Lotus 23B Gets its Rev On

If you’re a fan of Jim Clark, as well as David and Goliath stories, then you’re probably familiar with the Lotus 23 sports racer. You may, however, have not been fortunate enough to hear what one sounds like. . . This 1963 23B was in a Burbank, CA shop a couple of weeks back having its fiberglass body sanded and prepped for paint. The owner happened to be there and was nice enough to fire up the car’s 1600-cc Lotus four for us. [vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/11497982[/vimeo] Now that’s some small engine music. The Lotus-designed twin-cam head (fun fact, this engine has three camshafts as the cam in block was left in place when the new head was put on because it also runs the oil pump and distributor.) is a familiar sight to any Elan owner, and over the years it has proven itself as one of history’s great engines on both the street and track. Grab a gander at the plaque just under the manufacturer’s number plate to see this car’s racing bona fides, that’s a lot of first place finishes. Not only that, but the 23s, with their little 100 – 150 bhp engines, would run with – and away from – much bigger bore Porsches, Aston Martins and Ferraris. A big reason for its success is the car’s light weight, made possible by Colin Chapman’s unflagging demand that everything extraneous be ejected from the design, and anything that could serve more than one function did. That’s why you’ll see a frame rail also serving as a coolant runner between engine and radiator, the temp sender being screwed into it right next to the IP-mounted gauge. That’s some good thinking. A full gallery of the work-in-progress 23B is below. [nggallery id=63]

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