959 LeMans posted on 'experiencelemans.com' website found five Lotus Seventeens had been entered: #53 for Stacey/Greene 742cc, #54 for Taylor/Seiff 742cc, and three others shown as DNA: Hicks/Utley 1100cc, Piper/Campbell-Jones/Randall 1100cc, and Ireland/Stacey 1960cc !

Three possibilities present themselves with regards to the "1960cc" car: 1. it was 1960cc, this seems unlikely for such a small car. 2. It was actually the Lotus Elite "14" fitted with 1960cc engine that Ireland practised but never ran. 3. it should read "1460cc" and this could be chassis #657

What do the experts think?

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 17:35

I can't believe there isn't somebody here that can help with this :cat:

#3 Charles Helps

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 19:57

This is strange; Ian Smith's book 'The story of Lotus 1947-1960, birth of a legend' says about the 1959 Le Mans race "Strong bids for an outright win were provided by the 2 1/2 litre Fifteen, to be driven by Graham Hill and Derek Jolly from Australia and a 2 litre Fifteen to be shared by Innes Ireland and Alan Stacey "

So far so good, it wasn't a Seventeen but a Fifteen which makes sense as the Seventeen was designed as an 1100cc racer and the Fifteen for the 1 1/2 litre and up FPF engine.

Them Smith goes on, after describing how Derek Jolly over-revved the engine on the 2 1/2 litre car, "A front wishbone collapsed on the 2-litre, which caused considerable delay, and after the mechanics had got the car going again, a rod blew a hole in the crankcase ".

But the various websites, including Martin Krecjci's only show one Lotus Fifteen (carrying Racing number 30) which actually ran (for Hill and Jolly). I'm surprised Ian Smith seems to have invented a car which wasn't at Le Mans?

#4 David Birchall

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 23:29

The following is from TEJ (Tom Johston) who is emailing me instead of posting--apparently to save me embarrassment! Too late Tom....

David
The first version of the 2 litre Climax FPF twin cam (1957 and 1958 seasons) was 1963 cc, often reported as 1960 cc. The Le Mans Lotus could easily had been fitted with one of those, Lotus would have had a few left over from their F1 cars. The 1963 units were replaced by 2.2 litre motors in the latter part of the 1958 season. There were a few Lola Mk1s that had FPFs replacing the FWA/B/C motors as they weren't that much bigger sizewise.

Tom

I qustion whether a FPF would fit a Seventeen that easily. I know they fitted at least one to a Lola Mk1 but that is a (slightly) larger car. David B




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dave
The Gendebien event was 1960.
I found a few clues that might lead me to believe that Doc. Wilson had purchased a Climax 1500 FWB motor for his Buckler/MG special although I have not seen any evidence that he ever installed it.
Tom

Hi Tom, yes i couldn't remember when that took place and all my stuff is in storage. I too heard that Dr Wilson had aquired a FWB , But, another FWB turned up as well in Vancouver not all that long after. I have seen the chassis of the Buckler-almost 30 years ago-and it looked like it had Climax engine mounts. The real reason I posted the questions as I did was to get people in Europe interested enough to check for serial numbers and the '1960cc' entry is certainly odd enough to justify explanation.
Thanks, David


#5 David Birchall

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 00:34

Originally posted by Charles Helps
This is strange; Ian Smith's book 'The story of Lotus 1947-1960, birth of a legend' says about the 1959 Le Mans race "Strong bids for an outright win were provided by the 2 1/2 litre Fifteen, to be driven by Graham Hill and Derek Jolly from Australia and a 2 litre Fifteen to be shared by Innes Ireland and Alan Stacey "

So far so good, it wasn't a Seventeen but a Fifteen which makes sense as the Seventeen was designed as an 1100cc racer and the Fifteen for the 1 1/2 litre and up FPF engine.

Them Smith goes on, after describing how Derek Jolly over-revved the engine on the 2 1/2 litre car, "A front wishbone collapsed on the 2-litre, which caused considerable delay, and after the mechanics had got the car going again, a rod blew a hole in the crankcase ".

But the various websites, including Martin Krecjci's only show one Lotus Fifteen (carrying Racing number 30) which actually ran (for Hill and Jolly). I'm surprised Ian Smith seems to have invented a car which wasn't at Le Mans?


On the 'experiencelemans.com' site it lists Ireland as third driver on the Stacey/Greene car but with DNA by his name. It also shows a separate entry for Ireland/Stacey Lotus Seventeen 1960cc with DNA by it so was Ireland a no-show at the the 59 LeMans?


Following on from the success of the Lotus Nineteen thread I would like to suggest that this becomes the Lotus Seventeen thread. According to who you talk to there were either 20 or 23 cars built--where are they now?

