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chapman's masterpiece sells for more than $1 million


This ex-Jim Clark 1962 Lotus 25 1.5-litre Formula 1 car sold for 445,000 pounds – 45,000 above the estimate -in H&H’s classic car sale in London on March 1.

Clark drove the 1962 single-seater, Chassis No.R5, to victory in the Pau and Imola Grands Prix of 1963, en route to his first World Championship. His teammate Trevor Taylor then took sixth position in the Monaco GP before crashing R5 heavily in the ensuing Belgian event.

Cedric Selzer, who had been Clark’s Lotus mechanic throughout 1963, then rebuilt it in the 1980s.

The Lotus 25 was a ground-breaking car, the first F1 racer to use a monocoque chassis instead of a spaceframe.

It was the brainchild of Lotus’ founder, the brilliant Colin Chapman, who developed a string of radical ideas which changed the face of Formula 1 over several decades.

Using sheet aluminium and placing the fuel tanks enclosed in the side of the Lotus 25’s “hull”, he built a car that was about half the weight and twice as strong as the best spaceframe chassis.

The hull sides were rivetted to transverse bulkheads that supported the driver’s seat at the rear and the car’s pedals at the front.

A tuning fork-like extension of the hull sides supported the V8 Coventry-Climax engine, and radius arms ran from pick-up points on the monocoque to the wishbone suspension.

Chapman’s Lotus 25 was virtually uncatchable, and other manufacturers followed his lead, first among them BRM.

Chapman followed the 25 with a development of the car which raced in the Indy 500, the Ford-powered Lotus 29. The 25’s F1 successor was the broadly similar Lotus 33.

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