Dave Walker in his Lotus 69 on his way to victory
at Monaco in 1971.
 

One of the most famous names in motor racing history, the Lotus story is too long to be told in any great detail here. Founded by Colin Chapman in January 1952, Lotus Engineering Company together with Team Lotus (the racing team founded in 1954) soon gained a reputation for brilliant and often innovative engineering. Chapman himself was a more than competent racing driver, he very nearly drove in F1, and he did design work for Vanwall and BRM before his Lotus days. It wasn't surprising therefore that Lotus soon became involved in Grand Prix racing and the first Lotus F1 race was at Silverstone in 1958 with updated type 12 F2 cars. Their first real success was when Chapman followed the Cooper route and put the engine in the rear for the type 18 and Stirling Moss would win the first Lotus GP victory at Monaco. For the next 20 years Lotus would produce a string of often beautiful, frequently fragile but usually competitive F1 cars, some highlights would be the 25 and 33 with Jim Clark, the 49 with Clark again and Graham Hill, the 72 and Jochen Rindt, the 79 with Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson.

Sadly Colin Chapman died in 1982 and much of the life in Lotus went with him, good cars were still made and success was still there, especially when Ayrton Senna was driving but by the end of the 80's things were not looking rosy and before long the Lotus name would leave the world of F1 racing although the name lives on it the Lotus road cars.
Although F1 was almost always the raison d'être behind Lotus, cars were often built for other formulae especially F2 and F3 where the were often very successful.

 
  
An overhead view of the 31.

Rodney Banting obligingly offers a side view of his 31 at Oulton Park.

The first F3 Lotus was the 31 which was basically a minor rework of the 1962 F Junior 22. The chassis was a spaceframe of round and square tubing with a central bulkhead doubling as the dashboard. Front suspension is via unequal length double wishbones and outboard springs/dampers and an anti-roll bar. At the rear it used a reversed lower wishbone and a top link, twin parallel radius rods with outboard springs and dampers and an anti-roll bar. Magnesium uprights were used at the rear with proprietary units at the front. The 13 inch wheels were cast magnesium although pressed steel Lotus Elan types were found on early models. A Hewland Mk6 gearbox was used, again earlier models were offered with a modified VW or Renault box.
Wheelbase 90 ins.
Track: front 47.5 ins. rear 50 ins.

Despite the success of Lotus in F Junior there were only 12 cars built. In the year of Jackie Stewart and the Tyrrell-Coopers the 31 was very much an also ran with just one win for John Fenning at a minor Silverstone round.

 
  
There was no specific F3 model for 1965 but several teams modified the F2 Type 35 to F3 spec. The 35 had an aluminium monocoque chassis with some steel sheeting that was derived from the 1964 F2 model, the 32. Front suspension was by rocker arms and lower wishbones with inboard springs and dampers, at the rear it was reversed lower wishbones, top links, twin radius rods and outboard springs/dampers. The lack of any interest by Lotus showed and the season was very much a Brabham benefit with the only highlight for Lotus being Peter Revson's Monaco GP support win.
 
  
Roy Pike (nearest the camera) and Mo Nunn in their 41s leaving a wet Silverstone grid .

Mo Nunn in his 41 at Silverstone.
 
Front suspension detail .
 
Traditional Lotus suspension frames the Hewland Mk6.

The 41 was the result of a major rethink by Lotus, F3 was being dominated by teams such as Brabham which used a spaceframe for their cars. Lotus had gone for the more sophisticated monocoque approach with the 35 but it hadn't worked and further customers didn't like the expense and complexity of repairing a monocoque. So the 41 was born, it was in effect an evolved version of the 22/31 spaceframe design, it was stiffened with sheet steel paneling around the pedal box and the undertray. There were front and rear stressed steel bulkheads, the rear one was hollow and was also the oil catch-tank. Solid engine and gearbox mounts were used to help with the rigidity of the whole unit. Suspension was wide track with double wishbones at the front set up with anti-dive with outboard springs and dampers. The rear consisted of reversed lower wishbones, top links, un-parallel radius rods and outboard springs/dampers. Wheels were 13 inch 6-spoke cast-magnesium with 7 inch rims at the front, 9 inch at the rear and 10.5 inch Girling discs were employed front and rear.
Wheelbase: 90 ins.
Track: front 56.5 ins. rear 56 ins.