Here is a start:

#657-- 1960-Dr. Claire Wilson, Canada, 1978-2006, Robin Marshall, Canada
#666--1981-Chris Smith, David Whiteside, 2006-Barber Motor Museum [Peter Horseman]

#6 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 03:07

Originally posted by David Birchall
. . . so was Ireland a no-show at the the 59 LeMans?

He drove an Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguar with Masten Gregory. They retired after 70 laps when the engine threw a conrod.

#7 Charles Helps

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 10:00

Originally posted by David Birchall
...Following on from the success of the Lotus Nineteen thread I would like to suggest that this becomes the Lotus Seventeen thread. According to who you talk to there were either 20 or 23 cars built--where are they now?

OK, what about the one pictured in Anthony Pritchard's 1987 book 'Lotus: The Sports-Racing Cars' on page 84 and captioned 'Mike Presley's beautifully restored Eleven at Wiscombe Park hill climb in May 1965 ...' . It carries the UK registration number 698 KRL and the racing number 17 and it is not an Eleven.

David, are you going to ask Twinny to change the thread title and have you asked Peter Horsman if he will contribute?

#8 David Birchall

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 16:41

Those are two good suggestions Charles--I am in email contact with Peter Horsman and for some reason I assume Twinny reads everything here but I suppose he does have a life :lol:

#9 D-Type

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 23:55

The chronology doesn't fit!

The Lotus 17 used the 1098cc Climax FWA as standard and at Le Mans in 1959 they ran three cars with, I think 745cc FWMA engines or possibly 741 FWC engines, but certainly 750's. But, if someone was going to fit a 1.5 litre engine to a 17,in 1959 it would have been a DOHC 1475 cc FPF rather than a less powerful SOHC 1460cc FWB. As they were used in Formula 2, FPF engines were available. Using an FWB in a 17 sounds like a later change when the car was being used for club racing.

I would guess that the "1960 cc" Lotus entered for Le Mans was either a XV or the infamous 2-litre Elite. It is too early to have been a 19 and, I think it would be too much power for a 17.

But I am no expert on Lotuses or Climaxes.

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 00:21

I have just returned from lunch with the local automotive historians group--several of whom post on TNF. Merv Therrialt was there. He was with Team Lotus as mechanic in the late fifties and was in Vancouver when Seventeen #657 arrived from England. He recalls it had the engine it has now. Alan Cruikshank, who has been involved in racing in the Vancover area since the early sixties at least recalls conversations with Dr Claire Wilson in which Wilson assured him it came from England with the FWB fitted after running at LeMans with the 742cc Climax in the Index of Efficiency. :cat:

#11 David Birchall

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 18:15

Robin Marshall has been in touch with Mike Brotherwood regarding selling Seventeen #657 and Mike has come up with documentation which shows the car as running at LeMans with the 750 Climax engine driven by Taylor/Sieff.
The car is also the only Seventeen to run an international race in period with an FWB engine fitted and to retain it's original strut type front suspension (ADVT!)

#12 David Birchall

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 19:55

I have resurected this thread since I just received a phone call from Robin Marshall, the owner of Seventeen #657, to say that he had been in conversation with Merv Therrialt (Mechanic tending the Lotus 12 on DSJs famous Christmas run). Merv apparently recalls that there was a plan to run the Seventeen at LeMans with a 1960cc engine but that the engine was based on an FWB!! This doesn't seem to me to be do-able or necessary given the FPF was available to Lotus.

Any comments? Illmaurice?


Edit: the "documentation" from Mike Brotherwood showing this car running with a 750 engine at LM is inconclusive

Edited by David Birchall, 26 April 2012 - 20:45.


#13 David McKinney

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 21:41

I've never heard of an FWB larger than 1460cc (or maybe 1660?), though of course 1960cc FPFs were two a penny

#14 arttidesco

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 22:03

Following on from the success of the Lotus Nineteen thread I would like to suggest that this becomes the Lotus Seventeen thread. According to who you talk to there were either 20 or 23 cars built--where are they now?

Here is a start:

#657-- 1960-Dr. Claire Wilson, Canada, 1978-2006, Robin Marshall, Canada
#666--1981-Chris Smith, David Whiteside, 2006-Barber Motor Museum [Peter Horseman] c

Some recent info on #662 on the Hemmings site here does anyone know if it is still up for sale ?

#15 Peter Horsman

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 14:17

I have 20 cars built and know the whereabouts of 12 of these. Robin's car, no 657, would appear to have a very good claim to being the Claire Wilson car, but its International race (whatever that meant then) at Westwood with the FWB, whilst 'in period', is post 31.12.60. Its claim to be a 1959 Le Mans car is perhaps less assured. Robin now has the car in fine condition - with struts at the front but slightly modified in an attempt, I believe, to overcome the hadling difficulty associated with this set up.

