F Sheff at Sebring   -3-
It's the Lotuses, Dummy
Click a picture to see a larger version

Thumbnail: Lotus XI #56 emerges from under the bridge

One of those delightful Lotus XIs, this the number 56 car, driven in the 1958 Sebring race by Sam Weiss and Dave Tallaksen (look for the April '65 Nationals picture page 3). Until I find the original slide of this shot, the model photos below will have to serve to show what the car looked like.

Running engines just under 1.1 liters in displacement, the Elevens were amazingly quick. In
1957 Lotus XI 276, three drivers led by designer Colin Chapman finished eleventh overall, and had a fast lap of 4 minutes flat; Dick Thompson and Gus Andrey in a Corvette could only manage a 3:50 in finishing twelfth

In 1958, the car you see above (339) came FOURTH overall, behind the first- and second-place Testa Rossa Ferraris, and the third-place RSK Porsche. The #55 Lotus XI (Chapman, Cliff Allison; 504) was SIXTH behind the #22 Ferrari 250GT LWB, and on the same lap. A third Eleven, #54 (Jay Chamberlain, William Fronst; 503) finished ninth, behind the #21 250GT and an OSCA.

Complete results of the race, and the championship for 1958, are here: RESULTS

       Thumbnail: 1:43-scale replica of 1957 Lotus XI  #55Thumbnail: 1:43-scale replica of 1957 Lotus XI  #62      

Click the thumbnail to see the larger versions. These are new diecast 1:43-scale models by Vitesse in their Quartzo line. On the left, the Lotus XI Le Mans 1957 MKIII of Allison/Hall #55 (323; fourteenth at LeMans). On the right, the #62 1957 Lotus XI (324; ninth at LeMans) of Frazer and Chamberlain. Beautifully done in Green with yellow trim. Here's a little additional history of the #62/324 car (scrolling required).

I bought a copy of the #62 car, and eventually the #55, closer to the ones run at Sebring. These are finely detailed and authentic-looking in proportion. I got the #62 and the #55 from eBay sellers.

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