This 1959 Lotus Elite combines a startling low weight and a beautiful aerodynamic shape with a host of desirable performance upgrades. Find the vintage racer for sale here on eBay in Oceanside, California.
Buoyed by the growing sales of his formula and sports racing cars, Colin Chapman unveiled his first production sports car, the Lotus 14, in 1957. Also known as the Elite, this new car shocked the auto world its stressed-skin fiberglass monocoque chassis, incredibly low aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.29 and, most of all, a curb weight barely exceeding 1,100lbs.
As one of the earlier, Series I cars, this Elite would have normally claimed a 75hp Coventry Climax inline 4cylinder engine and an MG 4-speed transmission among its original equipment. Instead, these have been replaced at some undetermined point with the more powerful 1600 series engine and the far superior ZF transmission.
Photos show the car to be in good—though certainly not show car—condition. The engine sports dual side draft Webber carburetors, the trunk houses a new fuel cell, and the body appears free of any major cracks. Best of all, the car is currently owned by a well-regarded dealer who has undertaken numerous repairs in preparation for a return to vintage racing, but now sells the Elite due to too many existing projects.
If the Elite were ours we’d finish sorting the mechanicals, leave the bodywork as-is and enjoy one of the lightest and best balanced sports cars by driving it in vintage races across the country.