Lotus 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Lotus was far from the first European car company to try and conquer the Indianapolis 500, after all Peugeot won the third running. But there are few car companies that really left as an indelible a mark at the Speedway quite like Lotus did. They brought the rear-engined revolution. They were the rear-engined revolution. The 1964 Type 34 was their second “Champ Car” made specifically for American ovals.

The Type 34 was an evolution of Colin Chapman’s original Indy entrant, the Type 29. Lotus teamed with Ford for power and this car features by a 495 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8. It has a two-speed manual transmission. It’s racing heritage includes practice for the ’64 500 and the following:

  • 1964 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with A.J. Foyt)
  • 1964 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Parnelli Jones)
  • 1965 Phoenix 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 100 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis 500 – Pole, 15th, DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 150 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis Raceway Park – 4th (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 125 – 2nd (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Atlanta 250 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Phoenix 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1966 Trenton 200 – 3rd (with Foyt)

That’s quite the history, even if the transmission gave out on the car seemingly more often than not. But it was quick in its day with who else but A.J. Foyt at the wheel. Foyt kept the car until 1992 when the current owner acquired it. The restoration is fresh, having been completed earlier this year.

All four of A.J.’s 500-winning cars are owned by the Speedway Museum. This pole-winning car (which set a lap record at Indy) is referred to as one of the most significant Foyt cars in private hands by the catalog. It is the winningest Indy Lotus and one of only two Type 34s in existence – the other at the IMS Museum. Get it while it’s hot – but it won’t come cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Vauxhall Lotus Carlton

1991 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Silverstone, England | July 29-30, 2017

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

You’re looking at the coolest car to ever wear the Vauxhall badge. It began life as a Vauxhall Carlton (which was the British version of the Opel Omega). This generation of the European full-size sedan/wagon (or “executive car”) was built between 1986 and 1993.

The hotted up Lotus version was available only from 1990 through 1992. Lotus took the standard Opel 3.0-liter engine and massaged it into a 3.6-liter straight-six and then strapped two turbochargers on top for a final power rating of 377 horsepower. That’s still pretty serious today. Sixty arrived in five seconds and the top speed was listed at 176 mph, which is pretty crazy. It outperformed many cars that were much more expensive when new – and most of those had two fewer doors as well.

The Lotus Carlton could be had in one color: Imperial Green, which looks black from nearly every angle and in every photograph. They weren’t cheap when they went on sale and that is reflected in the low build count. Opel wanted to built 1,100 examples but they only ended up selling 950 – split between Opel and Vauxhall, with this version being much rarer. Only 320 Vauxhall Lotus Carltons were produced and this example has a remarkable 4,500 original miles on the odometer. It should bring between $77,500-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $94,557.

Ford Cortina Lotus Mk I

1966 Ford Cortina Lotus Mk I

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 8, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

This one’s a classic – and in a classic livery. The Ford Cortina was a large (for England) family car offered as a two or four-door sedan (or wagon). Built by Ford UK, the first generation was available between 1962 and 1966. The nameplate continued on European Ford vehicles through 1986.

This hot Lotus version of the Cortina came about after Colin Chapman had someone build a twin-cam version of the Kent engine that normally powered the Cortina. Ford must’ve liked it so much that they asked Chapman to fit the engine to some Cortinas so they could homologate it for racing. They were assembled and tuned by Lotus, but sold through Ford dealers in the U.K. It was a factory two-door hot rod that predated the muscle car era, with the first generation of the Lotus Cortina having been sold between 1963 and 1966.

That Lotus-tuned engine is a 1.6-liter twin-cam straight-four that puts out 105 horsepower. There are a bunch of lightweight, go-fast parts attached too, and just about all of the 1,000 examples constructed were painted white with the green stripes. This car was made roadworthy in 2014. It’s a great example of a sought after car that has gained credibility in collector circles on both sides of the Atlantic. It should bring between $45,000-$52,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $56,976.

Lotus Excel

1989 Lotus Excel

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | April 20, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Introduced in 1982, the Excel was a sort of evolution of the earlier Lotus Eclat. It was born out of the limited partnership between Lotus and Toyota when the latter’s Supra was in development.

This later Excel is powered by a 2.2-liter straight-four making 160 horsepower, which was the same engine used in Esprits of the era. There were a few special editions that made more power, but all cars more or less looked identical.

Production lasted 10 years and ended in 1992. It’s a little confusing trying to figure out how many were built because numbers vary everywhere you look. Somewhere between 1,400 and 2,500 were actually built, and about 10% of them are still registered in the U.K. A Lotus is an exotic car, and this is one of the best ways to get an exotic for a reasonable price. Figure $7,500-$8,750. Just hope you don’t suffer any crazy issues. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,818.

