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1957 Lotus Eleven Club

Sale price: $125,000.00 make an offer

Car location: West Palm Beach, Florida, United States

Sale type: Fixed price listing

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1957 Lotus Eleven Club for sale

Current customer rating: current rating for this car(2) based on 86 votes

Click the image to WATCH:  the Lotus Eleven Club model

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[isdntekvideo] .ytvideo * { box-sizing:border-box; } .ytvideo { margin:.5em auto 40px auto; max-width:480px; font-family:arial; text-align:center; position:relative; min-height:120px; background-color:#555; } .ytvideo p { position:absolute; margin:0; color:white; background-color:rgba(0,0,0,.5); } .ytvideo .yt_hd { font-size:16px; width:100%; height:28px; padding-top:6px; text-align:left; top:0; left:0; padding-left:10px; overflow:hidden; } .ytvideo .yt_ft { font-size:12px; width:100%; bottom:0; left:0; } .ytvideo img { display:block; max-width:100%; border:0; } .ytvideo a:after { content:"\A0\25BA"; position:absolute; width:60px; height:40px; left:0; top:0; right:0; bottom:0; margin:auto; border:0; border-radius:10px; color:white; background:rgba(0,0,0,.6); font-size:24px; padding-top:11px; cursor:pointer; } .ytvideo a:hover:after { background:#CC181E; } .ytvideo .yt_inp { position:absolute; top:100%; left:0; width:100%; text-align:center; padding:.5em .2em; border:0; color:white; background: rgba(0,0,0,.7); } @media(max-device-width:960px){ .ytvideo { margin-bottom:60px; } .ytvideo .yt_inp { padding:1em .2em; } } This is an authentic Lotus Eleven Series 1 (front swing-axle), built by Lotus as a Club model and originally fitted-out as a road car. It has been owned since 1975 by the seller and restored by him to original specification. There are no other Lotus Elevens known to have been originally built to street spec that remain so today. Over the last 47 years the car has had two rebuilds around its original steel spaceframe chassis. It has its original Coventry Climax FWA engine s/n 6966 (1098 cc) now in Stage 2 tune, MG-A transmission as original, with original steering & suspension, original Club-spec live-axle rear and drum brakes. The last rebuild beginning in 2005 gave it a “new” stressed aluminum undertray and inner panels, aluminum doors and side sponsons, lightweight fiberglass bonnet, tail and cowl panels. It is the open cockpit configuration with lower “wide cockpit” doors, street windscreen and fabric hood, all as originally fitted.      History: The Lotus factory build card shows the following detail for Eleven chassis 273: Built at Lotus Engineering Co. from January 22, 1957 to March 3, 1957 and shipped to USA New York distributor, Tony Pompeo. Equipped with Coventry-Climax FWA 6966 (stage 1 tune), MGA trans, N/M rear axle with 4.55 ratio, and painted white with a blue stripe. Photographed on a New York City street in 1957-8 with photo included in The Book of Sports Cars, Markman / Sherwin 1959. That early photo is shown in the video. Car still unsold when Tony Pompeo went out of business in 1958. Seen & inspected in 1958-9 by J. C. Kilburn in a NYC warehouse with other unsold, bank re-possessed Lotus Elevens from Pompeo's inventory. (Kilburn was there on behalf of European Motors, a Lotus distributor that replaced Pompeo. He noted this car's full street configuration with the only set of side curtains he had ever seen on an Eleven.) Car comes to Florida in 1959-60 without engine, body or identity as part of a purchase / trade of Lotus Eleven car & parts between someone in the NYC area and Lee Lilley in Miami. Purchased from Lilley soon after by Burrel Besancon of Ft. Lauderdale to use as a parts car to his racing Eleven. Sold by Besancon in 1967 as a rolling chassis to Julian “Pop” Mericle who built it into a special for SCCA D/Sports Racing using a Devin body and DKW 750cc engine. Raced as the”Mericle Special” from 1968 to ‘72, being invited once to the SCCA national runoffs at Daytona but did not participate. The Lotus/Devin/DKW was sold by Mericle to Rick Habersin of Miami (1972) who raced it in local SCCA events and a few times on the Hialeah Speedway dirt oval. Car purchased by Andy Anderson in 1974 for use in SCCA Drivers School. Car purchased next by Jay Sloane in 1975 for use in SCCA Drivers School. After 15-minutes on track the DKW engine blew-up, ending the car's racing period. Over the next two decades Sloane met and interviewed each previous owner from 1960-on as his research finally revealed the chassis number. A return to original specification was then achievable. The concise ownership history is: Tony Pompeo (1957-?), unknown (?