First ever Lotus Elite goes on sale

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The first Lotus Elite ever built is set to go under the hammer after a comprehensive restoration for Channel 4 TV show 'For The Love of Cars.'

Chassis number 1009 was the ninth Elite to be built, but it was the first full production vehicle. It was purchased by Chris Barber, a legend in the jazz world and a personal friend of Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

The Elite made its debut at the 1957 Earls Court Motor Show and wowed the crowds with its new fibreglass construction. At £2,000 it was twice the price of the recently announced Lotus Seven, but was considered good value thanks to the extra complexity and performance on offer.

Chapman was obsessed with efficiency, so his cars were all very light and aerodynamic. The Elite has a drag coefficient of just 0.29, and managed 40mpg. This obsession helped Lotus grow from an unknown manufacturer when the Elite's production began, to a household name across the world. Lotus race cars had dominated everything from club racing to F1 over the Elite's five-year production run.

First ever Lotus Elite goes on sale

First ever Lotus Elite goes on sale


This particular car has been overhauled by renowned restorer Ant Anstead. It has been built as a racing car for use in historic racing series, and is not currently road registered.

The car was completely stripped back to a bare monocoque so experts could examine it, before being repainted in UDT Green. The car was then fitted with an FIA-approved roll cage to meet safety legislation, and a racing interior was bolted in.

The whole car has been restored to a 'better than new' standard, and is set to go under the hammer at Silverstone Auctions on 30 July. It is expected to sell for around £100,000.