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1958 Lotus Elite Earls Court Motor Show car to star at Silverstone Auctions sale

Published on 9 Jul 2020, 07:30
  • Used as the launch car for the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show
  • Bought new by jazz legend Chris Barber
  • Restored by Ant Anstead for a Channel 4 special, For The Love Of Cars
  • Extensively raced in top-level International Sports Car racing from 1958 to 1963
  • Class winner of the 1963 Goodwood Tourist Trophy
  • Eligible for many major international events

The Lotus Elite that starred at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show is set to star again in The Silverstone Classic Live Online Auction from the 31st July – 1st August.

This Lotus Elite is the first customer car and went on to have a fascinating history. One of Colin Chapman’s favoured customers was the jazz legend Chris Barber and he became the very first owner of this little Lotus.

Having appeared at the Motor Show in the October, this 1958 Lotus Elite was then entered into its first race on the 31st December after a very quick turn-around to get the car race-prepared and sold to jazz legend Chris Barber. Chris went on to compete in it for five seasons across the UK and Europe. It was also driven at the time by Sir John Whitmore who broke the class lap record at Spa in this very car whilst on the way to class victory.

After the Elites eventful racing career, it was hidden away for decades and re-emerged in 2016. It was then made famous again by Ant Anstead featuring in a special edition of Channel 4’s For The Love Of Cars, where it received a fully documented restoration.

The previous owner had already started to restore the car but sadly passed away before he got to finish it. The car was then sought out by Ant Anstead for his TV show with Philip Glenister, For The Love Of Cars, which had become a ratings hit for Channel 4. Ant bought the car and set about restoring it to the highest standard and returning it to the racetrack whilst filming it for a special edition of the television show.

The car was stripped and all the top Elite specialists were consulted to ensure the car was returned to its former glory. No expense was spared, the engine was rebuilt by Coventry Climax specialists and the best roll cage to FIA standard from Fabricage was fitted. The original gearbox was sourced and rebuilt. Every detail has been restored to a better than new standard.

This is now the most delightful car, as Clive Chapman said: “designed as a road car but really succeeded most as a race car.” It has the latest current FIA HTP papers, Period E- 1947-1961 which are valid until 31st December 2026 and is now a passport for any major international events.

Silverstone Auctions sold this car in 2016 and the purchaser has never used it. Now offered still in pristine condition this Lotus Elite Type 14 Mk1 is a wonderfully unique opportunity for any collector.

Nick Whale, Silverstone Auctions Managing Director commented: “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. 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.”

For full details of the restoration please visit the website, alternatively you can watch the programme on Channel 4.

Silverstone Auctions welcome enquiries from seriously interested parties and are happy to arrange appointments to view. They can be contacted on 01926 691141 or email enquiries@silverstoneauctions.com and would be happy to talk with you about this Lotus Elite or other cars offered in their sale.