-1959/60), Lee Lilley (1959/60), Burrell Besancon (1959/60-1967) "Pop" Mericle (1967-1972) Rick Habersin (1972-74), Andy Anderson (1974-75) and from 1975 with the present owner. The present owner joined the USA-based Lotus Eleven Register (LER) in 1975 and the UK-based Historic Lotus Register (HLR) shortly after. He resumed the long-dormant LER newsletter in 1996, transitioning it into the website. He became the HLR Eleven co-registrar with Victor Thomas in 2009. This Lotus Eleven benefits from the owner's involvement in Lotus research (re-locating the original Climax engine in 1997 and re-uniting it with the car) and expertise in restoring it not only as a rare Club model but to the ultra-rare street spec it was originally built to.      Restoration: Beginning in 1976 with factory blueprints in hand the original chassis was checked for compliance with the evolution of design details and updates to learn where it fit into the sequence of Lotus Eleven manufacture. In others words, what did the chassis itself reveal as to when it was made? Details proved it came from late 1956 to early 1957. In the late 1960s it had been modified for the Devin body and had a welded-in frame for an SCCA-required rear fuel tank as well as the first of several rollover bars. These mods were later replaced with correct structure by the current owner, a trained aircraft mechanic and fabricator. Due to rust-through of the 1” square tubing at the bottom perimeter of the cockpit, that tubing was also replaced. After welding was completed the chassis tubes were internally coated with rust preventative and the outside primed and painted in the original light gray enamel. The chassis today is still original, accurate in all dimensions and perfectly sound.  New aircraft-spec aluminum alloy sheet was used to re-create the inner paneling, side sponsons and doors following templates to the exact shape as original, with side bulkhead and center tunnel wire beading welded to the chassis, as original. A combination of Monel and stainless steel rivets (depending on location) were used in the original rivet holes on the majority of the chassis with the proper rivet spacing on the remaining new tubes. Aluminum rivets were used only on alloy panel-to-panel areas. The chassis-tub is correct, straight and drum-tight with no flex or creaking. Rear control arms were remade using the original ends and NOS English Ford E93 front spindle assemblies replaced the original ones. The remainder of the original steering, suspension and brake components were re-installed with new bushings after everything was rebuilt or reconditioned. The rear shocks are Armstrong (Lotus) units from 1957 while the fronts are Koni's that were available in the 1960s, all of which function as new. Both brake masters and all wheel cylinders were last resealed in 2018 when the system was converted to synthetic fluid. All the original parts that were replaced have been saved and are included with the car. The MGA transmission uses the original street ratios and was rebuilt in 2019 with new 3rd & 4th brass synchros and the uprated (longer life) second gear & steel synchro. The clutch is an MG competition type from the 1950s with a new release bearing. The driveshaft has new U-joints. The Nash Metropolitan rear axle is currently fitted with a 4.22 R&P with the original 4.55 assembly included as a spare. All seals were last replaced in 2019. The rear splined hubs are late Sprite/Midget spec with higher strength than the original bolt-on Club hubs – which are included as rare & interesting spares. Wheels are Borrani 54-spoke 15” x 4” alloy rims, including the spare. Tony Pompeo sometimes fit Borrani's to his Elevens (he was a Borrani distributor) and there is no other explanation how this “parts-car” would have had them in 1960. The wheels are unrestored, still showing traces of the Borrani decals from 1957. Tires fitted to the car today are Michelin ZX, new in 2019. The rear tires are 145R-15 while the fronts and spare are 135R-15. These sizes are appropriate for a Club and cause no interference with the bodywork regardless of ride-height. The narrower front tires allow maximum steering lock & minimum turning circle. The electrical system was replaced in the 21st century, starting with the harness, but uses all original-spec Lucas / BMC components. It is supplemented with an electric cooling fan hidden within the radiator duct and a system kill-switch beneath the cowl within reach of the driver. Lucas LeMans headlamps and all other lights are functional so the car can be driven at night. The wipers are disabled, as their use can damage the Lexan windscreen. The fuel tank is the original Lotus type, aluminum with a quick-fill Monza cap, mounted on the passenger side beneath the cowl. The tank is filled with fuel resistant foam that was new in 2018. The tachometer and speedometer are Smiths Chronometric (mechanical) and operate quietly. The speedo shows mileage from a previous vehicle but reads speed accurately in the Lotus. The tach is NOS and needs calibration. Other gauges are Smiths reproduction and operate accurately. The only non-original switchgear is a hidden toggle for the discreet radiator fan and the kill-switch.Interior trim is faithful to what Lotus was doing in 1957 and is the best approximation to