Having established a reputation for producing lightweight sports cars in the mid-1950s, Colin Chapman’s Team Lotus transitioned into the competitive end of single-seater racing when the Lotus 16 was introduced. This move followed the success of the Lotus 12, which served as a crucial learning curve for Colin Chapman. The Lotus 16 was designed to compete in both Formula 1 and Formula 2 races, incorporating innovative engineering solutions and drawing on the expertise gained from earlier endeavours.
The Lotus 16, initially conceived as a Formula 2 car, boasted a lightweight space frame chassis formed from mostly 20 gauge material, and featured a unique configuration with the angled placement of the Coventry Climax FPF engine; similar to that in the sports racing cars leaving Lotus at the time. The 1.5-litre Formula 2 engines sat at approximately 17 degrees, allowing the prop-shaft to pass beside the driver, resulting in a lower seating position, reduced centre of gravity, and a smaller frontal area. The drive to the back wheels was handled by the distinctive five-speed sequential transaxle known as the ‘Queerbox,’ a gearbox specifically designed for Lotus.
Chapman’s commitment to innovation continued on to the suspension and geometry, which included the usual Lotus lower wishbone, top link and anti-roll bar, with a coil-over damper at the front. Initially equipped with a De Dion rear end, Chapman later introduced his invention called the ‘Chapman strut’, which replaced the De Dion setup. This innovative layout integrated a MacPherson strut as the top link and a fixed-length driveshaft serving as the bottom arm.
Aerodynamics played a crucial role in the Lotus 16’s design, and the renowned Frank Costin, known for his work on Vanwall F1 cars, contributed to the bodywork design. The result was a sleek, compact, and exceptionally low-profile silhouette, with the bonnet line situated below the top of the distinctive cast magnesium “wobbly-web” wheels, and built by Williams & Pritchard from the lightest possible 22-gauge aluminium sheet available at the time.
The Lotus 16 made its Grand Prix debut at the 1958 French GP in July, driven by the works Lotus driver, Graham Hill. Chassis 363, the inaugural Lotus 16, marked the beginning of production, with a total of eight cars produced by the end of 1959; all numbered between 362 – 368. The move to Lotus’s new Cheshunt factory in Hertfordshire in 1959 facilitated greater production capacity and served as a new base for the racing team.
Throughout its production, the Lotus 16 underwent continuous refinement and development, with the involvement of engineers like Keith Duckworth and Len Terry. These developments contributed to the evolution of the Lotus 16 into 1959 where they were campaigned in the Formula 1 Championship with Coventry Climax’s latest 2.5-litre FPF engine. These final additions would go on to be referred to as ‘asymmetric’ cars, showcasing Colin Chapman’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in single-seater racing.
This car: Chassis 368
One of three asymmetric Lotus 16 chassis’ built. The asymmetric cars had a slightly different chassis design; Len Terry had built a perforated ‘stress panel’ to strengthen the cockpit area of the chassis. The front brake calipers were moved behind the front axle as a result of moving the steering rack forward and the anti-roll bar fitted nicely behind the now threaded top link, allowing the front camber to be adjustable. A three element lower rear wishbone set up was introduced instead of the original fixed length half shaft and radius rod. These had been insufficiently rigid to help prevent toe steering. Frank Costin produced a more shapely body which also housed a larger radiator as these new asymmetric cars were now boasting the new 2500cc FPF Coventry Climax Formula 1 engines.
Goodwood Glover Trophy – 30th March
368 made its debut at Goodwood, for the Easter weekend meeting, in the Glover Trophy. With Cliff Allison now moved to Ferrari, driving duties were entrusted of Team Lotus’ new lead driver, Graham Hill, with American Pete Lovely due to appear in their second car, but sadly it wasn’t ready in time. The newly revised Lotus 16 Formula 1 qualified 13th. Having arrived unpainted, in bare aluminium, we can only guess how close to the wire it was on competing. On race day, it was most likely more of test for 368 as apposed to a race, with Hill sadly only managing 6 laps before retiring prematurely with braking issues.
