The Inaugural Lotus Formula 1 Vehicle Is Set for Auction

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By Car Brand Experts

In the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, Lotus debuted in Formula 1 racing. Renowned five-time Monaco GP champion Graham Hill steered the racing car, and even though Lotus did not clinch the victory, the car displayed impressive performance.

Resembling a hot dog bun with an open end like a mouth, the aerodynamic 1957-58 Lotus-Climax Type 12 chassis ‘353’ carries a significant piece of racing heritage. Soon, it will be up for auction in the same nation where it first appeared in F1, at Bonhams’ “Les Grandes Marques à Monaco.”

vintage racecar on a track with people standing around it
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Described as “one of the most historically significant British Formula 1 Grand Prix cars,” Bonhams foresees high demand for this iconic racer. Lotus founder Colin Chapman designed the single-seater Type 12 in 1956 with aspirations of participating in Formula 1 by 1958. Bonhams mentions that only seven of these slender race cars were manufactured in 1957, with five entering official races.

Subsequently, the Type 12 was purchased by Maria Theresa de Filippis, an Italian female racer and the first woman to compete in Formula 1. Afterward, it exchanged hands amongst various racers and finally made its way to Australia, where it underwent a meticulous restoration process to regain its operational state.

The Lotus stands among a star-studded lineup at the Monaco event, where Bonhams will showcase several illustrious cars. Among them is a Delahaye 175 S, victor of the Monte Carlo Rally, a vehicle that could fetch over $700,000 at the auction. If resources permitted, I’d opt for the 1971 Maserati Ghibli, boasting less than 22,000 miles on its odometer.

Anticipated by Bonhams to sell for an amount ranging between $315,000 and $424,000, the Lotus will go under the hammer on May 10.

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