Lotus 59

1970 Lotus 59

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | March 10, 2015

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

The Lotus 59 was a successful Formula 2 racing car built by Lotus for the 1969 and 1970 seasons (although it was replaced mid-1970). The 59 chassis was actually used in Formula 3 as well as Formula B and Formula Ford in addition to F2. The only thing that changed on the car between the series was the engine.

This is an ex-Team Lotus car that competed in the European Formula 3 championship. It was a pay-to-drive ride for up-and-coming drivers looking to make an impression and attract a chance in a Formula One car. This car was raced by Bev Bond and was the winning car at the 1970 Oulton Park British Empire Trophy race.

Later, this car would be used in the Ron Howard movie Rush, where it stared as James Hunt’s F3 car. As an F3 car, this car would be powered by a 1.0-liter Cosworth straight-four making about 100-110 horsepower. You can read more here and see more from Coys here.

Update: Not sold.

Lotus Mk IIIB

1951 Lotus Mk IIIB

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 13, 2015

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Lotus Mark III was the third Lotus model produced. It came about when Colin Chapman and his partners modified three Austin Sevens to compete in the 750 Motor Club formula. One car was completed in 1951 before a man named Adam Currie came around to the Lotus shop and ordered this car, the Mk IIIB – the first Lotus ever sold to a customer.

It is also the first car to wear the legendary yellow Lotus badge. The engine is a massively reworked straight-four from a Ford 10 that was slimmed down to 1.1-liters. Horsepower is estimated at 50. The body is aluminium and the car was raced in period by Colin Chapman, Adam Currie, and successful hillclimber and Formula One driver Tony Marsh.

The car’s competition years lasted solidly through 1954. The current owner acquired the car in 1994 from long-term ownership dating back to the late 1950s. A restoration was performed in 1995, taking it back to 1953 race livery. This is an important Lotus, one of the oldest examples money can buy. It can be yours for between $250,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $247,500.

STP Turbine Indy Car

1968 Lotus 56

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2015

Photo - Barrett-Jackson

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

In 1967, Andy Granatelli entered the turbine-powered STP-Paxton Turbocar in the Indianapolis 500. The car nearly won the race at the hands of Parnelli Jones but a transmission bearing failure with eight laps to go ruined those plans.

Team Lotus took note of this impressive performance and they designed the Lotus 56 around a modified version of the Pratt & Whitney ST6B used in the Turbocar. The STN 6/76 made 500 horsepower in the 56. This car also has four-wheel drive.

So it dominated qualifying, with Joe Leonard taking the pole in one of three 56s entered for the race (a fourth was built, but was destroyed in Mike Spence’s fatal crash in testing). This car was raced by Graham Hill in the ’68 500. He crashed in turn two on lap 110, resulting in a 19th place finish. None of the 56s finished the race, but Joe Leonard was leading with nine laps to go when his fuel pump broke.

This car was owned by Richard Petty for many years and it has been restored to working, race-day condition. For the past year, it’s been on display on at the Speedway Museum in Indy. It’s an awesome piece of machinery and Indianapolis 500 history. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Barrett-Jackson’s lineup.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $1,200,000.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016.

Lotus Type 49B

1968 Lotus Type 49B

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | June 27, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Remember how bad ass open wheel race cars used to be? Especially in the days before big rear wings when men had to manhandle them around courses. This one is now fitted with a wing, but it wasn’t always.

The Lotus 49 was designed for the 1967 Formula One season by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe. From the onset, this car was amazing. It blew everything else away, and Lotus teammates Graham Hill and Jim Clark dominated the opening weekend with this car.

Only nine Lotus 49s were built. Some of them were built as a Type 49 and later rebuilt as a Type 49B or 49C. The engine is a Cosworth DFV V-8 in 3.0-liter form capable of 408 horsepower. It is one of the best racing engines ever manufactured.

