BaT Auction Preview: Single ownership for the last 30 years. Longtime veteran of West Coast historic race meetings and very competitive. Original chassis with Arch Motors stamping. Accompanied by multiple log books.
1962 Lotus 23B
s/n AM 123
Dark Green with Red Interior
If you were a racing spectator in the early 1960s, chances are you watched a Lotus 23B cross the finish line often well ahead of worthy competitors. At any given time, on any given day, at racing venues all over the world, a Lotus 23 was finishing first. Light, nimble, and graced with a power to weight ratio befitting that of a motorcycle, the Lotus 23 would become one of the most successful racecars of the period. Competing against larger and more powerful cars, the lightweight design, low profile, and robust high-revving engines, tormented Jaguars and Ferraris at premier competition events all over the world. At the 1962 Nurburgring 1000km, Jim Clark piloted his 23B, updated with the twin cam engine in place of the smaller Coventry Climax unit, to a 27 second lead over Porsches and Ferraris. His unrelenting lead evaporated only due to a broken exhaust manifold, pouring fumes into the cabin, forcing Clark to retire. In the coming years, the Lotus 23B would go on to achieve astonishing wins even decades after its peak construction as privateers posted victories in contemporary vintage racing events. The timeless lightweight design, mid engine, low-profile, and high-revving engine has assured the Lotus 23B not only a critical place in racing history, but also today as highly desirable and affordable vintage racecar.
Having been under current long-term vintage racing enthusiast ownership, this Lotus had been a regular participant in multiple vintage events until 2012 when it was last run in a competition event. Although early history is not known at this time, much of the paperwork originally delivered with the car was lost in a service truck theft while the car was under current ownership. The current owner recalls that the car was originally delivered to Australia where it had successfully competed in period. It was then moved to the UK where it was restored and eventually sold to a vintage racing enthusiast in Texas. Bruce Nesbit purchased the car and raced it 1988-1990 until selling it to the current owner. The current owner purchased the car in 1993 and has raced it for many years. The racing logbook (two combined as one logbook) on file with the car indicates multiple races from 1988-2012 when it was last raced.
Currently the car displays an Arch Motors number stamped on the frame between the seats, as well as a dash plate displaying the same Arch number. Under the care of Mike. Thompson of McGee Motorsports the car was consistently well prepared as reflected in copies of the accompanying invoices showing work performed on the car including typical race preparation, general services, and proper set up for gearing at specific venues such as Sears Point and other vintage venues.
Records accompanying the car indicate that recent work dates back to 2012 and 2011, mostly in preparation for the last competition event logged in 2012. In 2006 the engine was removed and rebuilt by Crowther. At that time the brakes were serviced, and the car prepared for track use including 2007 welding chassis cracks, magnafluxing suspension parts, ceramic coating exhaust, and replacing the rear hub bearings. Although the car has not been raced since 2012, the condition of the car overall still reflects positively in the workmanship and care dedicated to preparing this car in a professional and proper manner.
Today, this particular Lotus 23B presents as one might expect from a properly prepared vintage race car. The exterior is finished with sound cosmetics typical of competition use, supported by professionally sorted mechanicals. The paint is glossy and retains consistent color, while the body panels exhibit good fit and finish, once again typical of competition vehicles. The body lines blend into the clear windscreen, supporting the impossibly low lightweight fiberglass body. The four-lug wheels are finished in silver and are currently shod with Avon race tires. The chrome roll bar proudly displays many of the track day competition stickers, while various other exterior accents contribute to the dynamic visual presence of this Lotus 23B.
The clean and properly resolved exterior continues into the interior of the car with consistent features and nicely sorted details. The cockpit is tidy and refined with correct instrumentation, padded red steering wheel, and traditionally finished red vinyl interior surfaces accented over alloy panels. A five-point Willans harness drapes over the driver’s seat, while the matched vinyl passenger seat is outfitted with a competition lap belt. Details are purposeful and lightweight including an array of critical Smiths instrumentation, contemporary safety kill switch, and fire suppression trigger. Cohesively prepared and rewardingly simple in presentation, even the smallest details like door clasp cables, polished alloy gear selector, and Lotus emblems are artfully simplified without compromising either functionality or beauty.
Removing the front section of the car, the workmanship revealed in the front suspension, frame, and uprights is once again consistent with the proper professional care offered when this car was competing as a vintage racer. Here too the genius of Chapman engineering is evident in the material construction and impressive structural integrity achieved in such a compact and efficient package. Moving to the rear of the car, the hinged rear body panel opens to reveal the low-profile Lotus engine and engine compartment. Twin Weber 45DCOE carburetors feed the eager Lotus twin cam engine, while tuned exhaust exits combustion as a bundle of snakes collected to a rear exit pipe. The space frame and rear suspension area display clean cosmetics and proper hardware with features and components indicative of professional preparation. The systems, lines, and finishes not only inspire confidence, but they are also clean, well maintained, and reflective of previously dedicated attention to detail.
The car is accompanied by a car cover, the logbook (actually two books stapled together) with multiple racing entries, and a spare set of headlight covers.
This Lotus 23B represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a properly equipped example formerly professionally prepared for historic competition. With worldwide racing support, club events, and a generous technical community surrounding these cars, this Lotus 23B represents an ideal historic entry to many premier North American or European events, providing years of exciting competition driving and enjoyable ownership for the next fortunate participant.
Please note: This car is specifically built for competition use. We recommend the next owner engage a professional race shop to evaluate the car and properly prepare it for racing before it is driven in a competition setting.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608