British Empire Trophy-Oulton Park – 11th April
The prestigious British Empire Trophy held its first Formula 2 iteration at Oulton Park. Lotus had initially entered three cars, but only Graham Hill arrived in this car, 368. A notable addition to the car this weekend was a customised glass-fibre seat tailored around Hill, a personal preference over the conventional bucket seat. Additionally, the car was fitted with a Formula 2 specification 1.5-litre FPF engine, replacing the 2.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF it had raced with at Goodwood a few weeks prior.
Hill, who still held the lap record for a Formula 2 car set in 1958, powered through challenging conditions in practice to secure 8th position on the grid with a time of 1:56.4. As the drizzle intensified, Hill’s innovative glass-fibre seat, now perforated for drainage, and his goggles exchanged for a visor, steadily advanced through the ranks, achieving 5th place by lap 4 while setting the fastest lap. Unfortunately, on lap 15, 368 was forced to pit due to an engine vibration, with mechanics suspecting a crankshaft issue, ultimately bringing their race to an early end.
Aintree 200 – 18th of April
Next on the calendar for 368 was the ‘BARC Aintree 200’. In a field of both Grand Prix and Formula 2 cars, Lotus once again entered three cars, but again only Hill in 368 making the race. After qualifying 28th, just ahead of David Piper in the Fisher entered Lotus 16, Hill showcased remarkable tenacity and despite requiring regular maintenance, including brake fluid top-ups, oil replenishments, and exhaust repairs, ultimately finished 11th.
Syracuse GP Sicily – 25th of April
A few weeks later, at the Syracuse GP, a Formula 2 race set against the scenic backdrop of Sicily, Graham Hill was once again behind the wheel of 368. The grid boasted a diverse mix of Lotus, Porsche, Ferrari, Osca, and Cooper. Due to the tight schedule between Aintree preceding and upcoming Silverstone meeting, 368 embarked on a flight alongside five other Coopers to ensure they made it on time. In spite of challenging weather conditions Hill secured a respectable 9th position on row 4. Race day dawned with favourable conditions, and with the sun illuminating the closed road track. After initial struggles, Hill’s determined effort saw him ultimately reaching 6th before an unfortunate high-speed spin due to a collapsed rear hub brought his race to an end.
An extract from Motorsport Magazine in June 1959 read as follows: “The single works Lotus entry, piloted by Graham Hill, represented the latest 1959 iteration, boasting reverse front suspension, a relocated anti-roll bar, and a repositioned brake calliper and steering mechanism. Notable structural adjustments included a reinforced bulkhead and a radically redesigned frame tube layout. The positive stop gear selector mechanism underwent revision, and the driver now nestled in a bespoke glass-fiber bucket seat. A significant alteration was made to the rear suspension, with fore and aft hub location now secured by a triangulated member below the drive shaft.”
BRDC International Trophy – 2nd of May
For the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, the reins of chassis 368, were handed over to Pete Lovely. Back in 2.5-litre Formula 1 trim, noticeable enhancements included a fresh coat of paint, radiator fairings, and a subtle bonnet top blister. This event also marked the debut of the new Works Aston Martin DBR4 GP cars. Qualifying in 7th with a time of 1:42.2, Pete Lovely impressively outpacing his teammate Hill. The race, witnessed by a huge crowd of 90,000, saw Lovely contend admirably, though occasional pit stops for oil top-up’s led to a 14th position overall finish and an 8th place in the F1 class.
Monaco Grand Prix – 10th of May
Team Lotus and Graham Hill’s weekend got off to a challenging start, with the Team Lotus transporter breaking down in France en route to Monaco. This delay set a difficult tone for the weekend, with 368 still in the pits being prepped during the final practice session. On top of this, the newly fitted 58 DCO3 Weber carburettors on the engines were not tuned to suit Monaco’s slow corners. Despite these challenges, Hill piloted 368 to an admirable qualifying time of 1:43.9. This positioned the car 14th on the grid, matching McLaren’s time in the works Cooper, and sharing a row with Hill’s former teammate Cliff Allison in the Ferrari.
