With the Lotus 14 of 1959 – better known as the Elite – Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars.
Just as innovative as Lotus’s outright competition cars, the Elite featured a fibreglass monocoque body tub, independent suspension all round (based on that of Lotus’ racing monopostos’) and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the four-cylinder Coventry-Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam unit, while the gearbox, an MGA unit fitted with an alloy casing and modified bellhousing, was sourced from BMC.
The classically-styled body – the work of stylists Peter Kirwan-Taylor, John Frayling, and aerodynamicist Frank Costin – possessed an admirably low coefficient of drag, though it made few concessions for comfort or noise suppression. That is not likely to have bothered the Elite’s customers, for whom its 112mph top speed and superlative handling were of far greater importance than creature comforts. Indeed, so successful was the Elite on the racetrack that the car dominated its class well into the 1960s. Noteworthy achievements include five class victories at Le Mans and two wins in the prestigious ‘Index of Thermal Performance’.
Rolling of the production line on the 25th of August 1959 the car was registered by its first custodian Jonathan Sieff, (part of the Marks and Spencer family) in March 1960. The same year that Mr. Sieff was entered to share the driving of a 2-litre (FPF) Elite with Innes Ireland at Le Mans.
Offered with a vast assortment of spares and a very detailed history, in its current ownership #1046 has attended various Club Elite events including 50th anniversary at Silverstone and the 60th anniversary at Castle Combe, and in recent years it has travelled twice to France. Fitted with engine #7562 (original to the car), and being a very early example built before February 1960, JAT 41 has the added benefit of being MOT exempt!
Included in the cars extensive history file is a detailed account of the cars history, JAT41 specific paperwork such as photos and invoices, a collection of Elite related literature and handbook. A more detailed account of the cars ownership, service history and list of the spares offered with the car are available on request and are found in six storage boxes