1962 Lotus Elite Type 14
Initially exported to Singapore in 1963 on behalf of the Crown Prince of the State of Johor; returned to the UK in 1985; extensive restoration; looking superb
When it first appeared at the London Motor Show 65 years ago, the Lotus Elite (Type 14) caused a sensation. Not only was it acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as the world’s most beautiful GT, it also positively bristled with technical innovations. Breathtakingly futuristic by the standards of the mid-50s, it featured the world’s first fibreglass monocoque, a masterpiece of aerodynamic efficiency (largely the work of Frank Costin) that reduced drag to an astonishing 0.29cd (a modern Porsche 997 can only manage 0.31cd by comparison) and kept the kerb weight down to just 684kg (compare that to the Porsche’s 1,480kg!).
Powered by an all-alloy 1,216cc Coventry Climax FWE inline four-cylinder engine producing some 75bhp, it could touch 115mph and was blessed with the sublime handling that all Lotus cars are famed for. Although it was trumpeted as Colin Chapman’s first production road car, it immediately attracted the attention of the competition fraternity. An Elite won its first race at Silverstone in 1958, humbling much larger machinery and finished an amazing eighth at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959.
This particular Mk14 Elite is well-known to the Lotus Elite World Register. It was assembled by the Lotus factory and shipped immediately to Singapore for the Sultan of Johore - Crown Prince of the State of Johore.
It retains its original specification – the most desirable specification in fact, sporting twin Weber carburettors and sought-after, all synchromesh ZF Gearbox. It is fitted with genuine Borrani wheels with painted spokes and wheel centres and polished aluminium rim flanges and is shod with original specification 155R15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres – it even has a full tank of petrol! The car comes with an extensive history file of past invoices, MOT’s V5 green slip, etc.
It changed hands a few times among the well-to-do in Singapore and competed regularly in various motorsport events with the Malaysia, Singapore Vintage Car Register and the Johore Motor Club.
The car is fondly remembered by past owners and the then President of the club in a series of emails in the file accompanying the car. The car also comes with its original red “Republic of Singapore Vehicle Registration Book”.
It returned to England in 1985 and once back, was maintained by renown Lotus Elite specialists Miles Wilkins of Fibreglass Services and Tony Thompson Racing. A major restoration was completed by Tony in 2008. The FWE Climax engine was stripped in 2016 and rebuilt by Phillips of Wormley.
FSV 890 in its current ownership competed carefully in the 60 years of the Lotus Elite celebration race at Snetterton, fortunately without the need to modify the car. It is still in full standard road trim and had a special dispensation because it was the 60th Anniversary race, but it did finish last. FSV 890 also featured in a five page article in “Classic Cars Magazine”, a copy of which will accompany the car. Other than that slightly strenuous exercise, it has seen only gentle light use since.
The vendor had originally intended to use the car on the circuit in a big way, but he has now bought a fully prepared Lotus Elite racing car. He just didn’t have the heart to convert such a lovely car as FSV 890 with all the modifications needed to compete in modern racing. It was considered a much better thing to keep FSV 890 as it is and race a car that was already modified for the track.
With its solid history, desirable specification and proven reliability, this lovely Elite offers a new owner the chance to enjoy some fabulous road miles and/or some mild competition if they so desire.
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