As the race got underway, Hill navigated the initial laps unscathed. However, on lap 25, a sudden pull-over at Station Hairpin revealed a burst oil pipe, triggering flames beneath Hill’s elbow at Mirabeau. Observing a plume of smoke, Hill swiftly took action, extinguishing the fire with his own fire extinguisher, but this marked the end of his race.
Motorsport – Monaco 1959: “The Lotus team had two entries, both being the long slender 1959 cars with independent rear suspension, the driveshaft, and the coil-spring unit. The independent front suspension featured wishbones, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar situated to the rear and curving around the front of the engine. Graham Hill was entered in the car he drove at Syracuse recently, but with the 1500cc engine swapped for a 2.5 litre.”
Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort – 31st of May
Fast forwarding to the Dutch GP at Zandvoort, Graham Hill once again assumed command of 368. Demonstrating impressive speed during practice, he qualified on the second row in 5th place, having posted a time of 1:36.7, a mere 0.7 seconds behind the joint pole times of Brabham in the Cooper and Bonnier in the P25 BRM.
Sharing the row with Innes Ireland and the new Aston Martin of Shelby, prospects appeared bright for Team Lotus. The first few laps witnessed a spirited contest for 4th place, with Behra in the Ferrari leading, closely followed by Hill in 368, Moss, Phil Hill, Ireland, and Trintignant. By lap 10, 368 was in close pursuit of Behra, with Moss trailing closely.
Growing increasingly impatient behind Behra, Moss and Hill both eventually got past, however, the promising momentum was short-lived when, on lap 24, just shy of the halfway mark, 368 emitted a puff of smoke into the cockpit. Hill, exercising caution, pulled over to inspect. Exiting the car, he heard the crowd cheer, only to discover his overalls torn from top to bottom, providing spectators an unexpected spectacle.
Rejoining the race and nursing a front brake issue Hill pushed on to a commendable 7th place finish, behind the Ferrari’s of Phil Hill and Behra.
Motorsport, July 1959 – Dutch GP: “The little car seemed to glide around the fast bends, almost on neutral steer, displaying remarkable steadiness and safety.”
“From the Lotus factory came two 1959 cars, both using 2.5 Litre Coventry Climax engines and fitted with Weber 50DCO3 carburettors, and not 58DCO3 as was stated in the Monte Carlo report.”
BRSCC Mallory Park, Formula 2 – 28th of June
The BRSCC Mallory Park Formula 2 event provided a challenging weekend for Graham Hill in 368. Despite a tough qualifying session, Hill secured the 14th position on the grid and in the initial laps of the race, found himself in a group fighting for 5th place behind Brian Whitehouse. However, by lap 12, 368 began experiencing difficulties with a struggling 1500cc FPF engine, eventually leading to retirement from the race.
Reims, Formula 2 – 5th of July
In the Coupe De Vitesse, Reims Formula 2 race, Graham Hill once again took the helm of 368, now powered by a 1500cc FPF featuring double choke SU carburettors. With track temperatures soaring to 48 degrees Celsius and tyre temperatures believed to be up to 100 degrees, the conditions were undoubtedly extreme. Unfortunately, mechanical issues prompted the retirement of the Lotus 16 before the full intensity of the heat took hold.
Rouen, Formula 2 – 12th of July
A week later it was off to Rouen for another Formula 2 race. Hill qualified 368 in 14th position and in the race, navigated through a tightly-knit group and, despite a brief pit stop for a mechanical concern, concluded the race in 7th place.
Clermont Ferrand Formula 2 – July 26th
Hill delivered an impressive performance in 368 at the Coupe d’Auvergne Formula 2 race held in Clermont Ferrand. By lap 6, he was up to 3rd behind Behra and Moss. 368 then had to pit to fix a leak from the oil cooler, putting him back in the race positioned between Moss and Behra but a lap down. Despite this setback, Hill maintained a competitive pace, ultimately securing a well-deserved 6th position.
John Davy Trophy Formula 2 at Brands Hatch
Held on the August Bank Holiday weekend the John Davy Trophy provided another exhilarating Formula 2 race. Hill in 368 demonstrated astounding pace in practice, trailing a mere 0.2 seconds behind the 2nd-place qualifier in 4th, only to sadly retire from the race with engine problems.
