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Lotus 16 - 1959
The lotus 16 was generally reckoned to be one of the most refined and well-developed of the companys front-engined racers, though it was not the most successful. It was also one of the last of the companys racers. The 16 was derived from the lotus 12, which it followed in most of the essentials, notably its motorcycle-type positive-stop gearbox (known less than affectionately as the queer box), its obliquely mounted engine and its offset drive-shaft angled to the left of the cockpit.
Top speed of 175 mph
engine typedisplacement: Water-cooled, double-overhead-cam, 4-cylinder coventry climax fpf
displacement 2,495 (2.5 l) power rating 220 hp transmission 5-speed manual
chassis: Steel-tube space frame with scuttle hoop; Front independent suspension by coil springs and wishbones; Rear independent suspension by chapman strut and coil springs; 4-wheel disc brakes (inboard for rear brakes); 1,210 lbs.
price: Not available
the l6s bodywork was reminiscent of that of the vanwall, which was hardly surprising since pioneer aerodynamicist frank costin had designed both. Following colin chapmans simplicate and add lightness philosophy, the chassis of the 16 was constructed of even thinner tubes and the bodywork of finer-gauge metal than the previous model. This time, however, chapman went too far, and the 16 became notorious for shedding vital components.
innes ireland, who drove a 16, recalled that if the brakes worked, the chassis broke. If the
chassis held up, then the wheels fell off. Witty commentators affirmed that it was mainly the driver who held the constituent parts of the car together. For the i960 season, chapman put the engine behind the driver.
Nicknamed mini-vanwall, the lotus 16 was more a promise of things to come than an actual racing success.
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