Fresh to market Lotus 49B is to go under the hammer at the Bonhams Festival of Speed auction on 27 June. Paddock magazine is all ears and eyes on this one.
One of the most renowned of legendary Lotus head Colin Chapman’s landmark Formula 1 car designs, the Lotus 49 as introduced in 1967 not only launched the racing world’s most successful Grand Prix power unit – the Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 – into racing history, it also became one of the longest-lived of Grand Prix car designs – serving Team Lotus into 1970, and being campaigned by such superstar World Champions as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi.
Chassis number ’49-R8′ was part of Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s motor racing armory, and is the last Lotus to be sold from the collection of the much respected and sorely missed British-born Formula One Lotus collector and racer, the late John Dawson-Damer.
Never before offered at auction, ’49-R8′ was built in October 1968 and is one of a handful remaining of just 12 Lotus 49s produced. Its Colin Chapman concept, detailed by his gifted designer Maurice Phillippe, perfected a stressed-skin monocoque forward fuselage which terminated immediately behind the driver’s cockpit, to which the brand-new Cosworth-Ford DFV engine was then bolted as the rear chassis member, carrying the ZF or Hewland gearbox and rear suspension.
“This car, chassis ‘R8’, was Graham Hill’s – it was also raced by that wonderful driver Richard Attwood to set the fastest lap at Monaco in 1969, and private owner Dave Charlton drove it to become South African national Champion. Add the excellent provenance of it being offered direct from the famous Dawson-Damer Collection and plainly ‘R8’ is an iconic car.”