Lotus MkVI (1954).
A very early Lotus in immaculate condition.
In 1952, Colin Chapman introduced his first proper production car, called the Lotus Mark VI. It had a space frame chassis which weighted only 25 kg, and the alumunium body was constructed by panel beaters Willams and Pritchard. Most of the mechanical parts were sourced from the Ford Prefect, as these were easily available. The Mark VI became a popular sight on British racetracks, and was a frequent winner due to its very good handling and superior acceleration. The philosophy of Colin Chapman was "Add lightness", and that was exactly the case with this magnificent Mark VI. In total, 110 examples were constructed, and it became the foundation for further successes of Lotus Cars on road and track.
This example with chassisnr #058 was delivered new in 1954 to Chris Lindsay of Downpatrick (Northern Ireland), and registered as SZ11. It was painted British Racing Green and powered by a Ford EOTA four cylinder 1508cc Consul engine. It was raced by the owner and Leslie Innis at Kirkistown, Dundrod, Craigantlet Hill Climb and Wicklow during the 1954, 1955 and 1956 seasons in various specifications. With the Ford Consul unit normally aspirated on single and twin carburettors, and also blown with a front mounted supercharger and finally with one of the then new FWA Coventry Climax engines fitted. Also latterly with wire wheels to the front and sometimes with twin wheels bare of wings to the rear. The car gets a mention and is pictured in the Autosport issues of both 25th June 1954 (Kirkistown) and 20th May 1955 (Dundrod). On 12th June 1958 the car was re-registered SZ9119 (as the owner wished to retain the SZ11 mark), and it is still on this numberplate.
In 2002, the car has been completely restored and reverted to original 1954 specification with 1508cc Ford Consul engine and MG 4-speed gearbox. This ground-up restoration was carried out by F.J. Fairman near Bodmin, Cornwall. This restoration is fully documented with pictures and invoices. Together with the car comes a huge file with period pictures, articles, letters and race results, and it must be one of the best documented Mark VI on this planet. The Lotus is still in immaculate condition, and has been entered in various events and concours d'elegance since.
In fact, this is a piece of history which will fit in the most prestigious car collections. With this car, the legend of Lotus started, and nowadays an early Mark VI can almost be considered like a piece of art. It is stunning to look at, and a revelation on the road. It is hard to believe that his car is now more then 60 years old, as it incredibly sharp to drive, while offering staggering performance for such a small engined machine. An automotive milestone, and still as impressive as in 1954 !