Ready To Compete
1956 Lotus Eleven Le Mans

Designed by Colin Chapman and fitted with a distinctive aluminium bodywork crafted by aerodynamicist Frank Costin, Lotus Eleven may not be the British automaker’s best race car. With around 270 examples built between 1956 and 1958, it could be seen in quite a few races even though it didn’t achieve notable results. The top version, dubbed Le Mans, finished in the 7th overall in the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans could be its best. Nevertheless, in recent years Lotus Eleven is getting more attention as more people are interested in period racing.

The example available on Bring A Trailer is the Lotus Eleven Le Mans with Chassis #180. Said to be the 30th Le Mans version rolling out of the factory. It was delivered to British racer Tony Ellis who raced it in Crystal Palace and Silverstone in 1956 and 1957 and later sold the car to Frede Andersen of Denmark. The ownership history afterwards is unclear but in 1986 the #180 was sold to America and later went to the hands of the current owner in 2000. With frequent racing, the bodywork of the car shows some wear, and the 1,460cc Coventry Climax engine was rebuilt in 2016, but this could be a good opportunity to acquire a Lotus Eleven not for display but for some track actions.