Available in Germany: Graham Hill’s Lotus 11

Ex-Graham Hill Lotus XIOften when you say that a car is ex-racing driver it means that a driver of some note once piloted the machine. By that definition, this is certainly an Ex-Graham Hill. Very rarely however, can that same term be used to describe both the driver and the builder of a racing car. But that, amazingly, is the case with this very special Lotus 11. Graham Hill built this car with his own hands from a Colin Chapman supplied kit in April and May of 1956.

Hill was an employee of Chapman’s at the time, toiling by day at Lotus Engineering as a mechanic in order to stay close to the racing scene he loved so dearly. Hill had been racing for some time by ’56, but lacked the funds to keep a car together on his own. Taking a day job at Lotus was a great way to be in earshot of an opportunity at some seat time. And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Old Colin Chapman kept Hill on for the very same reason.

Hill campaigned this Lotus 11 in the Autosport Production series as a works car. Chapman provided the kit, but maintained sufficient ownership of the car for her to run as a works machine: making this a very busy 11 indeed. Hill put her on the podium 9 times in ’56, winning 4 races (Hill must’ve loved Brands Hatch, it was the location of all of his wins in this car that year). The car’s work, however, wasn’t done there. Chassis #208 was also the factory’s show car and press mule. And, it is speculated, served as Hill’s road car for the drives to and from the races.

Ian Walker purchased #208 in 1957 and competed with a swapped engine. Eventually the car fell out of competition. Now, however, the car is reunited with her original 1,172cc side-valve and is fresh off a masterful Mike Brotherwood restoration and fantastic, patinad coachwork and paint by Sovereign Coachworks. Together they’ve done a tremendous job of making a complete restoration look lived in and not over-restored. Jan Lühn now offers the car. An amazing vehicle with fantastic history that will surely give the buyer entry in to the races of his choice.

Further reading:
Jan Lühn has photos, with more information to come.
Sovereign Coachworks also features a gallery of the bodywork. Wonderful.

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