Fresh to market Lotus 49B is to go under the hammer at the Bonhams Festival of Speed auction on June 27.
One of the most renowned of legendary Lotus head Colin Chapman’s landmark Formula 1 car designs, the Lotus 49 as introduced in 1967 not only launched the racing world’s most successful Grand Prix power unit – the Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 – into racing history, it also became one of the longest-lived of Grand Prix car designs – serving Team Lotus into 1970, and being campaigned by such superstar World Champions as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi.
|Graham Hill, Lotus 49B Ford, Silverstone (Photo: Bonhams)|
Chassis number ‘49-R8’ was part of Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s motor racing armoury, and is the last Lotus to be sold from the collection of the much respected and sorely missed British-born Formula One Lotus collector and racer, the late John Dawson-Damer.
Never before offered at auction, ‘49-R8’ was built in October 1968 and is one of a handful remaining of just 12 Lotus 49s produced.
Its Colin Chapman concept, detailed by his gifted designer Maurice Phillippe, perfected a stressed-skin monocoque forward fuselage which terminated immediately behind the driver’s cockpit, to which the brand-new Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 engine was then bolted as the rear chassis member, carrying the ZF or Hewland gearbox and rear suspension.
The Lotus 49 instantly set new Formula 1 performance standards, and won its debut race, the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Jim Clark.
In 1968 Graham Hill won his second Formula 1 World Championship title in the developed Type 49 and 49B cars and, when brand new, chassis ‘R8’ - now to be offered by Bonhams - became the new World Champion’s mount for the Tasman Championship races in New Zealand and Australia in January-February 1969.