Introduced at the 1962 Racing Car Show, the 23 was arguably the most successful sports racer ever to wear a Lotus badge. Another typically brilliant Colin Chapman design, the nominal two-seater owed much to its 20 / 22 Formula Junior siblings. Based around a multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, the main longitudinal members of which acted as oil / water conduits between the nose-located radiators and mid-mounted engine, the newcomer was equipped with all-round independent suspension, front / rear anti-roll bars and four-wheel disc brakes.
Deceptively simple yet aerodynamically sound, its lightweight bodywork housed a sparse cockpit featuring the semi-recumbent driving position then coming into vogue. While, the earliest cars were powered by a 1097cc Cosworth-Ford engine allied to a Renault four-speed gearbox, a whole host of drivetrain combinations subsequently found their way under the 23’s fibreglass skin. Coming on stream for the 1963 season, the 23B featured a strengthened spaceframe and uprated running gear. Typically specified with the famous Lotus-Ford 1558cc ‘Twin Cam’ engine mated to a Hewland five-speed box, it proved a real giant killer.
Though, ever since the May 1962 Nurburgring 1000km when Jim Clark had decimated Ferrari 246SP, Porsche 718 WRS and Aston Martin DBR1 opposition before blacking out due to an exhaust leak, the world had been only too aware of the model’s potential. A winner at club, national and international levels of circuit racing on both sides of the Atlantic and as far afield as South Africa and Australia, the Lotus was also a familiar sight in various European Hillclimb Championships. Attracting thirty orders almost as soon as it was announced, total 23 / 23B production is thought to have amounted to 131 cars.
The Lotus 23B offered today is finished in the iconic Lotus colours of Green and Gold. It was imported by the current vendor to France in the 2000’s after some years of race history in the United States.
Currently fitted with a Ford ‘Twin-Cam’ 1600 engine and Hewland five-speed gearbox, the 23B has reportedly done just 4 races since refurbishment of both the gearbox and engine. With bills on file the gearbox was overhauled by Tony Thompson in 2007 and the Engine by ‘George’ racing fabrication in 2008.
With the Lotus having previous race history in the Masters Historic race series, entry for competitive historic racing is well within reach for the new owner.
The car comes complete with FIA Historic Technical Passport.