Lotus 20B

The Lotus 20B Formula Junior – Chassis No. 20JB53 – was delivered new to Mike Costin of Cosworth fame who used it as an experimental car for various engine configurations. Most important of these was the fitting of a 1500cc Lotus Twin Cam. For the first year, the car was driven for Costin by one Brian Hart, later to become famous for his engine building exploits. In 1962 however the car was bought by George Palmer from New Zealand to be driven by his son Jim, at that time a very exciting new driving prospect.

Consequently, the car spent the next decade or more in New Zealand where it raced in the Tasman series driven by several well known local drivers. The performance of the car can be seen documented on a web site dealing with New Zealand racing of the era. For example, you will be able to see some details and photos of the car when it took part in the 1962 New Zealand Grand Prix – won by Stirling Moss. “Our” car was driven by Jim Palmer and came 15th. Also check out the story of the full 1964 Tasman Series when the Lotus was now being driven by Rex Flowers (www.sergent.com.au/nzmr.html). At this stage the car was racing dressed in a very interesting bright orange colour and was certainly not easy to miss.

This history makes the car very unusual to say the least, having FIA papers that certainly would allow it race in Tasman type races if fitted with the right engine. For the moment however the plan is to complete the restoration as a Junior and the car should arrive from the last owner – Cedric Brierley – at the start of October. Cedric himself is of course a well known racer from the 1960’s and was a works Elva driver (small world eh!) until a serious shunt at Silverstone ended his career. Since that time he has restored and engineered a series of interesting cars such as an ERA, Grand Prix Connaught and BRM P261. He has spent the last 2 years undertaking a meticulous and painstaking restoration of this car that only needs some new tyres and a few bits and bobs before being ready to race again. And another interesting fact – the car returned to the UK having been in the US owned by Thor Thorsen of Vintage Racing Motors Inc – the same people who worked on the Elva 300 – a very small world really!!


Lotus 20B Picture Gallery

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