Kentish ‘100’ F2 at Brands Hatch 29th of August
Brands Hatch was once again the stage for the “Kentish ‘100’ F2” event. Still in 368 Hill was determined to reveal the true potential of the Lotus 16. Qualifying behind Moss and Brabham, in 3rd. In the first race Brabham lead the pack, closely followed by Bristow, Moss, and 368 tucked in close behind. An unfortunate spin by Bristow cost Hill and Moss positions. Nevertheless, Hill fought back through the field to a well-deserved 2nd place finish.
In the second race, Hill displayed a similar performance, initially dropping to 5th but steadily working his way back up to 3rd, ultimately securing a remarkable 2nd place finish, behind Brabham, equalling the lap record in the process.
Italian GP at Monza – 13th of September
With the 2.5-litre Coventry Climax engine reinstalled in 368 for Italian Grand Prix at Monza and Hill qualified 368 in 10th alongside McLaren in the Cooper. Sadly the race was cut short on lap 2 with a quill shaft failure in the gearbox.
Oulton Park Gold Cup – 26th of September
Remaining in 2.5-litre specification 368 once again showcased its competitiveness at the Oulton Park Gold Cup. Despite initial struggles with the start, Hill fought his way back through the ranks and after a brief stop for an oil pressure scare he finished a well deserved 5th.
The Silvercity Trophy at Snetterton – 11th of October
The Silvercity Trophy at Snetterton marked 368’s final race as a Team Lotus car. Still fitted with the 2.5-litre Coventry Climax engine Hill qualifying 3rd, just 0.4 seconds off pole position. In the race he took the lead on lap 7, steadily pulling ahead of the Works BRM’s only to have his charge heartbreakingly brought short on lap 9 with a gearbox failure.
David Piper – 1960 Season.
Towards the latter part of 1959 David Piper, with Dorchester Racing Services, approached Team Lotus in the hope of obtaining a second Lotus 16 to campaign in the Tasman Series. Not only did he acquire 368 in 2.5-litre trim for his own use, but he also shipped his smaller capacity 1500cc Lotus 16 (chassis 363), which he had used on a number of occasions throughout 1959, for a local New Zealander to race. 368 arrived in New Zealand with all the latest modifications that the Works cars arrived in Sebring with. Mike Walton, Pipers Mechanic, successfully made the front end of 368 a double wishbone assembly and had the prop shaft adapted to be a CV joint.
The eagerly anticipated NZ Grand Prix on the 9th of January 1960 at Ardmore saw David Piper join the ranks of motorsport luminaries. Having finished 3rd in the preliminary race, Piper in 368 was certainly revved up for the Grand Prix. Lined up alongside the Works Cooper drivers Brabham and McLaren, as well as Stirling Moss, he got up to 4th position, before 368 suffered a driveshaft failure on lap 21.
Quote: “David Piper brought an apple green 2.5L F1 Lotus 16 (Front Engine) for himself and a similar 1500cc car for a New Zealander to drive.”
At the Lady Warm Trophy at the Wigram Airfield, Christchurch the 23rd January 1960 he finished the 71 laps in 2nd place, behind Jack Brabham, at the helm of his trusty Cooper.
A week later and it was off to Dunedin’s closed road circuit, where Piper put 368 on pole position only to sadly retire from the race on lap 22 with gearbox issues.
For the International Trophy race at Teretonga on the 6th of February, he once again put 368 on pole position, before going on to secure an admirable 2nd place finish and fastest lap of the race.
Returning to Europe with 368, David Piper embarked on a series of Formula 1 races. His exploits in 368 further solidified his reputation as a skilled and determined driver.
On April 18, 1960, the Aintree ‘200’ he took on a strong field of drivers to take 7th place in 368. Although entered for the French Grand Prix, on the 3rd of July, sadly due to a fire whilst the car was on the trailer, he didn’t actually make it to the event. However, they came back, prepared the car for what would arguable be the biggest weekend on their calendar two weeks later, The British Grand Prix.
From the 14th to the 16th of July all the biggest names in Formula 1 assembled at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Qualifying 368 in the 24th position, Piper climbed up to a respectable 12th place finish, in the race.