Results were at best reasonable, Piers Courage did well and won 5 races and took the French Craven 'A' Championship, his team mate Roy Pike also scored a couple of victories. In the UK Jackie Oliver took some wins and newcomers Derek Bell and Mo Nunn showed well but once again, compared to Brabham especially, first places were few and far between.

 
  
The 41C was the 1967 car, it was the 41 with a few small changes to the rear suspension, it had a reputation for being as quick as the dominant Brabhams and Matras but it wasn't easy to drive it quickly, not a good selling point for customer cars. Only four wins at any major event were taken all season with two wins for Freddy Kottulinsky and one each for Charles Lucas and Mo Nunn.
 
  
The 41X at its announcement.

John Miles in the works 41X, complete with nose bib and high rear wing, at Brands Hatch.

A "new" car appeared for 1968, the 41X, Lotus took a 41C and modified the front suspension with Lotus 47 (the competition version of the Europa road car) uprights and wheels. In addition a dramatic (for the time) wedge shaped body was fitted, it had a low, wide nose and radiator inlet, the body rising at a constant angle to the rear of the cockpit. A flat engine cover with a slanted undercut tail completed the design. As the season progressed various aerodynamic adjustments were made including a tall rear wing in imitation of its F1 relatives.
Only the one car was built and John Miles took it to four good wins during the year. However once again compared with the results racked up by Tecno and Brabham during the year it was another poor Lotus season. In official Lotus records this car was actually listed as the Type 55, the designation it would have when production started. However in view of its only adequate performance these plans were shelved and the Type 59 appeared instead.

 
  
Mo Nunn in the works 59 at Brands Hatch.

The combined oil system package at the rear of the 59.

An entirely new design for 1969, the Dave Baldwin designed 59. It was a dual purpose F2/F3 spaceframe chassis composed of square tubing. Suspension was the familiar double wishbone, outboard springs and dampers at the front with top link, reversed lower wishbone and twin radius rods at the rear. Triumph Herald uprights were used at the front with cast-magnesium units the rear. Wheels were cast magnesium with a knock-on centre-lock fitting. The oil tank, pump, cooler and catch-tank were all sited over the Hewland gearbox.
Wheelbase: 92.5 ins.
Track: front & rear 56 ins.

The 59 first appeared at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting, actually the 27th December 1967. After overcoming some early season problems with spring rates and the oil system the car proved a success, its chunky body hampered it a little on fast circuits but it had a reputation for putting the power down very well. Most successful driver was an up-and-coming young Brazilian named Emerson Fittipaldi, a string of nine wins saw him take the UK Lombard Championship.

 
  
Freddy Kottulinsky's 59A.
The 59 continued unchanged into 1970 but part way through the year the nose from the F2 69 was adopted and the car in this configuration was known a the 59A. Results continued to be very good, in the UK Carlos Pace took the Forward Trust Championship and the 59 won 14 National and Club races. On the Continent the Liptons Tea team of Freddy Kottulinsky and Sten Axelsson took four good wins between them.
 
  
Front and rear views of the works Lotus 69.
The Lotus 69 was designed by Dave Baldwin for use in F2, F3, F Ford and FB/ Atlantic. In F3 guise the 69 had a complex square tube space frame chassis, front suspension was by wishbones with outboard springs and dampers. Rear suspension was by a reversed lower wishbone, top link and twin radius rods. The 69 was hugely successful in F3 with works driver Australian Dave Walker with his Novamotor twin-cam Ford powered car winning no less than 25 races out of 32 entered.
 
  
Tony Trimmer in the Lotus 73 on its debut at
Mallory Park when he finished 6th.

The rear suspension on the 73, it is a coil sprung version of the torsion bar suspended F1 Lotus 72.

The 73 with its abbreviated nosecone at Monaco, Tony Trimmer driving.

