I read with great interest Doug Nye’s article ‘History — a given, not a gift’, and agree with most of it, particularly with regards to comments that would have been made by Jenkinson and Boddy. Why some ‘racing motorists’ go to all that bother and expense to lower a lap time by such a small amount escapes me. At the sharp end, of course, there is a great deal of wealth and the desire to command the headlines. As Doug rightly points out, historic racing cars have a much longer life now than in period. I think that is why so many people prefer to race historics than current cars which quickly lose their value.
I am fortunate enough to have owned quite a few Lotus cars, both road and racing, and I endeavour to keep them as historically original as is possible. I have a racing Lotus Elan, modified to 26R specification, which is very quick (or would be in the right hands). It is not original in the accepted sense — it has more power and lots of replacement ‘go faster’ bits. It is extremely competitive, and the value is kept high because of its winning potential.
I also own a genuine ex-Team Lotus, ex-Alan Stacey Lotus XI which is of undoubted and undisputed provenance. I bought it via the person who had purchased it directly from Alan Stacey. The car has been carefully refurbished, using all original parts, including chassis, wheels, bodywork, and even the original 1100cc engine. I can drive it in suitable events, but it is not and will not be competitive against the more advanced, restored and modified Elevens. It is, however, a beautiful car — lovely to look at and a great drive in a completely different way to the Elan. Both cars are straightforward and honestly presented, examples of not having to collude or pretend with others to present a false scenario.
So which car is correct and acceptable according to your article? I notice the quote from Jenks, but may I give you a further quote from my friend, the late John Dawson-Damer, who said “the better guys will always win, but the winners are those who can run their cars well, look good, sound good, enjoy themselves and be an entertainment to those who come to have a look. It is not racing, it is motor sport, and that is the difference”.
Malcolm Ricketts, by e-mail