Up for auction is the first Lotus that participated in Formula 1

We normally treat auctions as unique pieces of our world's history (cars) and spend time understanding their origin and what makes them special. In this case the story speaks for itself and perhaps, this is the most important auction that we have been able to tell you about on autos.com.

On May 10, the Lotus Climax Type 12the first Lotus to compete in Formula 1. It was 1958 on the Monaco track when the future five-time champion of the track, Graham Hill, got behind the wheel of the “353”. He did not win at that time, but it was the first time that Lotus demonstrated its future power in the races. careers.

Auction specialists BonhamsLes Grandes Marques in Monaco They have baptized the Lotus as: “one of the most historically significant of all British Formula 1 Grand Prix cars” and therefore, we are going to review the history and meaning of this auction.

The auction

The Lotus-Climax Type 12 '353' from 1957-58 will have an auction estimate of €290,000 to €390,000 as we are talking about a tremendously outstanding historic car in the history of Formula 1 World Championship racing and the first competing car. in the top category of the emblematic British brand, which won seven titles, but it was also the same car that crowned Graham Hill as double world champion.

Previously driven by Graham Hill in the BRDC International Trophy race at Silverstone in 1958, the legend of the Lotus '353' extends to none other than seven Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship titlesat the hands of Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andrett, without forgetting other master hands such as those of additional Lotus drivers Ayrton Senna, Stirling Moss and Ronnie Peterson. In total, Lotus' Formula 1 Grand Prix victories total no less than 74 in total.

The design of the Lotus Type 12 was the work of Lotus founder, Colin Chapmanat the end of 1956. This “353” was his first single-seater after a series of racing cars. ultralight sports racing and elegantly aerodynamic cars with which he had established his brand's sophisticated reputation, from 1954 to 1956. The Type 12 single-seaters were built to compete in the newly launched Formula 2 class of international motorsport until 1957. They were built seven Lotus 12s in 1957, of which five were converted into factory entries. The star drivers of the Lotus team were Graham Hill and Cliff Allison, racing the first “353” racing car very competitively in F2 events, standing out in the fastest laps.

Colin Chapman later focused his attention in Formula 1 for 1958. The main class regulations allowed engines of up to 2.5 liters. There was no suitable power unit available that Lotus could afford, but Coventry Climax had enlarged its original F2 engine from 1500 to 1960 cc. The fact of adapting a provisional engine of such size into the ultra-light chassis of the Type 12 gave it the power to compete reliably on more winding circuits.

The Lotus team made its debut in Formula 1 with Graham Hill driving the “353” powered by the 1960 cc Climax engine in Silverstone on May 3, 1958. While his teammate Cliff Allison finished sixth overall to win the F2 class, Graham finished seventh in the F1 class to complete the team's premier league debut.

Later sold to British private entrant John Fisher, the Lotus '353' was raced in 1959 with drivers including the first female Formula 1 driver Maria Teresa de Filippis. The Lotus type 12 was later acquired by Frank Gardner and followed by four further owners from 1962 to 1991. Likewise, the Lotus has survived in remarkably original condition before being exquisitely restored to full working order by its current Australian seller, who has written the last chapter of the car before it is auctioned in May.

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