My Car Quest

March 25, 2019

A Tribute To An Unknown Classic Car Owner

by Wallace Wyss –

I don’t even know what the car was. I think it’s a Lotus Seventeen (but don’t take my word for that…I stand to be corrected).

It was both smaller and lighter than the Eleven, with more full aero.

Lotus

It was designed back when Lotus cars were still front engined, by Len Terry who I believe was involved with Ford on the GT40 later on.

Its rear suspension was the Chapman Strut, first used on the single seat Lotus Twelve, the Elite Coupe and the Lotus Fifteen. The front suspension was MacPherson suspension, a design actually used in the UK earlier on the Ford Consul in 1952 but Lotus later changed them on the 17 to wishbones. The car are fiberglass bodied

Only 21 cars were believed to have been made and little over half still exist.

So why am I saying this is a verbal tribute? Because I was at an early morning cars’n coffee event in Malibu when I saw this grey haired gent slide on the goggles and prepare to set sail with his young companion, age-wise probably his grandson, and a dog.

Now I congratulate California authorities for not stopping him and saying “that’s not a safety windshield” or some other thing, I mean admittedly, it’s a race car and he’s not racing it but merely driving on the street. To a gathering place where other enthusiasts can admire it, and maybe talk Lotus lore.

Lotus

There’s a lot of reasons people buy sports cars or exotic cars but looking at my snapshots, I think life style ought to be a consideration in buying a sports car.

This is the automotive equivalent of taking someone up in a WWII trainer plane, with the slide back canopy. In something so primitive in terms of creature comfort, each journey is a brave new world for some passenger who has never been in a race car, experienced the wind blasting your face and the sound of a race car and the buckboard ride.

Oh, there were people there with more expensive cars, but I don’t think any of them were having as much fun as these two (or three, if you want to count the dog and certainly the dog counts).

I also think this picture is a good answer to those who have a choice between buying two cars, one of which is a better long range investment and the other of which is just pure fun but has a limited market. I’d say one consideration should be: which car will your family enjoy more?

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of 18 automotive histories. He is currently writing the second in his “Ferrari Hunters” novel series. He can be reached at mendoart7@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 

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A Tribute To An Unknown Classic Car Owner
Article Name
A Tribute To An Unknown Classic Car Owner
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There’s a lot of reasons people buy sports cars or exotic cars but looking at my snapshots, I think life style ought to be a consideration in buying a sports car.
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Comments

  1. Totally agree Wallace, buying a car because of its upside potential is not necessarily a great reason to get one… nothing wrong with a car having some up side but fun and family acceptance is a better reason… If somewhere down the line you happen to make a return on your investment when you do decide to sell, well that is a wonderful added bonus. At the end of the day it is the stories attached to a given car that is the magic, and will indeed help to enhance its future value, with out the stories its just a car albeit perhaps a very neat one. Its always nice to know its history and particularly a nice buy when the previous owners loved and care for it… Too many people today forget that this is an important part of ownership. .

  2. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I ALWAYS FOUND THE, STREET ADDITION, OF LOTUS CARS TO BE TOO SMALL AND UNDER POWERED. I THINK THE MARCOS GT CARS, I HAD WITH A FORD 3 LITER V6, TO BE A LOT BETTER CAR IN EVERY WAY?

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