THE LO­TUS 22

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature -

Built pri­mar­ily for the For­mula Ju­nior (FJ) se­ries, the Lo­tus 22 was a sin­gle-seat rac­ing car de­vel­oped di­rectly from the Lo­tus 20. Up­dates from the older car in­cluded disc brakes all round; 13-inch rear wheels (down two inches on those fit­ted to the Lo­tus 20); a lower body due to a more se­verely canted en­gine, which meant a more re­clined po­si­tion for the driver; and a re­vised sus­pen­sion set-up. A dou­ble-skinned bulk­head and thicker space-frame tub­ing also meant the 22 was stiffer and more ro­bust than the out­go­ing 20. Most of the 77 ex­am­ples built were pow­ered by a dry-sump 1098cc Cos­worth MKIV or MKXI en­gine. In stan­dard tune, th­ese de­vel­oped around 70kw. A few cars were fit­ted with a 1498cc Lo­tus Twin Cam — at that time, a new en­gine that had just been in­tro­duced with the Elan. Of course, any Lo­tus 22 us­ing th­ese larger-ca­pac­ity mo­tors would have been in­el­i­gi­ble for FJ. Un­veiled at the 1962 Rac­ing Car Show, the Lo­tus 22 was avail­able to cus­tomers at a cost of £1500. Although con­sid­ered ex­pen­sive in its day, the 22 proved to be a pop­u­lar choice among FJ pri­va­teers — es­pe­cially as Lo­tus works driver Peter Arundell scored a re­mark­able 18 wins from 25 starts in his Lo­tus 22 FJ. In­deed, so com­plete was Lo­tus’ dom­i­na­tion of the se­ries that many be­gan to ac­cuse it of cheat­ing. This led to a fa­mous bet between Lo­tus supremo Colin Chap­man and mo­tor rac­ing writer Richard von Franken­berg, who be­lieved Lo­tus was us­ing over­sized en­gines. A wager of £1000 was agreed on, and the test in­volved 30 laps of Monza, with the Lo­tus’ en­gine be­ing dis­man­tled and mea­sured fol­low­ing the on-track out­ing. It was driven by Arundell, who broke his pre­vi­ous lap record at Monza, and, fol­low­ing a com­plete ex­am­i­na­tion, the 22’s en­gine was found to be within FJ ca­pac­ity lim­its. An em­bar­rassed von Franken­berg was forced to apol­o­gize and, of course, hand over a cheque for £1000. The Lo­tus 22 con­tin­ued its win­ning ways in 1963, FJ’S fi­nal sea­son. Although it was ef­fec­tively swept away at the end of that sea­son to make way for For­mula 3, through the en­thu­si­asm of peo­ple such as Dun­can Rabagliati and the For­mula Ju­nior His­toric Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, to­day, FJ is en­joy­ing a world­wide resur­gence in in­ter­est. And, with so many Lo­tus 22s hav­ing been pro­duced, they re­main a pop­u­lar choice for his­toric rac­ers.

sin­gle-seaters. A new Richard­son cylin­der head was fit­ted, along with a lighter, stiffer crank­shaft and a Richard­son-spec ex­haust but with a US- de­signed col­lec­tor for more torque. In ad­di­tion, all the sus­pen­sion bolts were re­placed, with ny­lock nuts used through­out. The 22’s gear­box in­ter­nals were then 90-per­cent new but with the cor­rect For­mula Ju­nior ra­tios.

Noel’s orig­i­nal aim was to build a good For­mula Ju­nior car with the ad­van­tage (as com­pared to his Gemini) of a re­li­able five-speed Hew­land gear­box, a new Richard­son head, and four-wheel disc brakes.

“I had seen and pho­tographed many ju­niors over the years, but those with the high­est stan­dard of prepa­ra­tion were un­doubt­edly the Lo­tus 22 and 27 cars owned by UK racer Andrew Hib­berd. Un­con­sciously, over time, the new base stan­dard was to match or ex­ceed the level of ex­cel­lence achieved with Hib­berd’s Lo­tus 22,” he said.

The end re­sult was an un­der­weight car that will need some bal­last — a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage, as many FJS strug­gle to get un­der the 400-kilo­gram limit. It’s been fully re­stored back to For­mula Ju­nior spec as it ran in the UK and Europe with Jonathan Wil­liams for the An­glo-swiss Team in 1963, and Noel said he be­lieves that the fi­nal re­sult was “as near per­fec­tion as pos­si­ble in ev­ery de­tail.”

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