Wednesday, 8 October 2014


 We take a final look at today's H&H Sale at the Imperial War Museum
Unique aluminium coachwork by Williams & Pritchard

Estimate: (£) 50,000 - 70,000
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Resolutely calm under pressure, Ian Walker's impressive `Boy's Own' resume included stints as a Lancaster bomber rear gunner, rally driver, circuit racer and team boss. Having forged close links with Colin Chapman to the point that he (a) operated as Ian Walker Team Lotus, (b) could call upon the services of F1 drivers and (c) helped develop the 26R, the London-born entrepreneur set his sights on winning the Index of Thermal Efficiency at the 1964 Le Mans 24-hours. Based on a modified Elan chassis but bodied in aluminium by Williams & Pritchard to Ian Walker's own design, the resultant fastback coupe was not only a highlight of the 1964 Racing Car Show but also partnered Jackie Stewart to 4th overall (1st-in-class) at that May's Montlhery Prix de Paris. Suitably smitten, Swiss businessman Hermann Huber tried to buy the lightweight streamliner there and then but was politely told that a pre-Le Mans sale was impossible. Sadly, a crash during practice for the Nurburgring 1000km (due to brake failure) meant that the sports racer never participated in the French 24-hour endurance classic. Put aside until the season's end, it was subsequently repaired and advertised for sale in the January 29th 1965 issue of Autosport by which time its creator had acceded to Hermann Huber's revised request that he build a second (and final) aluminium-clothed Elan.
Intended for Mr Huber's father - a glass manufacturer with an impressive collection of sports and racing cars - the I.W.R. Lotus Elan GT was again styled by Walker himself and wrought in Williams & Pritchard's Edmonton workshops. A pure road car, the two-seater nevertheless incorporated lessons learnt from its competition siblings such as a reinforced front bulkhead, rear anti-roll bar, oil radiator, twin brake servos and sliding spline driveshafts etc. The earliest of two one-eighth scale blueprints on file (dated 21st October 1964) indicates that the car was initially conceived with a single cowled headlamp per side, while the final version shows the GT's distinctive quad headlamp visage. Speaking to writer Philip Porter for an article which appeared in the October 1987 issue of Classic & Sportscar magazine Ian Walker recalled the reason for his creation's Ferrari 330GT 2+2 / Gordon Keeble-esque headlamp tilt was that "I originally wanted them level but, with twin headlights, on full lock the wheel on the full bump would have first fouled the rear of the headlamp". Finished in Huber Senior's preferred shade of French Blue, the I.W.R. Lotus Elan GT was trimmed by coachbuilder Harold Radford using Red Connolly leather and sported bespoke `Walker Elan' badging.
Featured in the November 1965 issue of Road & Track magazine, chassis IWR/GT/2 has since graced the pages of Classic & Sportscar (October 1987, July 2012), Motor Sport (February 2010), Club Lotus News (July 2012), Historic Lotus No. 56 (Spring 2009), Julian Balme's authoritative book `Ian Walker Racing: The Man and His Cars' and hopefully Octane (as part of an upcoming feature piece). Remaining part of the Huber family collection for thirty-seven years and retaining the `IWR Elan' number plates and wooden-boxed spares kit which they had made for it, this unique Lotus was repatriated by Stewart Couch of Stockbridge at an indicated 69,000km (42,800 miles). Entering the current ownership via Paul Matty some three years ago, the GT has since benefited from a bottom-end engine overhaul (re-ground crankshaft, new bearings / pistons) plus attention to its clutch, suspension and carburettors etc. Pleasingly retaining its original `twin-cam' powerplant not to mention almost all its original French Blue paintwork and Red Connolly leather upholstery, the two-seater is a true timewarp.
Known to have had Colin Chapman's approval - he viewed its track-orientated sister car as unwanted competition for the 26R but insisted on inspecting the roadgoing GT before it departed for Switzerland - this compelling Elan occupies a unique place in Lotus history. A truly coachbuilt car from a time when the art was all but disappearing in the UK, its odometer now shows a highly credible 70,300km (43,860 miles). Offered for sale with UK V5C Registration Document (which erroneously dates it to 1966), Ian Walker correspondence, blueprints, original workshop manual and history file.
PLEASE NOTE: This lot does not have a current MOT certificate.
PLEASE NOTE: Octane magazine would like to do a feature article on the IWR-Lotus Elan GT should the idea be of interest to a new owner. Octane have already featured preview pieces about the car in their current issue and on their website but would look to write a more in-depth piece on this historic Lotus.


General Specs  LOTUS ELAN GT (Not Vehicle above)

Configuration Lotus / Ford Straight 4
Location Front, longitudinally mounted
Construction cast-iron block, aluminium alloy head
Displacement 1.558 liter / 95.1 cu in
Bore / Stroke 82.6 mm (3.3 in) / 72.8 mm (2.9 in)
Valvetrain 2 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed 2 Weber 45 DCOE Carburettors
Aspiration Naturally Aspirated
Power 160 bhp / 119 KW @ 7250 rpm
BHP/Liter 103 bhp / liter

Body aluminium panels
Chassis steel backbone
Front suspension double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension lower wishbones, coil springs over dampers, ant-roll dampers
Steering rack-and-pinion
Brakes discs, all-round
Gearbox 4 speed Manual
Drive Rear wheel drive

Weight 500 kilo / 1102.3 lbs
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2134 mm (84 in) / 1194 mm (47 in) / 1219 mm (48 in)

Performance figures
Power to weight 0.32 bhp / kg

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