1959 Lotus Elite
Lot 127
1959 Lotus Elite Series I Chassis no. 1089 Engine no. 10382
Sold for US$ 80,300 inc. premium
Auction Details
1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite 1959 Lotus Elite
Lot Details
1959 Lotus Elite Series I
Chassis no. 1089
Engine no. 10382
1,216cc SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Alloy Engine
2 SU Carburetors
75bhp at 6,300rpm
4-Speed ZF Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes

*Expertly restored Elite
*Known history back to the 1960s
*Charming color combination
*A true and pure sports car
*Offered with extensive history file



The Lotus 14

With the Lotus 14 of 1959 - better known as the Elite - Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars. The Elite was, nevertheless, conceived with competition in mind, as Chapman had his sights set on class wins at Le Mans and the Monte Carlo Rally.

Just as innovative as Lotus's outright competition cars, the Elite featured a fiberglass monocoque body tub, independent suspension all round (based on that of Lotus' racing monopostos) and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the four-cylinder Coventry-Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam unit of 1,216cc producing 75bhp initially, while the gearbox, an MGA unit fitted with an alloy casing and modified bell-housing, was sourced from BMC.

The classically-styled body - the work of stylists Peter Kirwan-Taylor, John Frayling, and aerodynamicist Frank Costin - possessed an admirably low coefficient of drag, though it made few concessions for comfort or noise suppression. That is not likely to have bothered the Elite's customers, for whom its 112mph top speed and superlative handling were of far greater importance than creature comforts. Indeed, so successful was the Elite on the racetrack that the car dominated its class well into the 1960s. Noteworthy achievements include five class victories at Le Mans and two wins in the prestigious 'Index of Thermal Performance'.


The Motorcar Offered

Believed to have been delivered new to UK home market, the sporting Elite offered here, chassis no. 1089 was finished at the Lotus works on November 11, 1959. In the car's comprehensive history file are records dating back to 1967, with MOT test records from 1970. The car remained in the UK, where it was thoroughly restored by Lotus specialist David Bruzas in the late 1990s. Photos of the car are available from before, during and after the restoration, and show a very well-cared-for Elite prior to its restoration. During the restoration, the gearbox was thoughtfully swapped with a later and highly desirable series II Elite ZF 'box. It also appears that the original engine was replaced with a later unit during the same time.

In 2005, the Elite was exported to Texas, where it was purchased by an avid sports car enthusiast before being purchased by the consignor. Finished in the classic silver-grey color, accented by a darker gunmetal-grey roof, the Elite is presented in the same livery as the car displayed at the Elite's unveiling during the 1957 Earls Court Motor Show. The chrome wire wheels and yellow Lotus badge offer sporting looks to match the car's sprightly performance. A wonderful model suited for spirited tours or drives, these utterly intelligent sports cars are collected by enthusiasts around the world, and offer much joy for the money.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Special Car Dealer Notices

Dealers license, number 49015

Contacts
  1. Mark Osborne
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3353
    FaxFax: +1 415 503 3300
  2. Motor Cars (US)
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 415 391 4000
    FaxFax: +1 415 391 4040
  3. Rupert Banner
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6515
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  4. Jakob Greisen
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3284
    FaxFax: +1 415 391 4040
  5. Eric Minoff
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1630
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  6. David Swig
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3285
    FaxFax: +1 415 391 4040
  7. Evan Ide
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work Boston, United States
    Work +1 917 340 4657
  8. Nick Smith
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5470
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843