A celeb title in a automotive’s historical past file can massively inflate a traditional automotive’s worth. And if the automotive in query is from a blue-chip sports activities automotive model with critical motorsport heritage, the numbers can get fairly loopy. Simply ask the man who parted with $1.95 million for Steve McQueen’s 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera.
However it’s nonetheless attainable to purchase a cool automotive with an ideal badge and a real superstars’s title within the possession paperwork. This Lotus Elite was as soon as owned by F1 legend Mario Andretti and is predicted to promote for simply £10,000-12,000 ($12,000-14,500) when it crosses the block at H&H’s Pavillion Gardens public sale on November 30.
Andretti drove for Lotus within the late Nineteen Sixties however grew to become a fully-fledged member of Crew Lotus in 1976, and by 1978 he’d capitalized on the ground-effects know-how of the revolutionary Lotus 78 and its 79 successor to win six races and safe each the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.
Understandably, Lotus boss Colin Chapman needed his hot-shot driver to be seen within the firm’s street automobiles, so issued Andretti with this left-hand drive, British-registered Elite in 1976. The front-engined, two-plus-two Elite was an enormous deal for Lotus when it was launched in 1974, a part of Chapman’s plan to take the Lotus model upmarket and escape its kit-car roots, having offered the rights to the Seven to Caterham in 1973.
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The essential idea of a metal spine chassis topped with a fibreglass physique was acquainted sufficient to Lotus consumers, however the angular styling with its sensible opening hatchback positively wasn’t, and neither was a newfound degree of luxurious that included energy steering and automated transmission choices for the primary time on a Lotus.
Additionally new was the aluminum Sort 907 DOHC 2.0-liter engine that might finally go on to energy the extra well-known Esprit in modified type. Andretti’s automotive was rated at 155 hp (158 PS) and would have been good for zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 7.8 seconds and 126 mph (203 km/h) when new.
Not in the present day, although. We don’t know when Andretti handed again the keys, however the automotive’s final registered keeper purchased it in 1984 and it final handed a UK MOT roadworthiness take a look at in 2013. The present proprietor says the Elite has not too long ago obtained a minor service and a brand new battery however would profit from a brand new clutch and a few consideration to the brakes. However offered the spine chassis hasn’t disintegrated, it needs to be a reasonably simple mission.
It’s definitely an attention-grabbing one. The Elite’s funky Seventies styling made it retro within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s, however the wagon-back coupe appears to be like cooler with each passing yr, and Mario’s is a superb title to have the ability to drop on the fuel station when somebody asks you about it. After which there’s the worth: $12-14k is beer cash for a automotive with this many speaking factors.