According to Lotus publicists the 73 was the F3 answer to the F1 World Championship winning 72. It was built purely for use as a works car and was officially designated a "John Player Special". Early design work was by 72 designer Maurice Phillippe before he left Lotus and it was originally intended to be a F2 car. The design was finalised by Dave Baldwin and Martin Wade. Like its F1 big brother the 73 had a bathtub monocoque with the engine acting as a stressed member attached via a tubular framework. At the front a tubular sub frame carried the rack and pinion steering, inboard front brakes, rising rate suspension with fabricated double wishbones with outboard coil springs and dampers. Rear suspension was via a single upper link, twin parallel lower links and twin radius rods, the whole design was based on the 59/69 series. Coil springs/dampers were outboard, brakes inboard.
Early season results were good with Trimmer winning at Mallory and coming second at Monaco but ultimately the car was too complex to be set up quickly in the short F3 race days and the car faded as the season progressed. Additionally the impression was that Lotus weren't really interested in F3 and that some of the JPS F3 budget ended up in the F1 coffers.
A modified version, the 73B was prepared for 1973 but lack of a sponsor meant Lotus never raced it. The cars were sold to Dr Joseph Ehrlich in 1975 who entered one in a race at Monza as an Ehrlich-Lotus, driven by Patrick Neve, it retired after failing to feature.

 
Drivers (N.B. Race reports in the early sixties often didn't specify the chassis type so details are necessarily uncertain)
   
1964

31
Rodney Banting, Richard Burton, Piers Courage, Jörgen Ellekaer, John Fenning, Pierre Gelé, Evert Jan Groen, Freek Dudok van Heel, Martin Kaye, David van Lennep, "Franz Müller" (Roman Dirschl), Georges Rossetti, Sverrir Thoroddsson, Jonathan Williams.

27
Malcolm Angood, Jean-Paul Behra, John Berry, Roland Binder, Bruno Deserti, Franz Dörfliger, Bruce Eglinton, Simon de Lautour, Melvyn Long, Hans Maasland, Luigi Malanca, Alberico Passadore, Malcolm Payne, David Porter, Harry Stiller, Barry Wood, Philippe Vidal.

22
Georges Ansermoz, Pino Babbini, Guglielmo Bellasi, John Berry, Luigi Bettiol, Bernard Collomb, Franco Conti, Piers Courage, Paul Craven, Jörgen Ellekaer, John Fenning, Franco Ghezzi, Kai Godenhjelm, Brian Hart, Henri Julien, Jens-Christian Legarth, Alain Leguellec, Michel Looser, Jean-Pierre Muller, Jack Pearce, Jacques Pouzet, Georges Rossetti, Stefan Sklenar, Jonathan Williams, Walter Wüst.

20/22
Mike Herbertson.

20
Albert Achinger, Norberto Bagnalasta, Jean Bruyère, Ralph B.de Laforest, Dieter Lanzerath, Charles Lucas, Otto Lux, Jean-Pierre Muller, Franco Pigozzi, Jacques Pouzet, Georges Rossetti, Keith St John.

18
Jean Audhuy, Christian Berger, Jean Bruyère, Chicard, Kurt Dernen, Patrick Dupin, Horst Görs, Jean-Marie Guyot, Georges Héligoin, Jean-Louis Mise, Vincent Palmaro, Johnny Rives, Claude Robert, Claude Swietlik, Olivier Turcat, Karl Untersteggaber, Richard Weber.

?
Malcolm Angood, Brian Barton, Daniel Cerisier, Franco Conti, Yves Deprez, Ray Dilley, Thierry van Eyll, Len Gibbs, Toni Hildebrand, Albert McMillen, Alessandro Rigamonti, "Thierry", Walter Treser, Giuseppe Vanaria.

   
1965

35
Bob Bondurant, John Cardwell, Adrian Chambers, Brian Hart, Freddy Kottulinsky, Melvin Long, John Miles, Filippe Nogueira, Ray Parsons, Peter Revson, "Jorge S", Alban Scheiber, Roby Weber.

34
Dieter Lanzerath.

32
John Cardwell, Francesco Ghezzi, Harry Stiller.

31
Derek Bell, Paul Deetens, Ray Hills, Ole Jörgensen, Tony Lanfranchi, Morris Nunn, Leif Persson, Georges Rossetti, Giuseppe Vanaria, Adam Wyllie.

27
Roland Binder, Sean Brady, Walter Flückiger, Patrice Gransart, Tonio Hildebrand, Hans Maasland, Harry Stiller.

22
Rodney Banting, Guigliemo Bellasi, Alessandro Braga, Giouse Butti, Walter Flückiger, Kai Godenhjelm, Ole Jörgensen, Jörn Qviste, Georges Rossetti, Tom Trana.

