Rolling up for auction next automobile that puts the classic into "classic cars"

Thursday, August 12 will see the start of a two day sale of "Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia" at Bonhams in California.

Over six hundred different classic cars and memorabilia will be up for auction at the event, yet there is one particular piece that could have collectors and investors alike competing for its acquisition.

The Lotus Type 15, still competes at classic car races

The 1959 Lotus-Coventry Climax Type 15 has been described as one of the finest front engine sports racing cars to ever be designed by Colin Chapman. He was the founder of Lotus and one of the most influential designer and builders of sports racing cars in the world.

The beautifully made two seater competition car was designed by Chapman as the big engine successor to the classic Lotus Eleven 1100 - 1500cc, which first established his design credentials.

Like the lotus before it, the car classic featured a combination of a lightweight rigid multi-tubular space frame chassis and aerodynamic bodywork which was styled by Frank Costin of the De Havilland Aeroplane Company.

The major difference to the Type 15 was that the bodywork was strengthened to exploit the added horsepower and torque of the improved engine. The 2-liter 4-cylinder twin-camshaft Coventry Climax FPF engine used a ZF 4S/12 gearbox to ensure maximum precision and meant that in the right hands, the car could outrun the Ferrari models of the time.

The Lotus 15 Engine

The classic car also featured a low friction loss transmission, not commonly found in Lotus Type 15 "customer cars," and was the first Lotus model to feature fully independent rear suspension

In the period of 1958-59 it is believed that only 27 Lotus Type 15s were manufactured and sold, with many going to private owners in component form.

The sleek, low slung classic cars came to emulate much of the success of the early Lotus Elevens.

The example on sale next week was first assembled from factory-supplied parts in London is in excellent condition and has been driven at various racing events for the last forty years. The car has often proved the front runner at recent vintage race days.

Rolling onto the auction block with an estimated price of £252,000 - 277,000 ($400,000 - 440,000), this car classic could have one collector driving home a very happy man.

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