As the author of Lotus 49: The Story of a Legend, to be published this September, could I point out a couple of inaccuracies in your July piece on the Rob Walker Lotus 49? You stated that Lotus had loaned Rob Walker 49B R2 for the Race of Champions in 1968 and that it was subsequently destroyed by fire in Walker’s garage. In fact, it was chassis 49/R4 – a standard 49 not a 49B, which Jim Clark drove to his 25th and final victory in the 1968 South African GP, which proved to be its one and only start!
It was then sold to Rob Walker and was crashed by Siffert in testing before the Race of Champions. The fire which destroyed it was started by a spark while it was being stripped down in Walker’s garage. A recreation of 49/R4, sanctioned by Rob Walker, has subsequently been built and made its appearance last June.
After the Race of Champions Chapman loaned Rob Walker 49/R2, the ex-Clark Zandvoort winner a standard 49 not a 49B as there was no other chassis available to sell to him! Siffert made his first appearance in the car at the International Trophy meeting in April 1968 and drove it until the Walker team took delivery of 49B/R7, just in time for the British GP.
On its return to Team Lotus, R2 was resprayed in Gold Leaf colours and high wings and nose fin, added for Jackie Oliver to drive at Brands. This was because he had written off his 49B in a huge accident at Rouen-les-Essarts in practice for the French GP. Apart from the wings, this was still a standard 49, with ZF box and original suspension, which made Oliver’s performance in the race against Hill in the latest specification 49B all the more creditable. Incidentally, it is this very car, converted to 49B spec immediately after the British race, which was sold the next year to American Pete Lovely, who still owns and races it today.
I am, yours, etc. Michael Oliver, Witney, Oxon