The ex-Colin Vandervell
1967 Lotus-Ford Type 47 Competition Coupé
Chassis no. 47GT48
This Lotus 47 competition coupé is offered here in virtually the same condition in which it was acquired for the Glasius Collection from a London auction sale in 1996. It had been overhauled by Lotus specialist owner Nick Atkins prior to sale, and has never been "run or even touched" in its current ownership. It has, however, been carefully preserved in the highest standard dry storage. As offered here, it lacks drive-shafts but is equipped with a contemporary specification Lotus-Ford twin-cam 4-cylinder engine featuring the now very rare but in period highly effective - Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection system. This power unit drives to a Hewland FT200 Formula 2-type transaxle gearbox, again as originally specified in period.
We understand that the car's original owner was Colin Vandervell son of bearings magnate and Formula 1 Vanwall constructor Guy Anthony Vandervell and himself a very successful budding racing driver in minor Formula cars through the later 1960s.
The period green logbook accompanying this potentially extremely rapid and competitive GT car records its original UK registration on October 3, 1967. Its entries continue with the ownership of Christopher Leonard Edwards, of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, commencing May 11, 1972 followed by Nick Atkins of Lee Green, London from March 28, 1978.
Lotus Components Ltd produced the Type 47 competition coupe soon after the source design, the Lotus Type 46 Europa, had entered production at the Hethel factory in Norfolk. The Type 47 shared the basic Europa backbone chassis but in its Type 47 guise this structure was lighter in construction with shorter rear Y-arms in the engine bay,welded box-section cross-member and a deeper forward T-section. While the car's suspension was based upon that of the Europa it benefited for competition use from the adoption of Type 59-style light-alloy rear uprights, with tubular top suspension links, reversed lower wishbones, and extended trailing arms on each side. The competition suspension was Rose-jointed throughout, and the top front wishbones were fully adjustable. Competition drive-shafts which replaced the fixed-length shafts of the Europa design - featured rubber doughnut-type inboard joints and outboard universal couplings by BRD.
The Type 47s were powered by rear-mounted 1594cc Lotus-Cosworth Ford 13C 4-cylinder engines, assembled with steel crankshafts, dry-sump lubrication and Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection. Thus equipped, the Type 47 deployed some 165bhp. Some customers adopted Lucas fuel-injection or the less costly option of two twin-choke Weber carburettors. The engine drove via a Hewland FT200 five-speed transaxle with limited-slip differential. The car carried two aluminium fuel tanks amidships, providing some 20 Imperial gallons capacity and filled via quick-release fillers on each side.
The Type 47's nose accommodated a crossflow water radiator and separate oil cooler, while the moulded glassfibre body panels were lighter then the Europa's while sharing the same overall shape and configuration, apart from the wheel arches which were enlarged and reprofiled to accommodate competition-sized wheels and tyres.
Inside the typically spartan competition cockpit standard features included the wrap-round seat, safety harness and fire extinguisher system, while the foot pedals were mounted upon an adjustable block, while the seat position remained fixed. The small-diameter steering wheel was trimmed in 'grippy leather'.
Future Formula 1 driver John Miles gave the Type 47 its victorious competition debut at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting of 1966. Through the following season of '67 he went on to win eight times in the Lotus Components works entry, and co-driving with Jackie Oliver Miles also won the car's category in the World Championship 1967 BOAC '500' six-hours race at Brands Hatch. This triumph at the Kentish valley circuit was achieved in face of strong Porsche opposition, all crushed by the lightweight, nimble and very fast works Lotus. In fact John Miles/Jackie Oliver placed ninth overall there, racing wheel-to-wheel with Chaparral 2F, Ferrari 330P4 and 412P, plus Porsche 906, 907 and 910. Lotus 47s such as this mixed with the best.
During 1968 the Lotus 47 continued to shine in British events particularly setting ten new circuit lap records and again winning its class in the Brands Hatch World Championship of Makes race. The winning works car on that occasion was again shared by Miles/Oliver, and they finished tenth overall, in company with Porsche 907 and 910, Ford GT40, Ferrari 275LM and Lola T70GT...
John Miles also won the 2-litre class in the John Player Trophy race at Silverstone and was second overall in the International Trophy meeting sports car event there. Jackie Oliver won his class in the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy and also a feature event at Croft. At national and club level Lotus 47s accumulated dozens of awards through that 1968 season.
This original-specification grand touring Lotus survives today as a fine example of a model which was actually far more successful and achieved far more than perhaps popular memory recalls. It is one of perhaps 55 believed to have been produced 1966-68 by Lotus Components Ltd, and it will surely provide a new owner with some extremely enjoyable and potentially very competitive Historic racing.
- Please note that the original owner of this Lotus Type 47 was British enthusiast Clive Vandervell, rather than his better-known cousin Colin Vandervell.