Lotus information


Perhaps your readers would assist in a restoration by helping to identify a 1954 Lotus Mk. 8 that I bought through a Motor Sport advertisement two years ago. Like many early Lotus cars, it bears no chassis or registration number, and since it appears never to have been converted to highway use, the search is particularly difficult; nonetheless, it has proceded backwards in time through three UK owners to a fourth, Bob Kerr, Cammo Gardens, Barnton, Edinburgh, whose mail is returned by the postal authorities marked deceased.

According to Ian Smith's book, "The Story of Lotus", there were eight Mk. 8 cars built with several different engines, but none had an SAH-tuned TR2 engine and TR gearbox at birth, so most likely an engine swap took place, presumably early in the car's racing career. My car differs from the typical Mk. 8 also in having a finless rear body section. This suggests that it might be the prototype, SAR 5, whose loss of fins after an accident is mentioned in Smith's book. On the other hand, the tubular frame structure has different geometry than that of the Prototype Mk. 8 sketched in Costin & Phipps book, "Racing Chassis Design". In regard to this and other identifying details, it would be helpful to be put in touch with Frank Costin, Ian Smith, Dave Kelsey and others present at the creation. For that matter, I would welcome any information on the configuration, identity and fate of any Mk. 8 Lotus in the hope of finding the other seven, thus identifying mine by elimination!

HENRY J. KELLEY Huntington, New York, USA 11743