Want the competition history? I do – this car competed in the Tasman Series and Formula One:

  • 1969 New Zealand Grand Prix (as a Type 49) – 18th, DNF (with Graham Hill)
  • 1969 Levin International – DNF (with Hill)
  • 1969 Lady Wigram Trophy – 2nd (with Hill)
  • 1969 Teretonga International – 2nd (with Hill)
  • 1969 Australian Grand Prix – 4th (with Hill)
  • 1969 Sandown International 100 – 6th (with Hill)
  • 1969 Monaco Grand Prix (now in 49B configuration) – 4th (with Richard Attwood)
  • 1969 British Grand Prix – 7th (with Hill)
  • 1969 German Grand Prix – 18th, DNF (with Jo Bonnier)
  • 1970 South African Formula One Championship – 1st (with Dave Charlton)
  • 1971 South African Formula One Championship – 1st (with Charlton)

After the 1972 South African F1 season, the car was dismantled and purchased by a renown Australian Lotus collector who had the car restored. It’s been demonstrated and shown and now it can be yours. Only six Type 49s remain. This one has factory-Lotus F1 history and can be yours for between $1,200,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info and here for more form this sale.

Update: Sold $1,147,135.

September Results II

Our second post covering auctions for September starts with RM’s big London sale. They had a huge collection of Mercedes-Benzes cross the block, but the top sale actually went to our featured Maserati 250S for $3,340,000. Our featured Jaguar D-Type failed to sell. As did our featured Mercedes 500K Cabriolet C. The top-selling Benz was this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B for $1,287,400.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B

Our featured 1932 Mercedes-Benz 370 S sold for $1,208,900. On top of the “interesting cars pile” was the Lotus Esprit Submarine from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. It sold for $967,000.

1977 Lotus Esprit Submarine

Another cool car was this 1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12 which brought $527,000.

1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12

Our featured Mercedes 290 Cabriolet A brought $435,000. And our featured Benz Doctor’s Cabriolet sold for $83,500. Other interesting cars include this 1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet for only $12,300.

1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet

I can’t pick just two or three cool Mercedes’ from this sale to highlight because so many of them are the more mundane road cars that you just don’t see anymore (which I find fascinating). These are restored examples of cars that they built a ton of, but it would probably be easier to find a 540K today. You really have to check out the full results here, but I’ll tease you with this 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up. It sold for $77,300.

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up

Bonhams held a sale during the Goodwood Revival. The top sale here was our featured Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix car for $9,511,542. It was kind of a no-brainer that this would be the top sale, as Bonhams has been killing it lately with competition cars bringing huge sums. Apparently they currently hold world records for 11 different marques at auction, which is pretty impressive (they probably hold more, but don’t want to look up all of the smaller marques over the years).

Cool cars start with this 1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type Low-Chassis Tourer which sold for $307,413. Our featured Invicta did not sell.

1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type 'Low Chassis' Tourer

Our featured Connaught did not sell either. But this 1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans did. It actually raced in the 1934 24 Hours of Le Mans. It sold for $136,966.

1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans

Two other interesting cars: first this 1951 Jaguar XK120 Competition Roadster which brought a big $228,277.

1951 Jaguar XK120 3.8-Litre Competition Roadster

And this super-cool 1985 Audi Quattro SWB Coupe. A very rare rally car for the road, it brought $185,409.

1985 Audi Quattro Sport SWB Coupe

And finally, let’s go to our featured Jaguar XJR-8 race car. It sold – but that’s all the information that was provided. Bonhams didn’t provide a final amount – but I will refer to it as a “mysterious sum in the neighborhood of $1.4 million.” Anyway, you can check out the full results here.

Ex-Mansell John Player Special

1984 Lotus Type 95T

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 17, 2013

1984 Lotus Type 95T

There are a few racing liveries that really stand out above others. Among them: Gulf, Martini and – of course – John Player Special. The tobacco company started sponsoring Lotus Formula One cars in 1968. This black and gold paint scheme would be a part of F1 through the 1986 season and the current Lotus F1 team uses the colors – albeit with different sponsors.

The Lotus 94T was raced at the end of the 1983 Formula One season without much success (a lone podium and many retirements). It was competitive, but not great. For 1984, Lotus introduced the 95T. It was powered by a Renault-Gordini 1.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6. In race trim it made about 700 horsepower. For qualifying, that number was bumped up over 1,100! Four cars were built for that season to share between Lotus drivers Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis.

This car was driven by Mansell and includes the following race results (I can’t find if Mansell drove this particular car at more races than this or not):

  • 1984 Monaco Grand Prix – 13th (with Nigel Mansell)
  • 1984 Dallas Grand Prix – 6th, from first career pole (with Mansell)

It has since been retrofitted to accept computer input, making it easy to start and drive today (for historic events and parade laps). This is a Turbo Era F1 car that was raced by an F1 Champion. It’s also from one of the racing’s most storied manufacturers and carries one of racing’s most emblematic paint schemes. It can be yours for a price they won’t estimate. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in California.

Update: Failed to sell (high bid of $450,000)