The ex-Ian Walker Racing Team,1959 Lotus-Climax 1.1-litre Type 17 Sports Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. 652

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Lot 509
The ex-Ian Walker Racing Team, 1959 Lotus-Climax 1.1-litre Type 17 Sports Racing Two-Seater
Registration no. BSJ 329 Chassis no. 652

£ 40,000 - 60,000
US$ 54,000 - 81,000
The ex-Ian Walker Racing Team
1959 Lotus-Climax 1.1-litre Type 17 Sports Racing Two-Seater
Registration no. BSJ 329
Chassis no. 652
This very carefully-prepared and sleek small-capacity Lotus-Climax has been something of a sensation in recent Historic sports car races, its owner/driver – now vendor – having achieved race performances which belie chassis serial ‘652’s small-capacity 1100cc engine size. In fact the Lotus-Climax 17 was created by Colin Chapman and his senior design engineer Len Terry as the next step forward from the beautiful Lotus 11, of which so many examples had been built, sold and raced with immense success worldwide through 1957 and ’58.

When Len Terry drew the Type 17, he produced a sports-racing projectile which was considerably smaller, and some 110lbs lighter than the Type 11. The new model’s frontal area was barely 9 square feet and its primary target as dictated by Colin Chapman was to wrest back superiority in the 1100cc sports-racing car class from the rival new Lola-Climax Mark 1s, produced by Eric Broadley. However, Len Terry’s brief from Chapman included provision of an unusual form of front suspension, employing ‘Chapman strut’ coil-spring/damper units. Terry was unconvinced of this system’s efficiency but ‘Chunky’ would not be swayed and it took chronic handling difficulties in the early Type 17s’ initial races for Len to prove his point. A double wishbone front suspension modification was then rushed through, and the definitive Type 17s – such as ‘652’ offered here – subsequently excelled in this modified form.

The wishbone front suspension modification was offered by Lotus as a retro-fit package to early customers. An alternative to the 1100cc engine was the 750cc Climax FWM unit which enabled Type 17s to tackle the Le Mans 24-Hour race against the traditionally French-dominated smallest-capacity class ‘tiddlers’. The particularly attractive and keenly-estimated example now offered here has the larger-capacity 1098cc FWA engine. This most beautiful little Lotus has been very effectively restored and race-prepared by British specialist David Noble – who has also been responsible for the Dutch National Motr Museum’s extremely successful large-engined Historic racing Lotus 15 – and it is offered here complete with FIA papers and in what is characterised throughout as ‘very good’ condition. We are advised by the vendor the car has been granted an entry in the BRDC Trophy Race at the 2003 British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone on 20 July.
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