One of Graham Hill’s Greatest to be Auctioned
“By every standard, Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49 concept is an absolute landmark in Formula 1 design. It simply raised the bar for every rival manufacturer, and its Cosworth-Ford V8 engine went on to win a record 155 World Championship Grands Prix.” – James Knight
The car responsible for launching the career of the mighty Cosworth-Ford DFV V8, steered in its prime by the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi, Lotus’ 49 is certainly one of the greatest and most enduring Formula 1 cars of the golden age of motorsport.
And this Lotus 49B, heading to auction on the 27th of June at Bonhams’ Festival of Speed Auction, is particularly special.
Chassis 49-R8 was from Gold Leaf Team Lotus’ quiver, and made it into John Dawson-Damer’s impressive collection after its career of period motorsport. It has never been auctioned before.
It was built in October of ’68, and is one of a very small number of Lotus 49s remaining.
In 1968 Graham Hill had just won his second Formula 1 World Championship in Type 49 and 49B Lotuses and was off to take part in the Tasman Championship. Chassis 49-R8 was his drive for the ’69 Tasman Championship, in which he took two seconds, a fourth and a sixth. The car was then sent back to Europe, where it was driven by Richard Attwood.
From there it made its way back into Graham Hill’s hands for the ’69 British Grand Prix, before being sold to Joakim Bonnier. Changing hands again in 1970 it went to Dave Charlton, who drove it on the way to two of his six consecutive South African Formula 1 Championship titles.
Its period racing career ended at the close of ’72, when John Dawson-Damer took it into his collection and restored it to race condition.
This Lotus 49B is an original example of one of the golden age of Formula 1’s greatest machines, with a hugely impressive history, and we’re interested to see how it goes at auction, and more importantly hope to see it active in the world of historic motorsport again soon.
Images via Bonhams