Best Marque Name Ever? Deep Sanderson 301 Le Mans Coupe

Of all the minuscule British racers with awesome names (Clan Crusader, anyone?), I happen to think that the Deep Sanderson 301 has the field beat on absurdity alone. Apparently, “Heep Sanderson” was a jazz tune popular in the UK at the time, although the internet bears no trace of it now. Chris Lawrence founded Lawrence Tune in the late ’50s, after a successful season that ended with him being crowned National Production Sports Cars champion in 1959. Deciding to delve into constructing special racecars, he set himself apart by attaching his mother’s maiden name, “Deep,” to the song title – thus, Deep Sanderson was born. Their first effort was the 105, which was a open-wheeled, cigar-shaped Formula Junior car. Lawrence planted a Mini drivetrain behind the driver, and invented his own suspension for the car, called the “Lawrence Link” (which deserves to be the subject of its own post). It held its own with the Lotus 18, Lotus’ first mid-engine car, and Lawrence was thus rather encouraged by his endeavor. Lawrence decided to produce a two-seat road car to capitalize on his efficient drivetrain and novel suspension, and thus a sexy alloy body was stretched over the Mini drivetrain, and called the 301. It was to be sold in kit form, but Lawrence decided to campaign it first. The little Deep raced in ’63, ’64, and ’68 with a variety of engines, and although one source claims it won the 2 liter class at Le Mans in 1963, I can’t find any other confirmation of that. Unfortunately, Lawrence had sold the Lawrence Link design to Rover, which sat on the rights and refused to re-license them for his use, so Deep Sanderson’s potential glory was stillborn. But hey, it has a great name, right? Images: Williams & Pritchard Registry; Information: Lawrence Tune

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