1954 Lotus-Climax Mk VI
Chassis no. Mk6/24 (see text)
The Glasius Collection includes a magnificent cross-section of Lotus cars ranging in date from the early-to-mid-1950s into 2000. This Lotus Mark VI which is offered here complete with FIA documentation and which was campaigned by former British Saloon Car Champion John Fitzpatrick in the 2002 Goodwood Revival Meeting represents the earliest period of Lotus Engineering Company car manufacture for general sale.
The prototype Lotus Mark VI was first road registered on July 8, 1952, as 'XML 6'. Michael and Nigel Allen, Colin Chapman and Hazel Williams all drove the new Lotus in races at Silverstone that July and an 'Ecurie Lotus' entry saw Michael Allen practice for the International 'Daily Mail' 100-Mile sports car race at Boreham in August.
However, on the way back to the circuit from North London on race day, Nigel Allen was the luckless driver as the car was written off against a bread van. For once Lotus was considered blameless, and the other driver's insurers paid out...
Despite its short life, the prototype Mark VI had already impressed and had attracted orders for similar cars. Into 1953 several Lotus Mark VIs were complete and racing, each built from a basic kit and powered by numerous alternative engines including Ford 1172cc side-valve, a 747cc supercharged MG J4 and an effective replacement Consul unit mated to the late prototype's Austin gearbox.
Nigel Allen built himself a true replacement 'XML 6' with side-valve Ford engine while Colin Chapman gave '1611 H' - a new Lotus works demonstrator, its race debut at Goodwood. The second Mark VI chassis had been ordered from John Teychenne and David Kelsey's new Progress Chassis Company, situated just round the corner from the Lotus works behind Stan 'Father' Chapman's pub in Tottenham Lane, Hornsey. Dave Kelsey considered that "We'd be lucky to get orders for five or six by which time the market would be saturated" only for the 750 Motor Club's newly-announced 1172 Formula series based upon the Ford side-valve engines to gain tremendous support. The Lotus Mark VI proved ideal, and Progress would manufacture more than 80 such chassis frames through 1953-55. According to the Historic Lotus Register a grand total of some 110 Lotus Mark VI cars were produced and assembled in period.
This particular Glasius Collection example was built up from suitable parts and new-built components during the 1990s, the frame and body being completed by the well-respected restorer Fred Fairman while leading Lotus specialist Mike Brotherwood was responsible for the car's completion to running order.
It is powered by an 1100cc Coventry Climax 4-cylinder sohc engine and two alternative body tails are available with the car one a tucked-down 'racing tail', the other a road-suitable tail section with space for "spare wheel and number plate".
Virtually every detail of this most endearing little Lotus is in line with original 1950s-style manufacture, even including its Ford drum brakes with cable operation. The car's FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form lists its chassis number as 'Mk6/24' its Dutch road registration is 'DH-69-92' and its engine number is 'FW400-2 8376', displacing 1098cc. Year of Restoration is specified as being 1993.
This is a widely useable and most attractive example of Lotus VI design and manufacture. No expense has been spared in its construction, restoration and preparation and as offered here it surely offers a new owner a Colin Chapman/Nigel Allen brand of open-air, open-road motoring in finest 'fifties fashion.