At £55k, a Lotus classic – needs a little care
IT’S 60 years old, in bits and in desperate need of a paint job.
But this 1959 Lotus Elite has such a colourful history that, even as a jumble of parts, it is expected to fetch around £55,000 at auction.
The car once belonged to a swashbuckling Battle of Britain hero who entered it into the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour race.
Since then it has passed through the hands of a series of owners, with the last one stripping it down ready for restoration. He, however, died before he could complete the project and now the car is up for sale at auctioneers Historics, of Iver, Buckinghamshire. Though the parts could take months to reassemble, most are accounted for.
John Williams, of Historics, said: ‘This is a very special restoration opportunity.’ He said the car had ‘a fascinating Le Mans history, and characterful ownership’.
The Lotus was bought from new by Flight Lieutenant James Richard Stoop. He flew Hurricanes and Spitfires during the war and in between missions developed his racing skills by tearing round the tarmac at RAF Westhampnett in West Sussex.
After the war the fighter pilot became an established racing driver, and competed at Le Mans a remarkable ten times. He entered his Lotus into the 1959 race just 11 days after buying it. However, it never made it to race because of a serious collision after a practice session.
Flight Lieutenant Stoop, known as Dickie, died of a heart attack at the wheel of another car in 1968. He had sold the car to Porsche racing driver Patrick Guy Godfrey in 1966.
The sale takes place on May 18.
Stripped down: The 1959 Elite is a major restoration project Dashing: The lean lines of the 1959 Lotus in its racing days