Past Exhibitions / THE ART OF RACE
LOTUS 11 GT ‘Breadvan’
Private Collection race prepared by Twyman Racing
Engine: Coventry-Climax FWA (1098 cc) SOHC Inline 4 cylinder
Transmission: BMC A30, 4-speed
This unique Lotus 11 GT Breadvan is part of automotive history of the United Kingdom. It was absent from the racing world for the last half-century: before its restoration, the last time anyone saw it at full throttle was on September 12, 1964 where it finished second in class at Goodwood.
The Lotus Eleven was a racing car built in various versions by Lotus from 1956 until 1958. In total, about 270 Elevens of all versions were built, but only this one was successfully made as a “one-off Breadvan". The standard Lotus eleven was already pretty fast, but the benefits of the shooting brake body paid off for them as well..
The ‘Breadvan’ concept of the Sixties was made famous by the Ferrari 250 ‘Drogo’ based on Ferrari 250 GT SWB,. After British racing driver Graham Capel saw how successful these Bizzarrini, Drogo, Neri and Bonacini's Ferrari 250 design was, he decided to try their trick on his Lotus 11. To emulate their success he had to turn the car in a sort of lightweight shooting brake . The idea was pretty simple: to create a “Kamm effect “.
Instead of tapering away a cars’ roofline to leave the classic coupe shape, the coach-builder would let it run to the back of the car at a similar height to the windscreen and then drop almost vertically. The result was an area of greater low pressure at the back of the car, which improved stability and performance at speed.
The final shape of the car and the look was frequently considered to be less pleasing to the eye- similar to a van they said- but in the case of this Lotus 11GT the designer effort brought to a fantastic and futuristic car, one of the best-looking of all the Breadvans, giving great performance at high-speed venues. After its last race in 1964, the radical body panels of this Lotus 11 GT Breadvan got removed and the car was turned back to a stock Lotus 11. Its current owner decided to restore it to its former glory and Twyman Racing got the job to return this piece of automotive history into its fastest form, and finished in its original Plumstead Racing livery of course.
Thanks to the man responsible for the project Neil Twyman, after being off the tracks for half a century, the Lotus 11 GT 'Breadvan' came back with a speed that could beat Ferrari V12s at Goodwood and with its four-cylinder Coventry Climax engine it finished second in class again in the Moss Trophy . Not only was this Lotus breadvan faster than all the Ferraris, but it also crossed the finish line just half a second after the winner Aston Martin DB4GT following an hour of full on racing. And to those who keep on arguing about the low allure of the breadvans, as “race fighter” we answer…it’s all about lap times and the art of racing
William Lansbury and The Art of Speed
No other sport comes close to the drama, excitement and glamour of motor racing.
These posters capture the essence of this excitement.
Imagine drifting through Casino Square fractions of an inch from the barriers or touching 190mph along The Mulsanne straight at dawn scything through the morning mist.
The photographs come from an age before barriers or crowd control when photographers would stand on the apex of a corner to "get up close and personal " with the drivers as they flick their cars side ways at 130 mph deftly controlling a beautiful drift.This is what inspires children to want to be heroes, dreams are made of this.