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The First-Ever Lotus F1 Car Could Be Yours

Key Takeaways

  • The first Lotus F1 car, which marked the beginning of the legendary Lotus racing team’s dominance in Formula 1, is hitting the auction block.
  • This historic vehicle was driven by the iconic Graham Hill and paved the way for Lotus’ seven Constructors’ and six Drivers’ championships.
  • With a rich history and restored to running condition, this car is expected to fetch between $310,000 to $416,000 at auction.

The first ever Lotus Formula 1 car is set to go up for auction. It’s one of the featured lots at the Bonhams auction on May 10 in Monaco and although it might not command the outrageous price of more modern F1 auctions, this is truly something special. This historic vehicle kicked off what was to become a force within F1 racing and is fittingly being auctioned in the region where it debuted.

This isn’t the first Lotus race car, but rather the first Lotus designed to attempt F1. Under the guidance of Colin Chapman, the Lotus team won seven Constructors’ and six Drivers’ Championships thanks to its superior car designs, and this Type 12 – offered via Bonhams – started it all.


The Real Team Lotus

Lotus teams have gone through some changes over the years, eventually splitting into two privately-held Formula 1 teams both claiming to be the real Lotus team. Go back before the split to when it all started, and then you have the original Team Lotus. In addition to the Constructors’ and Drivers’ wins, that team nabbed a total of 74 wins from the 1950s to the 1990s.


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This car was raced by Lotus eight times from 1957 to 1959, competing in both F1 and F2 since the rules at that time permitted crossing over between the two categories. It was also the first-ever F1 entry for legendary driver Graham Hill.

Lotus First F1 Car Engine

A History of Owners

After its run with the Lotus team, the car was sold multiple times to owners who entered the vehicle in a variety of races. It remained in good condition throughout the years, eventually making its way to an Australian vendor who had the car completely restored to running condition.

With the spectacle of modern F1 races and reimagined Lotus vehicles like the Type 66, it’s hard to imagine that this car was once cutting edge, but it truly was special for its time. This piece of racing history could be yours, but unsurprisingly, it won’t come cheap. Although there’s no telling what will happen when the auction starts, Bonhams estimates that it will go for between €290,000-€390,000, or roughly $310,000 to $416,000.

Lotus First F1 Car Rear Quarter

#FirstEver #Lotus #Car

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