THE very first production Lotus Elite, bought new by jazz legend Chris Barber, and recently restored for Channel 4’s For the Love of Cars, will be auctioned by Silverstone Auctions at the Silverstone Classic Sale on July 30.
The first Elite produced as a proper production vehicle rather than a pre-production prototype, this 1958 Lotus Elite Series I, chassis 1009, was displayed at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show. It was then purchased by one of Colin Chapman’s most favoured customers and personal friend, Chris Barber, in December 1958.
The car, the first racing Elite, has an incredible race history, with Barber racing it extensively for five seasons in top-level international sports car racing in both the UK and Europe. As well as competing in three consecutive Tourist Trophy races at Goodwood in 1961, 1962 and 1963, the Elite raced at the Nurburgring and in the British Empire Trophy.
During this period it was also driven regularly by Sir John Whitmore, the ‘Racing Baronet’, who famously broke the class lap record at Spa using ‘CB23’ while on his way to class victory in the Grand Prix GT Support Race of 1962.
Hidden away in storage for many years, the car has just emerged from a top-quality, very exacting restoration carried out by Ant Anstead’s team at Evanta Motors with assistance from Lotus marque experts, all filmed as part of the new series of For the Love of Cars.
After competing at the Silverstone Classic on Saturday July 30, the car will go under the hammer as the first lot of the day estimated at between £75,000 and £100,000. The auctioning of the car will also be filmed for the popular Channel 4 series.
Ant Anstead said: “Every detail has been restored to better than new standard using only top quality components. The result is car that is a joy to behold and a thrill to drive, in pristine condition and ready to race.”