by Richard Keyes
Lotus 30 Beginnings – 1964
Chronology Of This Car
Originally built for Jim Clark to race in the International BOAC 500 km endurance race and capable of nearly 200 MPH.1 Clark, a Scotsman, was the world’s greatest driver winning 2 World Driver Championships in 1963 and 1965.2
The Lotus 30 was introduced at the Racing Car Show, London, in January 1964. Because of the great success Lotus had in 1963 at Indy, using the Ford V8, Colin Chapman 3 wanted to build a sports car utilizing all of this experience. The logical extension of the Indy Program with Ford Motor Company was to build a Ford-powered Lotus race car to compete in the Can-Am series for big sports-racing cars.
Colin Chapman wanted to utilize the backbone frame idea that had proved so successful in the road going Elan, a front engine small sports car. His concept was to turn the frame around, front to back, so the engine was behind the driver for the best high-powered performance. Colin had Len Terry4 design the car, utilizing a one-piece glass-fibre body. For the 1965 racing program Lotus had Dave Lazenby in charge of both the Indy race team and Lotus 30/40 sports car operations.
This car was assembled in John Willment’s Race Shop at Feltham, Middlesex, for his team “Race Proved by Willment”.5
Willments’ race team was the most professional racing team in Europe during this time, they were campaigning 27 cars on three continents.6 Delivered from Lotus Components Ltd., Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in kit form, Jeff Uren, Team Manager of Race Proved by Willment had assembly started in the winter of 1964-65. Bob Minogue, an Australian, was the mechanic who put it all together.7 The original engine was supplied by Ford Advanced Vehicles and was a 4.7 litre (289 cu In) cast iron Ford V8. These engines, Number 1019, was modified by Lotus to produce 350-360 BHP @ 6500 RPM Engine Number 1019 is the Ford GT40 block 4-bolt main cast in 1967 and built by Mathwall.
All of the Series 2 Lotus 30s were fitted with a heavier 18 gauge steel backbone frame. This car is the fifth car made of the Series 2, Type 30 Lotus. There were 21 Series 1 cars, 9 Series 2s,8 and additionally, 3 Lotus Type 40s produced. This car is identified as a 30/40 because it has been updated to the 40’s specifications. Willment’s Race Shop had previously assembled and was maintaining John Dean’s Lotus 30 as well. Dean’s 30 was the second Series 2 car produced.
Lotus 30’s were designed as racing / sports car ‘Specials’ because there was no FIA International Class until 1966 when FIA drew up a new set of regulations and placed them in Group 7 Category C Appendix J. This class of racing sports car became world famous in the unlimited racing class and the CAN-AM United States Road Racing Championship series initiated by SCCA.