After being off the tracks for half a century, the Lotus 11 GT 'Breadvan' came back with a speed that could beat Ferrari V12s at Goodwood. This is the inside look at Lotus's forgotten racer.
This unique Lotus was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, but the last time anyone has seen it at full throttle was on September 12, 1964 where it finished second in class at Goodwood.
And guess what! Fifty years later, it finished second in class again in the Moss Trophy against all sorts of royalty.
The story goes that after British racing driver Graham Capel saw how successful Bizzarrini, Drogo, Neri and Bonacini's Ferrari 250 design was, he decided to try their trick on his Lotus 11.
The standard car was already pretty fast, but the benefits of the shooting brake body paid off for them as well. Still, after its last race in 1964, the radical body panels got removed and the car was turned back to a stock Lotus 11, looking something like this.
Luckily, its current owner decided to restore it to its former glory and Twyman Racing got the job to return this piece of automotive history into its fastest form, finished in its original Plumstead Racing livery of course.
It was a last-minute finish for the Members' Meeting, but they got it done. The man responsible for the project, Neil Twyman had this to say about their chances at the Moss Trophy:
I'd expect the Ferrari to be at the front with the Lotus not too far off the pace, although if it rains that could all change, depending who's driving.
It didn't rain, and Joe Twyman and Oliver Bryant did well behind the wheel.
The most amazing thing about the car is that after looking at it, I thought it's an interesting oddball, but with a four-cylinder Coventry Climax engine, it's more of a joke than anything else against the Aston Martins, Jaguars and Ferrari 250s.
Then, Colin Chapman came back from Valhalla for a second to kick me in the butt.
Not only was this badly proportioned shed warrior faster than all the Ferraris, but it also crossed the finish line just half a second after the winner Aston Martin DB4GT following an hour of full on racing.
Not bad for a late fifties Lotus with the least displacement in the field.
So here I am, standing corrected, with a big smile on my face when I think about that lesser known Breadvan in action. What a car indeed!
Photo credit: Goodwood and Máté Petrány/Jalopnik