Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

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© Ferret Fotographics

Clairmonte Special
The Forgotten Lotus

by the late Peter Ross


I was one of the "band of helpers" that was attracted to work for Colin free of charge in those days, in exchange for being part of the motor racing scene and his meteoric rise within it.

I had first met Colin and Hazel as a passenger to Derek Wootton in 'mudplugging' trials in 1948, when Colin was competing in an Austin Seven Special with a Rolls-Royce shaped radiator cowl, which later became known as the Lotus Mark I, and later I helped Adam Currie to assemble the Lotus IIIb in 1952 which was fitted with a linered down Ford 1172cc engine for the new 1172 Formula, It was linered down to 1098cc to allow it to compete in 'Up to 1100cc' sports car races. This car is now owned by Charles Levy at Boston, Mass.

Adam was to have had the first Mk VIII Lotus with the new Coventry Climax engine, so it was logical that we would both join the gang who helped build the first one from December 1953 to April 1954, when it took part in its first race at Oulton Park. I started doing some engineering drawings for Colin at the time, and continued doing so up to 1959, by which time the works had moved to Cheshunt and they had their own professional design staff. I was frequently to be seen in the Lotus pits at Grand Prix races where I acted as lap scorer.

I am currently writing a book about the time we built the first Mk VIII, and would like help in locating Peter "Curly" Singleton, who was one of the gang, and left soon afterwards for (I believe) Los Angeles. Can anyone help? [This book is now available in print from Coterie Press, see]

I am now a member of the Historic Lotus Register (HLR) and am trying to put right some of the errors which have been made in the early books of that period, such as the identity of the first Mk VI Lotus in 1952, and the story behind the first Mk VII in the same year which started life as a Formula 2 single seater and became the Clairmonte Special sports car.

I did own a Lotus Eleven of my own from 1956-58, and raced it on the Continent. It is now owned by Bob Engberg in California.

I am indebted to Graham Capel for the interview with John Teychenne which appeared in the HLR Magazine.

Peter Ross

© 2002, Peter Ross Photos, © as indicated. Reproduced with permission.