Designed by Colin Chapman, the Lotus 23 was meant to participate in the World’s most prestigious endurance events. For its first appearance at the 1,000 km of the Nurburgring in 1962, the 100 bhp Lotus 23 outran the Porsche, Aston-Martin and Ferrari cars despites its competitors have as much as 4 times more power than the lightweight Lotus. After a single lap on the wet track, Jim Clark had built a solid 27-second lead over Dan Gurney’s Porsche 718.
A month later, the Lotus 23 was scheduled to enter in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but the cars were deemed dangerous by scrutineers. In response, Colin Chapman vowed to never participate in the race.
The Lotus 23 we are offering for sale is a superb 1964 B example. The 23 B was the Lotus 23’s first evolution (a C model was sold in the U.S.A. starting in 1965). It was powered by a new 1,558 cc Twin Cam engine. This engine provided approximately 160 bhp (175 / 180 today), an astonishing power for a car weighing in at only 480 kg, and fitted with a 5 speed Hewland gearbox.
This Lotus 23 B was delivered new to the U.S.A. to Eric Anderson, who entered the car in the USRRC Pacific Raceways USA race in 1966 (DNF) and 1967 (DNF) as well as in the ACCS Westwood Motorsport Park events in Canada in 1966 (12th) and 1967 (DNF).
This Lotus 23 B came back to the U.K. during the 1970s and entered several events in the 1977-1984 period, including in 1983-1984, driven by Stephen Mitchell. Subsequently sold to Willy Widar and Patrick Behar of London, it then sold to Patrick Lansard, Jean-Pierre Mondonnet (1985), then to Robert Sarrailh in 1993.
Under his ownership, the car was the object of a true nut and bolt restoration in 2002-2004 and fitted with a 63-liter tank. From 2006, the car was sold to the current owner. The car was entered in the Historical Endurance challenge the three next seasons. At the end of the 2008 year, the engine was serviced. It only participated in 4 sprint races since then.
The transmission and clutch were also recently serviced. Under the current ownership, the car was serviced by Lotus specialist Garage Ruphil (MR. Claude Rucheton). Thanks to this meticulous maintenance, this Lotus 23 B proved to be an extremely good and reliable performer. In all the races entered by the current owner, this Lotus 23 outran its siblings and finished every race.
This Lotus 23 B is in race-ready condition and can be used for the complete endurance season before the next service. A complete service was just completed in June 2013 with complete new clutch.
Delivered with its up-to-date HTP paperwork, this Lotus 23 B is immediately available in France. The sale includes a set of spares wheels with Avon rain tires.