#16 David Birchall

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:45

I have 20 cars built and know the whereabouts of 12 of these. Robin's car, no 657, would appear to have a very good claim to being the Claire Wilson car, but its International race (whatever that meant then) at Westwood with the FWB, whilst 'in period', is post 31.12.60. Its claim to be a 1959 Le Mans car is perhaps less assured. Robin now has the car in fine condition - with struts at the front but slightly modified in an attempt, I believe, to overcome the hadling difficulty associated with this set up.


Peter, thank you for responding. There is no doubt whatsoever that Robin's car is the Claire Wilson car-there is an unbroken ownership chain and Merv Therrialt was there to receive the car for Wilson at the Vancouver docks and confirms this is the same car.

The International race that the car took part in was in the US (Riverside or Seattle, I forget)
What is the significance of the 31.12.60 date? FIA cutoff?

The strut modification is period.

Edited by David Birchall, 30 April 2012 - 03:47.


#17 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 20:55

Peter, thank you for responding. There is no doubt whatsoever that Robin's car is the Claire Wilson car-there is an unbroken ownership chain and Merv Therrialt was there to receive the car for Wilson at the Vancouver docks and confirms this is the same car.

The International race that the car took part in was in the US (Riverside or Seattle, I forget)
What is the significance of the 31.12.60 date? FIA cutoff?

The strut modification is period.


Hi David

I think the International race that the car took part in was at Westwood (BC, Canada)...the 1963 Player's Pacific with Terry Nilsson driving.

Did Christopher Martyn give some information on the car's early history? He raced it in 1959, didn't he?

Vince H.

#18 Rupertlt1

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 09:57

698 KRL is also here at Great Auclum on 10 August 1963:

 

https://revslib.stan...log/zr816db3854

 

RGDS RLT



#19 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 21:58

I have a black & white photo of a 1098 cc Lotus 17 at Great Auclum on August 12, 1961 driven by A. Reardon Smith. The Licence (?) number is ARS 3.



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#20 Rupertlt1

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 22:32

698 KRL is also here at Great Auclum on 10 August 1963:

 

https://revslib.stan...log/zr816db3854

 

RGDS RLT

 

Now known to be: #46 Bailey Lotus Special, 1,475 c.c., driver P. Bailey

 

Updated link: https://library.revs...ion=p17257coll1

 

RGDS RLT 


Edited by Rupertlt1, 14 June 2021 - 07:27.


#21 Rupertlt1

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 11:25

I have a black & white photo of a 1098 cc Lotus 17 at Great Auclum on August 12, 1961 driven by A. Reardon Smith. The Licence (?) number is ARS 3.

 

The car of A. Reardon-Smith was #15 at this meeting and shared with D. Peregrine.

 

Also entered #40 W.H. Bloomfield/P.B. Bailey, Lotus XI, 1,460 c.c.

 

RGDS RLT 



#22 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 07:37

698 KRL appears on the front page of Autosport, 8 September 1961:

 

Crystal Palace, B.A.R.C., Saturday 2 September 1961

 

Photo caption: Our picture, taken at Crystal Palace, shows club racing during one of the busiest sporting week-ends of the year.

 

Is this a Cornish registration number? Is it the #44 car of Nick Garbett (who was from Cornwall)?

 

https://www.racingsp...1961-09-02e.jpg

 

"Nicholas Garbett, of Bawdens Garage, St. Ive driving his Lotus 17."

 

The (yellow) #45 Lotus Eleven of Canadian Murray Shill is also in the photograph, as is XDW 919, the (green) Lola Mk 1 of Peter Boshier-Jones.

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 14 June 2021 - 12:01.


#23 Rupertlt1

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 08:38

To Carry On
MIKE TAYLOR, the 25 years'
old Mayfair racing driver
who was badly injured in a 150
m.p.h. crash while practising for
the Belgian Grand Prix last
month, is to carry on racing.
He said that the Taylor-Crawley
racing team which he heads, is to
obtain another Formula I Lotus
of the type in which he crashed.
This will be driven by other drivers
until Taylor is again fit, which
will probably be late next month.
Meanwhile the team is selling
two of its Lotus 15 sports cars, a
Lotus 17, a two-litre Elite and a
Cooper Junior. In their place, a
new two-and-a-half litre, rear-
engined Lotus sports car will be
bought.
Douglas Graham will continue
to drive in the team with Taylor,
but their other driver, Chris
Martin, has decided to retire.
Taylor's team partner is Jonathan
Sieff, who was badly injured at
Le Mans.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 13 July 1960

Presumably he is Chris Martyn? He raced on until at least 1964:

 

https://www.racingsp...-Martyn-GB.html

 

A Lotus 15 went to Peter Cottrell in Wales.

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 15 June 2021 - 08:48.


#24 Sterzo

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 08:57

As a footnote to the above (possibly off topic), Douglas Graham was the son of the proprietor of the Wolverhampton Express and Star. The family still controls the paper. I mention it simply in case anyone researching this or other topics is looking for contacts from the period.