When Bonhams announced it will offer the incredible ex-Scuderia Ferrari 375-Plus in its exclusive sale at FoS this year, we reckoned there wouldn’t be another lot in the catalogue to rival it in terms of top billing. It would appear we were wrong.
The Lotus 49 was a remarkable car, even by Colin Chapman’s standards. It won on its debut in the hands of Jim Clark, introduced to the world the Cosworth-Ford DFV (which went on to become the most successful Grand Prix motor of all time), and served the team for the best part of four seasons of racing before being replaced.
This car is chassis number ’49-R8’ which was originally used by Graham Hill in the Tasman Series in 1969, just months after securing the 1968 World Championship in another Lotus 49. Following a successful showing in the Antipodean series the car was returned to the UK, upgraded to ‘49B’ specification and driven to seventh in the British Grand Prix by Hill before being sold to famous Swedish racer Jo Bonnier.
The car then found itself in South Africa in the hands of Dave Charlton who won two consecutive South African F1 Championships with it before it was eventually sold – in a damaged state – to esteemed British Lotus collector John Dawson-Damer, who restored it and added it to his impressive collection of Lotus cars. At this year’s Festival of Speed it could be yours.
Will it run the Ferrari close in the bidding stakes? We’ll find out in June…