1967 Lotus 47 GT-015 Group 4 Coupe

Courtesy of Bonhams

By the mid-1960s, Colin Chapman’s boundless energy had produced no less than 36 distinctive Lotus automobiles. But the entrepreneurial engineer still yearned to build an inexpensive mid-engine production car with a race version for Team Lotus — and for sale to privateers. Thus the Type 46, or Europa, was revealed in 1965. Built around a box-section central spine chassis, John Frayling’s fiberglass bodywork was bonded to the chassis to form an exceptionally stiff monocoque structure. Crucially, the Europa was low — as low as a Ford GT40 — and aerodynamically efficient, making it a superb platform for a competitive race car.

By the end of 1966, a racing model — the Type 47 GT — had appeared at Brands Hatch and won in the hands of John Miles (who won eight more times that season). Orders began to pour in to Hethel. The heart of the 47 GT was Cosworth’s Ford twin-cam. Bored out to 1,594 cc to fit the 1,600-cc class, it dealt 165 horsepower to the rear wheels through a Hewland magnesium FT200 limited-slip transaxle. The Tecalemit-Jackson fuel-injection was standard, although buyers could opt for twin Webers.

This rare survivor of the European racing circuit was one of five identical 47 GTs delivered new, in white, from the factory to Portugal’s Team Palma. Four cars were sold to gentlemen drivers, but Team Palma kept GT-015.

The present owner, a well-known vintage Lotus racer, bought the car in the U.K. in 1988. It underwent a long restoration in America — finished in 2005 — that included crack tests of the suspension components, renewing them as needed. The bodywork was repaired and repainted in Team Palma blue. Although the car was restored for competition, any plans to race the car should include a thorough vetting, setup and any refurbishment work necessary.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor - %%page%%

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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