1959 LOTUS 15 - Ex 12 h from Sebring from 1959
The Lotus 15 was developed from the Lotus 11. It is a more competitive, more powerful and much rarer car than any of the Lotus 11s. Only 27 Lotus 15s were built in their day, compared with 270 Lotus 11s, making it a rare specimen of a model which is very seldom offered for sale.
This particular car is chassis N° 618-3. The figure 3 indicates that it was one of the Lotus 15 Series 3, the most proficient and successful of the series developed at that time. Our 618-13 started its career in the United States and Canada in the hands of the Canadian driver Harry Entwistle.
This particular Lotus 15 is very well-known to the Lotus 15 Register. It was actually the first Lotus 15 series 3 to be entered in an international race.
Between 1959 and 1963, Harry Entwistle lined up in it in numerous endurance races, including the celebrated 1959 Sebring 12 hours.
The Lotus 15 is a car built to win: at the 2012 Le Mans Classic, a Lotus 15 won the scratch race, in 2008 a Lotus 15 came third and in 2013 at Porto, a Lotus 15 took first place ahead of an extremely competitive AC Cobra…. It has also won the Sussex Trophy several times….
The engine capacity of a number of Lotus 15s (the 618/3 included) was boosted at the time from 2 to 2.5 litres. In present-day Historic races, however, the maximum engine capacity allowed is only 2 litres. In this way, race organizers seek to reduce their extreme competitiveness with respect to their rivals: Aston DBR2s, Lister jaguars, Monaco Coopers, Ferrari 250 SWBs, etc…
The 618-3 joined the ASCOTT Collection after 13 years spent with its previous owner. The car’s maintenance was carried out by the celebrated firm of classic car tuners and restorers Crosthwaite & Gardiner, specialists in the reconstruction of the Coventry Climax FPF engines which power the Lotus 15s. Crosthwaite & Gardiner carried out the complete restoration and installation of the car’s current engine. Since then, the rejuvenated engine has only run for 4 hours in race track conditions. The original engine, with matching numbers, has also been fully restored by the British firm and has only run for a few minutes on their test bench, for testing and validation purposes (the dynosheets are available for both engines). 4 new, purpose-built wheels were purchased from Crosthwaite & Gardiner in 2013, to serve as a spare set of wheels.
The Lotus 618-3 is a regular competitor at the Goodwood Revival, the Stirling Moss Trophy, the Le Mans Legend (the traditional curtain-raiser to the Le Mans 24 hours) and the Le Mans Classic (which it has already raced in on four occasions). The Lotus 15 on offer affords a rare opportunity to acquire a ready-to-race car with high collector value thanks to its clearly and fully documented history.