1959 LOTUS 15
The Lotus 15 marked the end of the era of large cubic capacity cars in the Manufacturers World Championship. In 1958, the DBR-2 Aston Martin with its 3.9 litre engine dominated its rivals thanks to its lightness and its remarkable road-holding. In the British Empire Trophy Graham Hill, at the wheel of a 1.5 litre Climax engined Lotus, managed to maintain a steady gap between himself and Stirling Moss. Cliff Allison also experimented with a 2 litre engine and a five speed transaxle gearbox on a Formula 2 Lotus. In 1959, the works driver, Graham Hill, was still able to find enough speed to keep a whole pack of opponents at bay among which were 150 and 200 S Maseratis, RSK Porsches, TN-Oscas and above all the 2.5 Litre rear-engined Cooper. However, the days of the front-engined racing car were numbered and in the 1959/60 season both the Lotus 19 and 23 had their engines mounted behind the driver.
The Lotus 15 offered here was supplied new directly to the USA for SCCA events, the first owner being Mr.Chamberlain, who used the car with Pat Pigott in 1959/60. In 1961 the car was sold to a John Willock, who continued to race the car in America, sharing drives with William Wonder. In 1970, the car was sold to Murray Smith, an English gentleman that has always lived in America and is very well known in the historic racing scene. In 1975, Steve Grizwald purchased the car, which was sold again in 1981 to Peter Kaus, at the Rosso-Bianco Museum in Germany.
The car was displayed in the museum, and features in the famous Rosso-Bianco book, as a full page (Page 123). In 1997, the car was purchased by Coys on behalf of a very highly regarded UK collector, and has been in his ownership until now. During this period, the car has been maintained by Martin Greaves at Classic Performance Engineering.
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photo and text credit: © 2011 Coys