1960 Lotus Type 18 Formula Junior
Serial Number: 18J791|
Frame Number: 987195
Logbooks: VSCCA, FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form (USA)
Location: Shepshed, Leics. England
Extra! Autosport (photo and text), March 14, 2002, p.99
DescriptionThis car underwent a extremely authentic restoration by Bill Dolson Racing. Being the owner's car, no effort was spared to conduct as meticulous and detailed restoration as possible. The car is a showcase for the firm's skills.
The restoration was performed on a relatively original and unmolested car located in the American Southwest. Virtually no chassis work was required and the chassis tag, dash plaque, and even shifter tag are original and virtually as new. Much of the history of the car has been determined (detailed below), including contact with the original owner who has contributed a wealth of historical information including photos of the car in period and race results.
It is prepared to a specification which should make it eligable for both the FIA and VSCCA, having a Renault box (with close ratios of course) and a wet-sumped 1 litre. The car has had only one outing (Savannah 1999) and the engine has since been freshened by MWE and has zero time. It stands ready to be a beautiful and spirited competitor on either side of the Atlantic.
Jose raced the car in Mexican races for about two years then sold the car to a Mr. "Seco" Segura who had a Volvo dealership in Torreon, a city in the north of Mexico. Jose remembered that Mr. Segura died a few years later and lost touch with the car for almost 30 years until he was contacted in 1992.
The trail of ownership fades until the late sixties where the car turned up in El Paso. It may have been owned by a Carlos Murgia who was a motorcycle racing impressario in the area. Noel Armstrong, who had a Lotus dealership in El Paso in the sixties, recollected that the only Lotus 18 he knew of in the area was one owned by Murgia (Murgia, Murgilla?) and he in fact serviced the car in his shop after Murgia had blown the engine in a race in Aspen, Colorado. Carlos died in 1988 and attempts to reach his family have so far been unsuccessful.
The ownership trail begins again with Rex Stage of New Mexico who bought the car in El Paso in the late sixties or early seventies. He thought that the car had been in Almogordo prior to his purchase. The car was at that time virtually original with the Renault gearbox, Cosworth Mk4, and original flimsy roll-over bar. The car was painted white with a blue nose stripe and the original Lotus "wobbly" wheels had been replaced with wide American Racing Silverstones which were on the car when I obtained it. Rex disassembled the car with the intention of race preparing the car for Formula Junior but the formula was on the wane and he decided to go Formula V racing. He later became national champion in Formula V.
Al Deery of New Mexico bought the car from Rex for $250.00, disassembled but complete. Al had the car a short time before deciding, as Rex had, that Formula V was the future. In about 1972 Al sold the car to Bradley Cottingham, now of Lubbock Texas, who also lived in El Paso at the time. Over the next two years Brad gradually restored the car to roller status and sold it to Rick Duncan of El Paso in 1974. Rick did extensive work to the car over several years including installing a modern spec roll-over bar and a two liter ford engine and VW gearbox. The car acquired a black metalflake paint job, straight up headers, and had a new career as a drag racer! It was then campaigned as an autocross car for the next 15 years. The final photo shows the car as it was acquired in this trim.
The car was acquired from Bruce Gross of El Paso in 1991. Bruce had owned and autocrossed the car for the last 9 years, modifying it little. A dedicated Lotus enthusiast, Bruce retained as many of the original parts as he could obtain. Rick Duncan had discarded the original Renault gearbox and tail cover and the original side panels had become tatty and were replaced by flat fiberglass panels. Bruce obtained most of the original Cosworth Mk4 engine which had stayed with the car all of its life, albeit in bits for the last twenty years. Virtually a stock Ford 105E it has the original Cosworth A6 cam.
When the car was first acquired little was known of its history, only the owners back to Brad Cottingham. In an effort to extract more information from the car itself the restorer began carefully sanding through the numerous layers of paint on what appeared to be the original cowling. No less than eight distinct paint schemes were discovered, with Jose Mulas' lavender or light blue with red number sixes at the very bottom! The frame number was scribed into the paintwork very early in the paint history, confirming the bodywork having accompanied the car throughout. A drawing of the different paint schemes was made and circulated among southwestern SCCA members to try to obtain more history on the car. Of the eight paint schemes only four are accounted for by the currently known owners although it is probable that the dual stripes were from Segura and the red from Murgia.
Mr. Mulas was found by contacting all Mexican members of the SCCA. His name was shown in the Lotus sales records as the first owner of the car. Curiously, the records show a different frame number for that serial number plate but Mr. Mulas confirmed to me that both the serial number and frame number are those of the car he recieved from Lotus. Such discrepencies are not unknown in Lotus sales records.
The car has been restored to the condition in which it appeared in its first race in Mexico City, June 15, 1961.