20/22
Mike Herbertson.

20
Romolo Baston, Raymond Sodreau.

18
A. Prince, Hans Nilsson.

?
Francois Chevalier, Edwin Dawson, Peter Derré, Luigi Foschi, Carmelo Genovese, Peter Gethin, Patrice Gransart, Willi Keufen, Dieter Lanzerath, Ray Parsons, Malcolm Payne, Gunnar Pedersen, Aldo Pessina, Luigi Petri, Boley Pittard, Walter Wüst.

   
1966

41
Derek Bell, Lars Bjuhr, Jean Blanc, John Cardwell, Gunnar Carlsson, Piers Courage, Andrew Cowan, Teddy Dawson, Tony Dean, Cacho Fangio, "Geki" (Giacomo Russo), Francesco Godia, Nick Gold, Egert Haglund, Brian Hart, L Hawkins, John Hine, David Hobbs, Tetsu Ikuzawa, Bill Ivy, José-Maria Juncadella, Emil Knecht, Simon de Lautour, Melvyn Long, Wim Loos, Charles Lucas, Chris Moore, Hans Nilsson, Morris Nunn, Eric Offenstadt, Jackie Oliver, Vincent Palmaro, Malcolm Payne, Roy Pike, Peter Revson, Alex Soler-Roig, Rob Slotemaker, Harry Stiller, Thierry Tilmant, Peter Welstead.

35
Walter Flückiger, Keith Greene, Brian Hart, L Huerta-Garcia, Brian Jordan, Freddy Kottulinsky, Jochen Neerpasch, Colin Priddey, Karl von Wendt, Andy Wilkinson.

32
Jaime Martinez.

31
Tony Broster, Roy Cook, Ken Crook, Teddy Dawson, Bengt Ekström, Peter Fattorini, Len Gibbs, Mike Heathcote, Brian Jordan, John Hartle, John Lindsay, Ken Luscombe-Whyte, Mike Potter, Jeff Roberts, Simon Sherman, Steve Thompson, David Wragg.

27
Roland Binder, Werner Jörgensen.

22
Tony Bracegirdle, Tony Broster, Giosue Butti, Kaj Godenhjelm, Alessandro Guidetti, Gabriel Lacoste, Chris Lewis, Luigi Malanca, John Peake, Jörn Qviste, David Wragg.

20
John Lindsay, Betty Peters, Heinz-Dietmar Riedinger.

18
Thorkild Thyrring.

?
Jean-Pierre Beynac, Alessandro Braga, Antonio Braga, Capozzi, Foresti, Giancarlo Gagliardi, Stefan Gelmar, Genovese, Francesco Ghezzi, "Giagi", A. Guidetti, Olavi Kuikka, Gabriel Lacoste, Dieter Lanzerath, Hasse Nilsson, Saint-Michel, Saverio Salerno, Hans Sjosted, Andrea Tosi.

   
1967

41C
Vladimír Hubácèk, Freddy Kottulinsky.

41 (some may be the 41C chassis)
Albert Badan, Giancarlo Baghetti, Jean-Claude Beynac, David Bickel, Roland Binder, Jean Blanc, John Cardwell, Chris Cox, Peter Crossley, Mac Daghorn, Jürg Dubler, Bo Eriksson, Nasif Estefano, John Fenning, Malcolm Fletcher, Alain Franceschi, Peter Gaydon, "Geki" (Giacomo Russo), Ramon Griffoll, Cliff Haworth, John Hine, Vladimir Hubacek, Emil Knecht, Brian Jordan, "Josse", John Kendall, Freddy Kottulinsky, Robert Lamplough, Freddy Link, Charles Lucas, Carlos Martin, John Miles, Chris Moore, John Netherwood, Hans Nilsson, Morris Nunn, Eric Offenstadt, Andrew Page, José-Maria Palomo, Jaime Piera, Roy Pike, Comte Adam Potocki, Gilbert Salles, Jaime Samsò, Alex Soler-Roig, Georges Taquet, Javier de Vilar, Peter Welstead.

