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Lotus Eleven
A Lotus Eleven at the Lotus Brands Hatch Celebration 2007 A Lotus Eleven at the Lotus Brands Hatch Celebration 2007
Manufacturer Lotus cars
Production 1956-1958
Class Sports car
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) Coventry-Climax FWA (1098 cc) SOHC Inline 4 cylinder
Transmission(s) BMC A30, 4-speed
Wheelbase 2,159 mm (85.0 in)
Length 3,403 mm (134.0 in)
Width 1,500 mm (59 in)
Height 810 mm (32 in)
Curb weight from 412 kg (910 lb)

The Lotus Eleven was a racing car built in various versions by Lotus from 1956 until 1958. The later versions built in 1958 are sometimes referred to as Lotus 13, although this was not an official designation. In total, about 270 Elevens of all versions were built.

Contents

The Lotus Eleven

The Eleven was designed by Colin Chapman and fitted with a sleek body designed by aerodynamicist Frank Costin. Its standard version, dubbed Le Mans, was fitted with a 1500 cc (92ci)[1] Coventry Climax engine mounted in the front of a tubular space frame and featured a De Dion rear axle and Girling disc brakes. Fully loaded, the car weighed only about 1,000 lb (450 kg). Versions for a 1100 cc (67ci)[2] Climax engine (Club) and a 1172 cc (72ci)[2] Ford engine (Sport) were also produced; both featured a live rear axle and drum brakes. Some versions of the Le Mans were fitted with a closed body with gullwing doors to meet GT specifications.

Lotus Eleven at Donington Park

Despite the wide variety of engines installed, the car was primarily designed to compete in the 1100 cc class where it was one of the most successful cars during the mid- to late-1950s. In 1956, An Eleven, modified by Costin with a bubble canopy over the cockpit,[2] was driven by Stirling Moss to a class world record of 143 mph (230 km/h) for a lap at Monza. Several class victories at Le Mans and Sebring followed, and the Eleven became Lotus' most successful race car design.

In 1957, the Eleven underwent a major design change, including a new front suspension and improvements to the drivetrain. Although officially called Eleven Series 2, these late models are sometimes informally referred to as Lotus 13s, since they were produced between the 12 and 14 models and the 13 designation was not used by Lotus.

The Westfield XI replica

Westfield XI
Westfield11rear.jpg
The rear of a Westfield replica
Manufacturer Westfield Sportscars
Production 1982-present
Class Sports car
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 1275 cc BMC A-Series engine
Transmission(s) 4 or 5-speed
Wheelbase 2,286 mm (90.0 in)
Length 3,657 mm (144.0 in)
Width 1,625 mm (64.0 in)
Height To top of screen: 863 mm (34.0 in)
Curb weight From 530 kg (1,200 lb)
Fuel capacity 18 L (5 US gal; 4 imp gal)

Beginning in 1982, Westfield Sportscars started production of a faithful replica of the 1957 Le Mans racer with a fiberglass body, available as either a finished car or a kit car. The factory-finished cars were usually fitted with an uprated 1275 cc BMC "A" engine (the same engine that was used by such classics as the MG Midget and the Austin Healey Sprite), although some factory cars were fitted with Ford Kent engines. Kit cars were sold without engines, and owners have fitted anything from the Coventry Climax to Lotus twincams and Alfa engines to the chassis.

In 1983, the magazine Road & Track featured an article about the Westfield XI replica, telling the story of how the magazine's team built a kit car and subsequently took it for a 5,000-mile (8,000 km) cross-country trip from California to Wisconsin. The article is said to have sold more Westfields than anything else the company could do to advertise their cars [1].

Production of the original Westfield XI ceased in 1986, although the company offered unsold kits until about 1988. In 2004 Westfield re-started production of the Westfield XI, still based on the A-series engine.

References

  1. ^ Setright, L.J.K, "Lotus: The golden mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1224.
  2. ^ a b c Setright, p.1224.

External links

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