1964 Lotus 26R Shapecraft - chassis 26R-7

fantastic period history, including Goodwood

1964 Lotus 26R Shapecraft - chassis 26R-7

Lotus experts are divided as to whether 97 or 101 Lotus Elan 26R’s were built, whichever it is accepted that a genuine 26R is a rare car! The Shapecraft conversion consisted of an aluminium fastback riveted and bonded to the Elan body. The conversion was commissioned and sold by Surbiton Motors Limited, a Lotus dealer as well as agent for Jack Brabham. Proprieter Barry Wood was a privateer who raced Elans. The prototype Shapecraft was built on a standard Elan S1 and raced by him following its debut in 1963 at Snetterton. The Shapefcraft Elan S1 exhibited at the 1964 Racing Car Show was bought by Peter Sellers as a wedding present for his new wife Britt Ekland.

Available only in 1964 Barry Wood completed 20 in total of which only 3 were built on genuine 26R S1 cars. The three cars were built for racing and all survive. Barry Wood raced the first one RFP 696B, his friend Les Arnold the second BPE 230B and the car in our showroom, AUT 173B – chassis 26-R-07, was sold to Gentleman Driver, Richard Crosfield.

Having campaigned an MGA Twin Cam domestically and an Aston Martin DB2/4 in the 1962 Targa Florio, Crosfield was ready to step up to a more competitive car. He raced the car actively throughout 1964 with many club race podiums as well as enjoying strong finishes in more high profile races. The 1964 Goodwood BARC International GT race, which supported the headline Tourist Trophy race, he finished a highly credible 4th behind Mike Spence in an Elan and Dickie Stoop and Mike d’Udy in their dominant Porsche 904s.

In 1965 Crosfield set about winning the prestigious Autosport Championship but after a close fought season finished in second place. Having accomplished this he then sold the car in September 1965 to well-known club racer Jacquie Bond Smith, one half of the First Ladies International Racing Team (FLIRT).

She enjoyed a brief ownership competing three times in that year before giving the car to Gerry Marshall to sell ahead of the 1966 season. The next owner Trevor Howard, service manager at Lotus dealers The Chequered Flag, ran the car in club events for a year before selling to a trade associate Jim Jones.

He kept the car until 1975 when Gerry Marshall again brokered a sale this time to Len Bridges who co-founded Lawrencetune with Chris Lawrence. Following an extensive restoration and race preparation Len Bridges actively campaigned the car with many podiums in the growing pre 1966 Historic Racing scene.

Following a brief ownership with Lotus guru Tony Thompson the car was then sold in 1987 to Roberto Causo, the head of FIA Historic Cars Commission at the time. Simon Hadfield drove the car in that years Coppa Marzo on behalf of Causo and also ran the car. The car enjoyed three further owners competing in all the premier historic events including Tour Auto, Goodwood, GTSCC and Le Mans Classic all run in the car by Simon Hadfield.

Sold in 2016 to historic racer Mark Midgely the car continued to compete at premier historic events including Goodwood and also ran twice in the legendary Spa 6 Hour race. Sold earlier this year to the current owner who has now decided to retire from racing. The car has not been driven since a comprehensive preparation for the current owner by leading race preparation company Martin Stretton Racing and it is now totally race ready and comes with new HTP papers and a bespoke bound book by Porter Press on the history of this important car.