First Production Lotus Elite Has An Amazing History And It’s Not Ready For Retirement Yet



A Lotus Elite, which also happens to be the first production car after a run of eight prototypes, is about to go under gavel once again, after it last changed hands for a small fortune four years ago.

Built in 1958 and prepped for racing, it was purchased by jazz legend Chris Barber shortly after, a close friend of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, who raced it in the United Kingdom and continental Europe for five seasons. Sir John Whitmore also sat in the driver’s seat and broke the class lap record at Spa on his way to victory.

After its career in motorsport, the classic sports car was kept away from the road for a few decades, before it reemerged in 2016. It was then fully restored by Ant Anstead in a special edition of Channel 4’s ‘For The Love Of Cars’, during which everything was carefully taken care off, including the engine and gearbox, and he returned it to the racetrack.

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Subsequently, it was sold for £121,500 (equal to $152,744 at today’s exchange rates) and it is now looking to change hands once again, with SilverstoneAuctions responsible for finding it a new home. The auction house describes it as being in “pristine condition” and “a wonderfully unique opportunity for any collector”, adding that “it has the latest current FIA HTP papers”.

“This is a superb little Lotus that has had an amazing life. Just over 1,000 Elites were made and not many cars have this type of wonderful history and provenance, it ticks every little box”, said Silverstone Auctions’ Managing Director, Nick Whale. “It has been beautifully restored by Ant Anstead, now a presenter and master mechanic on Wheeler Dealers. This car will give the next owner so much joy and fun.”

Details surrounding the estimated selling price haven’t been made public, but anyone looking to place a bid will have to visit their online auction that runs between July 31 and August 1.

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