Silverstone Classic Race Car Sale 2017

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1963 Lotus Elan SI GTS (FIA Appendix K)

Lot No.: 124

Registration: BPR 559A
Chassis Number: 26/0308
Engine Number: LP/11601
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 1558
Year of Manufacture: 1963
Estimate (£): 58,000 - 62,000
(+buyer’s premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

According to Lotus Archives, Elan S1, Chassis Number 26/0308, left Lotus Cars on 9/12/1963 and was shipped to the Ecurie Shirlee Distribution Corp. in Manhattan Beach, California. Run by the legendary character and racer, Bob Challman, Ecurie Shirlee were Lotus dealers and distributors for many years and played a major part in the success of Lotus on the West Coast. We have no further information about the Elan's history for the next few years, but imagine that a smart little British sports car in Southern California in the Sixties would have enjoyed an interesting life.

We move forward to late 2009 when 26/0308 returned to the UK and was registered on 11/11/2009. It was now the property of Paul Tooms and formed part of his plans to compete in UK motorsport and the HSCC-Historic Road Sports Championship in particular. The car was entrusted to Witchampton Garage in Wimborne to be race prepared. There are box files of information regarding the car's initial build and ongoing development, obviously far too much to list here, but details of all this will be available from our Documents Office at the time of the sale, or prior to that by contacting Silverstone Auctions.

Over the next four years, 26/0308 (now BPR 559A) was campaigned with unparalleled success in HSCC -Historic Road Sports-Class 'C'. In the hands of Paul Tooms it won this championship outright in 2011 and 2012 before the car was sold to Roger Waite who was also a talented 'pedaler' winning outright at Thruxton, Silverstone International, and Silverstone Finals during 2013, and winning the HRS Class 'C' in 2015.

At the end of 2015, the decision was taken to sell BPR but not before all the paperwork had been brought up to date. The FIA-Historic Technical Passport was renewed (FIA Class-GTS10) and is valid until the end of 2025, and the car has a current HSCC Identity Form for 'Period F- Class C'.

Now the property of Ginetta racer, Patrick Ward-Booth, BPR did not run in 2016 but was subject to a total rebuild and, once again, the history file contains all the details, but to summarise;

  • All-steel Smirthwaite engine- built and maintained by John Smirthwaite-Less than three hours running
  • Recently rebuilt Gearbox by Competition Transmissions
  • Brand new genuine Lotus Chassis (£1,595)
  • Body completely restored and resprayed

The Elan is accompanied by the aforementioned Passports, its V5, acres of invoices, correspondence with Lotus and the DVLA, and, most importantly, lots of detailed running instructions, set-up sheets, operating instructions, lap times etc. Currently on SORN and the last MOT expired in March 2016.

There is an old adage that says that "Motor Racing is not expensive, it's Winning that's expensive" and whilst that's true, winning cars are often the cheapest to run. It's the years of changing components, trying different set-ups, frequently going the wrong way, the occasional corner-removing spin chasing the right balance, and testing, testing, testing, that puts stress-fractures on your credit card. This little Elan is ready to go; open the notes, check the best tyre pressures and likely fuel consumption at Brands, quick spanner-check, torque-up the wheel nuts, jump in, and if you are a reasonably quick driver (and why would you go motor racing if you didn't believe that was the case), stick it on the front row.

We, at Silverstone Auctions, look forward to being there on that day.