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Lotus Mark IX: Wikis


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Lotus Mark IX
Manufacturer Lotus Cars
Production 1954-1955
Predecessor Lotus Mark VI
Successor Lotus Eleven
Class Sports racing car
Body style(s) roadster
Layout front engine, rear drive
Platform tubular space frame
Engine(s) Coventry Climax 1098 cc
Transmission(s) manual 4 speed (MGTF)
Wheelbase 7 ft 3.5 inches
Length 11 ft 7.5 inches
Width 4 ft 8 inches
Height 2 ft 3 inches
Curb weight 1080 lbs
Related Lotus Mark VI
Designer Colin Chapman

The Lotus Mark IX was an aluminium-bodied sports racing car manufactured by Lotus Engineering Ltd. and was closely related to the Mark VIII of which only about seven cars were made. These cars were largely based on the innovative space frame of the Lotus Mark VI. The highly aerodynamic bodies were designed by Frank Costin and constructed by Williams & Pritchard Coachworks. During this early era of 1954-1955, Lotus Engineering was still a fledgling company, and cars were delivered in different states of completion on special orders. Similar to the Mark VIII, the Mark IX was available in various configurations and different engines including the 1500 cc MG, 1500 cc Connaught and 2 litre Bristol were fitted, however, the Mark IX designation is most often powered by the 1100 cc Coventry Climax engine. Apparently two models of Mark IX were offered – the "Club" and the "Le Mans", the latter of which had larger drum brakes fitted.

Compared to the Mark VIII, the Mark IX was shortened somewhat to a wheelbase of 7' 3.5", and the body itself was about two feet shorter than that of the Mark VIII. A total of about thirty of the Mark IX sports racing cars were produced in various forms and these were successfully raced in both Europe and the US. The first two examples of the Mark IX were apparently delivered to the US with the 1100 cc Coventry Climax engine to compete in the 1955 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring race and were beaten by a Porsche Spyder. These cars were actually entered as Lotus Mark VIII models in the G class by Frank Miller of Larchmont, NY and by Bobby Burns and Norman J. Scott of Houston TX in respectively cars number 78 and 79. The Lotus works entered at least one Mark IX in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1955 driven by Chapman, which may have been equipped with disc brakes, however the car was disqualified apparently due to his reversing the car to re-enter the race track after going off course.

The Lotus Mark X, of which only 6 or 7 were made, was essentially identical to the Mark VIII but made use of the larger 2 litre Bristol engine. The Lotus Mark VIII, Mark IX and Mark X were transitional forms although they represent the first full bodied aerodynamic Lotus sports cars, they made use of the deDion tube as a rear suspension locator, and also inboard rear brakes. The more successful Lotus 11, of which 270 were manufactured between 1956 and 1958 was the direct descendent of these earlier cars. The earlier cars are today considered rare and highly valued collectible automobiles, even museum pieces, but can still be seen raced in vintage events.



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