|Engine ||1.6 Litre|
|Transmission ||5 Speed Manual|
Delighted to have an extremely rare Lotus 47F for sale....current thinking is that just fifty-five Lotus 47's were ever constructed, with perhaps only five or six being built as this car is, to the more roadable 'F' spec - Lotus records are not conclusive, nevertheless, "rare as hens teeth", springs to mind here!
This car, chassis GT54 was sold new to a Scottish race team, MS Auto Tech and registered NUS 685F. However, at some stage the registration number got changed to 546 KVA and then intriguingly to it's current number 8880 TW in 1971. There is some speculation that this number refers to Tom Walkinshaw, but this remains unsubstantiated.
The third long term registered owner David Vinnel purchased #GT54 having spotted it for sale in AutoSport Magazine in 1973, retaining it up and until 2005. At that time the car was fitted with a Cosworth 13C block and head, however as with any race engines after several seasons of use, the block was rather tired. Mr Vinnel decided to change the block to a stronger and potentially more competitive 711M type, whilst retaining and rebuilding the original Cosworth head, and this is the engine the car still runs today.
When purchased the car was running the notoriously unreliable and somewhat fire prone Tecalmit Jackson fuel injection as originally specified for a Lotus 47. A lot of time was spent perfectly balancing the new engine. This longer stroke, rebuilt engine was supposedly generating circa 200bhp (at the rear wheels) in period and not surprisingly then enjoyed considerable domestic success in UK club events and hill climbs through the 1970's. The car got timed at around 175mph on an airstrip such was Mr Vinnel's quest for performance, but ultimately he switched over to Dellorto 45's for more tractability in the mid 70s, they remain on the car today. However, the TJ injection system is amongst the original old parts that remain with the car.
After an extensive and rare crash-free career, it was concluded that a full rebuild was required for the car to remain competitive. Work commenced and the car was stripped down, but ultimately, the scale of the challenge and the lack of parts being manufactured at that time meant that the project stalled. The totally complete but dismantled car then spent the next 30 years in the same garage until Mr Vinnel finally decided in 2004 that a new custodian was required to undertake the rebuild.
Despite competition from many other keen parties from all over the world, the current owner succeeded in securing the car. It was probably his close association and friendship with 47 specialist and guru Jeff Spencer, who would largely responsible for rebuilding the car that helped his cause, assuring Mr Vinnel that the car was to be rebuilt by the foremost 47 restorer around. Jeff spencer has to date fully restored 5 of these cars and his knowledge and attention to detail and originality is second to none.
The 47 had been painted in classic "Gold Leaf" red over white when Mr Vinnel acquired the car and then he had it painted in period 70's Lotus F1 JPS black and gold. However, the 47 had also been run in period Lotus Medici blue in its early racing life and this colour was chosen for the rebuild.
The extensive rebuild was carried out over several years as many new parts had to be remanufactured to original spec in the correct original materials, including many magnesium castings. The original tired chassis has been kept for reference purposes and a new chassis was fabricated; laser cut and tig welded to exacting standards plus finished in the correct original grey hue. The chassis then precisely bonded to the restored shell, which is absolutely critical as clearance of the wheels in the arches is marginal. Stripping of the layers of paint back to the gell coat revealed that the body had never sustained any accident (a photographic record of the rebuild substantiates this) one imagines this is pretty unique amongst 47's.
The lightweight body shell had suffered the usual crazing, so necessitated much re-tissuing and the body re-profiled with a lot of attention to panel gaps which are perfect and frankly much better than when new. The underside of the car is equally perfect. New original spec fuel tanks , fuel retaining tank as well as the oil catch tank all have been beautifully remade to original spec. The original FT 200 "2 bolt" gearbox was fully rebuilt by Jeff and the complex linkage rebuilt with the correct NOS rare period aircraft spec couplings resulting in an excellent gear change. A full engine rebuild was undertaken and completed by Sam Wilson Racing, with 420 cams fitted for torque and tractability. Dyno tested for an hour, max 175 bhp.
A decision was made not to touch the interior at all, bar the restoration of the instruments plus the refurbishment of the original pedals and pedal box. Thus the car retains a wonderful racing patina. Moreover, great efforts have been made to retain as many of the original parts as possible. Incidentally, most parts from suspension trailing arms to window brackets are factory stamped "GT 54".
The car was completed in 2012 and was a class winner at Salon Prive that year behind a 250 SWB Ferrari. The originality of the car winning over the judges despite more exotic but over restored opposition. It really must be the best example of a 47 in existence. A large history file accompanies the car including a recent feature is Classic & Sports Car magasine.
It would be a pleasure to answer any further questions you might have. This wonderful Lotus can be inspected at my Guildford showroom - please call me on 07788 865700.