what this car had when new. Several Elevens were given black upholstery at buyer request when the typical red would have clashed with the outside color. Since this one had a white & blue exterior the decision was made to restore the interior in black. The steering wheel is quickly detachable. The fabric top is a recently made copy of a 64-year-old original. (Despite the top, the car isn't all-weather and should avoid rain.)The bonnet, tail and cowl panels on the car are thin fiberglass, lighter than standard yet more resistant to damage and easier to maintain than alloy. (The original alloy body was taken off the car prior to 1960 and is no longer traceable.) The present panels are outwardly indistinguishable from aluminum ones even down to the rivets. The cowl and doors are the “wide cockpit” type only used with full-width windscreens. No more than a dozen of this type were made (most were Clubs) and offer extra elbow room for driver and passenger. It is another unusual original detail of this particular Eleven. The paintwork on the car today is concours quality, professionally done by Brian Jenkins in 2019. There is a blemish at the rear edge of the front left wheel arch that needs spot refinishing. This is circled in yellow in one of the photos. The Coventry Climax FWA (s/n 6966) engine is the original 1100cc unit for Lotus Eleven #273 but was removed around 1959 and spent the next forty years inside another Eleven that once raced in the northeast USA. It took twenty years of research and some luck to trace it to the Eleven that had been part of the trade that first brought this car to Florida in 1959-60. This engine was still in good running condition when in 2001 master engine builder Carl Whitney in Ayer, Massachusetts began a complete rebuild of it. It has a fully ported and polished cylinder head, 10 to 1 compression, Climax (not aftermarket) racing cam and produces about 85 HP with its twin SU carburetors. It is what was considered Stage 2 tune, the typical spec fitted to other new Elevens in 1957. It remains a reliable and tractable engine but does require high-octane gasoline to run properly. Since leaving Carl Whitney's shop the engine has had fewer than twenty hours of runtime: only street use with trips to shows, etc, and never raced or over-revved. Very few “improvements,” modifications and non-1957 Lotus technology have been added to this Eleven. There is no chrome moly, epoxy, extra tubing, rollover bar or restorers' re-design. The owner spent decades searching for and finding NOS parts, using only original methods to complete and return it to the specification it left the factory with. The intention was to take a Lotus Eleven badly in need of a rebuild and give it an educated restoration to 1957 condition. It can be driven to a show event, presented as the original Lotus Eleven it is, win a trophy and be driven home again with all the thrills a street Eleven offers.     Documentation: Since 1984 the car has had a Florida State vehicle title issued for it in the seller's name BUT it shows incorrect information. At its last sale in 1975 and when titled this Eleven was still a racing special, officially described as a LOTU – CV – 56 – 800lb. For the VIN the title references the identification number from its SCCA logbook, a number assigned by the South Florida SCCA region that had nothing to do with Lotus. The model year shown was based on a prior owners best guess at when it was built. THIS TITLE COMPLICATION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN LIGHT OF WHAT A PURCHASER INTENDS TO DO WITH THE CAR Despite the inaccurate title data the car was road-registered with it for several years. That registration has expired.Additional documentation includes a recent Florida State inspection with VIN verification reference to the Lotus ID numbers (chassis #273 and engine #6966 accepted as correct for this car by the Historic Lotus Register) so a buyer has a future option to re-title the car with historically accurate data.A wealth of information and photos exist to support the provenance of the car and the assertions made about it. All documentation, photos, spare parts, some special tools and an open trailer are included with it.      Video: This Lotus Eleven is examined in a YouTube video: "the Lotus Eleven Club model" via the link above. In the first thirteen seconds and in the final ten minutes the car can be seen and heard. Many more images and details of this car can be studied there.       Availability: This Lotus Eleven is complete and ready to go to a new home. It sits atop an open trailer and can be easily towed from its current location in South Florida. After nearly 47 years with it the seller hopes a sympathetic new owner will preserve it as one of the few remaining Lotus Elevens with original chassis and engine. A rare Eleven built to run on the road.The person interested in owning this car should have the courage to make an offer for it.  

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