35
José Juncadella, Dieter Lanzerath, Freddy Link, Ernst Maring, Ove Nicklasson, Eric Offenstadt, Chris Williams.

32
Brian Jones, Brian Jordan.

31
Bengt Ekström, Peter Farrer, Bernard Unett, Leif Wikander.

27
"Kirke", Tim Stock.

22
A Bracegirdle, Tim Schenken.

20
Heikki Heidenstrauch, Börje Lindberg.

18
Bob Howlings.

?
Franco Foresti, Eugen Kiemele, Jean-Paul Moussier.

   
1968

59
John Miles.

51
Jac Nelleman.

41X
John Miles.

41C
Ken Crook.

41 (some may be the 41C chassis)
Albert Badan, Eugenio Baturone, Jean-Pierre Beynac, Roland Binder, Jean Blanc, Alain Cheval, Paul Cure, Leif Englund, Lennart Engström, Malcolm Fletcher, Josef Frei, Carlos Giro, Freddy Kottulinsky, Freddy Link, Morris Nunn, José Palomo, Lars-Eric Salé, Richard Scott, Georges Taquet, Philippe Vidal, Staffan Wahlström.

35
Roland Binder, Tony Birchenhough, Paul Fischer, Freddy Kottulinsky, Freddy Link, Ernst Maring, Bengt Rådmyr, Åke Roslund, Paul Tucom.

22
Willi Deutsch.

20
Willi Deutsch.

?
Björn Öhrman, Vladislav Ondrejik, Bengt Rådmyr, Per-Owe Söderberg.

   
1969

59B
Tetsu Ikuzawa.

59
Mike Beckwith, Bev Bond, Lars Elgin, Emerson Fittipaldi, Tetsu Ikuzawa, Freddy Kottulinsky, Matti Lamminen, François Mazet, Morris Nunn, Ronnie Peterson, Roy Pike, Andy Sutcliffe, Dave Walker.

51
Ernst Ungar.

41B
Francois Humbert.

41
Vladimir Hubacek, Jörg Kissling, Vladislav Ondrejik, Bengt Radmyr, Peter Rosenmaier, Lars-Erik Sale, Mike Watkins.

35
Tony Birchenhough, Paul Fischer
.

   
1970

59A
Sten Axelsson, Bev Bond, Wilson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Fritz Jordan, Freddy Kottulinsky, Carlos Pace, Dave Walker.

59
Sten Axelsson, Bev Bond, Claude Bouroignie, David Cole, Wilson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Per K:son Kjellberg, Freddy Kottulinsky, Carlos Pace, Bengt Rådmyr, Andy Sutcliffe, Tony Trimmer, Ole Vejlund, Dave Walker, Tom Walkinshaw.

41B
Michel Richard.

41
Bengt Rådmyr, Mike Watkins.

35
Paul Fischer
.

?
Rolf Gröndahl, Vladimir Hubacek, Vladislav Ondrejik.

   
1971

69
Ian Ashley, Thomas Betzler, Guisseppi Bianchi, Gerry Birrell, Claude Bourgoignie, Freddy Kottulinsky, Manizio Levi, Richard Longman, Alan McCully, Manfred Möhr, Dave Morgan, Giancarlo Naddeo, Fernando Natividade, Fabrizio Noe, Rikki von Opel, Gerold Pankl, Bengt Radmyr, Andy Sutcliffe, Dave Walker, Sven Wingaard, Geddes Yeates.

59A
Wilson Fittipaldi, Fritz Jordan, Carlos Pace, Tony Trimmer, Dave Walker.

?
Paul Fischer, Sigi Hofmann.

   
1972 73
Tony Trimmer, Bernard Vermilio,

69
Ross Ambrose, Carlo Breidenstein, Alan Edgar, Harald Ertl, Roger Keele, Günter Kölmel, Freddy Link, Lella Lombardi, Barrie Maskell,
Ernesto Neves, Bruno Pescia, Bengt Radmyr, Gerhard Witti, Geddes Yeates.
   
1973 69
Malcolm Bohm, Carlo Breidenstein, Günter Kölmel, Gaudenzio Mantova, Klaus Scholtyssek.
   
1974 69
Carlo Breidenstein, Günter Kölmel.
   
1975

73B
Patrick Neve.

? (Listed as a Lotus 3)
Peter Rössler.