Taylor & Crawley

Established 1937

Lotus 26R


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Lotus 26R Series 2

One family ownership for the past 40 years.

The Lotus 26 Elan, was built around a steel backbone chassis which was easy to fabricate and weighed a mere 75lb, suspension was by steel wishbones with coil springs/dampers.
The Elan’s twin-cam unit was conceived by Harry Mundy, the former BRM and Coventry Climax man (and The Autocar technical editor) came up with an alloy twin cam head for the new Ford 116E five-bearing 1499cc block, it was essentially a detuned version of the same unit which made such an impact when powering Jim Clark’s Lotus 23 at that year’s Nürburgring 1000Kms. But after the first 22 cars had been made (and all subsequently recalled), capacity was upped to 1558cc by Keith Duckworth of Cosworth.
Clothing this hardware was the very pretty glassfibre body shaped by former Ford man Ron Hickman.
Though widely praised for its dexterity on challenging back roads, the Elan was not so popular trackside due to its unpredictability at the limit.
Chapman reasoned that there was a market for an improved race version but he was too busy with Formula 1 and Indianapolis to make it happen, ultimately it would be left to two works-blessed privateers to develop the Elan for competition, Ian Walker Racing and Graham Warner’s Chequered Flag equipe.
Walker’s roll-call of drivers including Peter Arundell, Sir John Whitmore and Paul Hawkins, the great Jim Clark steered one to victory in a support race at the 1964 British GP meeting, Whitmore made it a one-two finish, Warner had access the equally quick Jackie Stewart and Mike Spence.
With the racing Elans the unpredictability was negated and the handling improved by swapping the rubber bushes for spherical bearings. Shorter springs gave a lower ride height and the differential was raised to alleviate the half-shaft angles. The suspension bore chunkier anti-roll bars, plenty of rear toe-in and bump-steer was reduced by changing the height of the steering rack.
Steel wheels, which had a tendency to crack under load, were replaced with wider, centre-lock magnesium items and the arches were cut away and flared to accommodate the fatter rubber. Small scoops were placed ahead of the rear wheels, to cool the brakes and ventilate differential oil cooler, at the front the road car’s pop-up headlights were replaced with fixed items sitting behind Plexiglas shields.
These elements of the teams competition Elans were incorporated into the official factory model, the 26R, along with lightweight competition-spec wishbones, sliding spline driveshafts in place of rubber joints, and a degree of reinforcement around the suspension pick-up points. Pedals were repositioned to aid heel-and-toeing, dual circuit brakes with twin master cylinders and light alloy callipers along with a lightweight glassfibre hardtop . Engines were either the Cosworth or BRM tuned twin-cam of up to 160bhp.

Chassis 26R-S2-23 was supplied by American East Coast Lotus franchise, Dutchess Auto Co of Millerton NY in July 1965 with the BRM variant of the Lotus Twin-cam.
Since 1978 it has been owned and raced by one family and is offered in race-ready condition.

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