1962 Lotus with Star Quality

Welcome to the March edition of the Facts Disc "Vehicle of the Month". This month we turn our attention to a car with a glamourous past, a 1962 Lotus 22, by owner Steve Wise.
If you 've ever seen the 1966 movie, "Grand Prix" you may remember seeing this beautiful car lining up on the grid, in the film. Steve tells us all about its fascinating star-studded background.

This Lotus 22 was built in 1962 and supplied to the Jim Russell Racing school.

In 1965, racing legend Carroll Shelby contacted Jim Russell on behalf of MGM Studios as they needed cars for the 1966 film “Grand Prix”.

Jim supplied MGM with mostly Lotus 20s but some 22s, which were mocked up by Ralph Firman (Jim Russell’s brother-in-law) to look like the various cars of the day like Ferraris and Hondas. As far as is known there was only one that remained a Lotus, which had the nose lengthened to look like the then current F1 car.

The picture shows the car on the grid at Monaco during filming.

After filming, the cars were returned to Jim Russell, who sold them to Roger Windley, a motor salvager in Tattershall.

Alan Belton bought the car in 1967 from Roger Windley. According to Roger Belton (Alan’s nephew), Alan had to rebuild the car as he thought it had been used in some of the crash sequences of the film.

Roger (Belton) also remembered that work had been done by Peter Denty racing. Peter checked his records and confirmed that he took the car in April 1994 with a view to replace its 1500cc Cortina/Anglia 109E engine and Renault gearbox. As the costs were prohibitive it was decided that Peter should just paint the car in Lotus period livery.

The above picture was from Alan Belton's ownership and shows the car before the repaint.

Alan sold the car to Peter Whyte on 20th April 1999. Peter carried out extensive work including installing the Twin Cam engine, Weber carbs and Hewland ‘box. The car has remained largely unchanged since then.

The next owner was Jeremy Bouckley, who is well known in Lotus circles, starting with Formula Juniors in 1962, and a member of the same club as Peter Whyte. He bought the car on 3rd April 2007.

Jeremy sold the car to Trevor Gear in late 2010, taking Trevor’s Europa in part exchange. Trevor spoke to Roger Belton and wrote a couple of magazine articles about the history of the car

David Monument bought the car from Trevor Gear on 2nd July 2016. He said that “during my ownership I removed and plated the exhaust manifold and silencer; removed the front uprights, brake callipers, ball joints and trunnions, and replaced them with new plated uprights, ball joints, trunnions, aluminium callipers and new discs to match. All supplied by Peter Denty. The car was used in one sprint by my daughter and performed perfectly. Otherwise, it just taken to shows and events for display/charity”.

Steve Wise bought the car from David Monument on 7th February 2021 with plans to keep the car as it is and do some hill climbs, sprints, and track days. He set about preparing the car but wanted to find out more about its chassis origins. 

Steve Wise sent Peter Denty some pictures to help confirm the chassis' origins. Peter responded as follows:

“Looks all as Lotus 22, but the square tubing reinforcing around the cockpit makes it a 22 made by Frank Coltman (Progress Chassis Co, and sadly long deceased). He was an ace chassis builder in sixties to eighties period, to my knowledge he added the extra rectangular cockpit tubing to probably 10 frames for a guy called Jack Pearce who then built up several cars with the twin cam engine for hill climbing and Formula Libre racing. Some cars also ended up as Formula Juniors."

Peter went on to say,
"Some rather portly drivers found the extra tubing dug into their sides a bit so removed the rectangular tubing but, for you, leave alone if possible

Jeremy Bouckley said that he knew Jack Pearce and the Progress Chassis Co. He agreed that this was a Progress Chassis and thought it would have been built about 1964. He also said that not many Lotuses retained their original chassis numbers as they were often supplied as part of a kit and, where they were available, they would often be switched to move the cars on the continent.

Finally, the file that came with the car indicates that the current engine is a desirable 701M (replacing the original Cortina 109E engine).

This is visually difficult to prove as it is quite common for the casting number to be ground off and to be left only with the code 6015, which is Ford’s part number for cylinder blocks. This is the case with this engine as there has clearly been a number to the left of the 6015 code.

The engine is a Lotus Twin Cam “modified for racing” by BRM. Peter Whyte said that the engine had been prepared by Stuart Rolt. The MSA Competition Logbook shows the capacity as 1558cc. The code 7D21 is cast on the block.
This identifies that the block was manufactured on 21st April 1977.

What a life this amazing Lotus 22 has led and is looking as good today
as it did in those halcyon days of the 1960s. 

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