Lotus 17 Race Car
Aluminum frame reinforced
Single with double wishbones
TThe Lotus 17 was a two-seater racing sports car , which was built by Lotus in March 1959 as the successor to the legendary Lotus XI .
This was largely unsuccessful model and was the successor to the Eleven introduced for 1959. It was small, compact and light and featured strut-type suspension front and rear.
There was the choice of 742 cc and 1100 cc Climax engines. The car was no match for the contemporary Lola, but remained available until superseded by the rear-engined 23 in 1962.
It is today considered the smallest and lightest racing sports car, which originated in the company of Colin Chapman . From the company founder's quote comes: "More power makes a car on the straights faster, less weight makes it faster everywhere." At the time it was claimed that 6 hp (4.4 kW) would be enough to the only 72 cm low vehicle 100 km / h to make it fast.The goal of the Type 17 was to develop a lighter and successor in order to beat the now very successful Lola MK1 .
The chief engineer of the De Haviland aircraft factory Frank Costin (brother of the later Cosworth founder Mike Costin ) was responsible for the first time used in Lotus plastic body. Colin Chapman and racing car designer Len Terry were responsible for the construction of the 23 kg lightweight aluminum tubular frame . Here, Chapman sat down with a MacPherson system on the front axle over the concerns of Len Terry. This turned out later as a mistake.
The factory drivers including Graham Hill and Alan Stacey and private customers described the original handling of the 17 as life-threatening. Accordingly, the hoped for greater success in racing. Only Graham Hill won in October 1959 a victory in Brands Hatch for the factory team. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans , two teams ( Michael Taylor , Jonathan Sieff and John Fisher, Alan Stacey, Keith Greene ) used the Lotus 17 with a 750 cc engine. To date, this is considered the fastest 750 cc racing car in Le Mans and set new records of performance .
The homologation weight of the vehicle was only 360 kg. Magnesium wheels, differential with magnesium housing and the very light Coventry Climax engine made this possible. Most vehicles were delivered with 1098 cc FWA, two with 750 cc, in Canada a vehicle was used in 1959 with a 1460 cc FWB engine. In Denmark, a Lotus 17 launched in 1959 with a 1216 cc FWE engine. The vehicle had all Girling disc brakes as they were then used in Formula 1 . On the rear axle these are arranged inside directly next to the differential.
Because of the dangerous driving behavior, it was finally decided to repair the already delivered vehicles on the front axle. All but one vehicle were converted to wishbones in the style of the Lotus Elite . Thus the suspension problems were over. The conversion fell into a troubled time for Lotus with the move to new premises in July 1959 from Hornsey to the much more spacious buildings in Chesthunt, Hertfordshire.
Even before the Type 17 could show its real potential was his era to an end, because as early as 1960 dominated the racing sports cars with mid-engine. Only today, the few surviving specimens in historic racing show the genius of an uncompromising Lotus design with a possible power to weight ratio of less than 3 kg / hp.
23 vehicles built at the time, of which today around the 10 originals exist.
Lotus 17 Technical details and specifications (1959-1963)
Frame: Aluminum frame reinforced tubular frame 23 kg heavy
water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke engine from Coventry Climax
FWA, FWE or FWB type, 750 cc -1460 cc,
Longitudinal, engine block, cylinder head and oil sump,
three main crankshaft bearings, one overhead camshaft (three or five bearings) powered by spur gears and chain
Weber twin carburettor
TRANSMISSION DRIVE LINE:
Single disc dry clutch
manual four-speed BMC, bevel / ring gear with differential lock in magnesium housing
Front:Single with double wishbones (original with MacPherson struts) Coil springs with hydraulic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear:single struts, trailing arms and drive shafts for wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers ("Chapman axle")
rack and pinion steering
Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system with balance beam, disc brakes from Girling with aluminum two-piston fixed caliper all around, rear inside
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT:
Length × width × height: 3327 × 1410 × 727 mm
Weight: 360 kg
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