The Oulton Park Gold Cup event on September 17th, 1960, would prove to be Piper’s last race in 368 and sadly it finished in retirement.
368 was then sold to Fred Tuck of Weston-Super-Mare, to be advertised for sale in Autosport magazine for a few months before being sold to a gentleman from the Midlands.
John Roberts acquired a Lotus 16, chassis 365, from Bill Wilks in 1971 and successfully participated in VSCC events with it. Two years later in 1973, he obtained yet another works Lotus 16, this car, chassis 368, from a private owner in the Midlands. However, 368 remained unused, unrestored sitting outside his Bracknell home.
Sometime during 1975, Roberts had an accident with chassis 365 at Silverstone. Following this incident, Bruce Halford became the new owner of both 365 and the unrestored 368. He called in the expertise of Denis Jenkinson, a renowned Lotus historian and expert, to assess the cars at John Roberts’ residence in Bracknell in November 1975.
Jenkinson’s report to the VSCC committee confirmed that chassis 368 was indeed an original works 1959 Formula 1 chassis with distinctive features like double front wishbones, an egg-shaped exhaust orifice, and a straight waistline. Subsequently, Halford acquired both cars and had them restored in tandem.
Halford continued to race both 365 and 368 together at VSCC meetings with great success. After an accident at the VSCC Hawthorn Trophy at Silverstone in 1979, Halford had to rebuild 368 due to damage. It is believed that during this restoration, he swapped the engine from 368 into 365 to enable him to continue racing, which explains the presence of engine number 1239 at this time. Both cars were campaigned until Bruce sold 365 to Chris Mann around 1980/1981, while retaining the faster car for himself.
Halford and 368 had a number of wins from 1978 through to 1985. 1981 saw him take 2nd place in the Lloyds & Scottish Series as well as winning the Swedish Airforce Historic Trophy at Knutsdorp and coming 2nd in the HGPCA Race. 1982 saw more success with a double wins at Montlhery and Silverstone, the Nurburgring, Monaco Historic and the Cheshire Building Society race at Oulton Park.
1983 saw Halford and 368 win the Newgate Construction Trophy at Silverstone, Mail on Sunday Trophy at Brands Hatch and a handful of other events. Slowing down in 1984 but continuing his success, he also won at Islington and took the top step of the podium at the Mike Hawthorn Trophy at Silverstone.
Sometime at the beginning of 1985 the car found its way into the hands of renowned, Midlands based historic racer and collector Anthony Mayman. Celebrated for his ownership and skillful piloting of a number of significant historic racing cars over the years, among his prized possessions were the likes of ERA R4D, along with a diverse array of Grand Prix Ferraris, Maseratis, and Alfa Romeos.
Often racing under Bruce Halford’s name or seen to be racing on his behalf, under Mayman’s stewardship, 368 achieved remarkable success, continuing the winning streak from 1985 right through to 1991 in VSCC events across the UK, very rarely being beaten against competitors like Neil Corner, Nick Mason and Alain De Cadenet.
After Mr. Mayman’s sad passing in early 1993, 368 was purchased by the current owner through Robert Brooks. As well known racer and collector success carried on very much where it had left off for 368. Having won multiple races at Donington Park and Silverstone through to the late 1990’s in the VSCC and HGPCA alike, 368 has been a regular feature at the Goodwood Revival, winning on the Richmond & Gordon Trophy back in 2003.
Always meticulously prepared, success did not stop there. 368 has been on the front row for the Goodwood Revival’s Richmond & Gordon Trophy races three times in recent years, as it did this year. Often found setting the fastest lap of the race, 368 holds the lap record for a front-engined Grand Prix at Goodwood with a time of 1:21.3 as well as at a number of other circuits. Fitted with a removable rollover bar and accompanied by current FIA HTP papers, the painstaking care and preparation it has received over this time has culminated in its status as one of, if not the most successful, immaculately presented, and formidable front-engined Grand Prix car around.
Now, after three decades in the same ownership, we have the pleasure of being able to offer 368 publicly for sale presenting an exciting opportunity for racers and collectors alike to participate at the forefront of the most prestigious events available today.