1960 Lotus 19 2.5L Climax “Monte Carlo”
s/n MK19-959, Engine no. FPF 1221
Old English white with Green Stripes
Inspired by John Cooper’s new Monaco, the rear engine Lotus 19 utilized much the same suspension, braking, and in Climax form, power plant as the highly successful Lotus 18 Formula I and Formula II package, but with a closed wheel sports racing body and chassis package. A handful of the 19s were equipped by Lotus with the desirable 2.5L Coventry Climax FPF series DOHC inline four cylinder engines which had revolutionized Grand Prix racing, winning five of eight races during the 1959 season, and eight of ten races in 1960. The innovative, Lotus built “Queerbox” transaxle was employed which, at the time was the smallest, lightest racing gearbox available for this application, boasting a sequential shift pattern and the possibility for ratio changes in under ten minutes.
When the Lotus 19 arrived in the international competition spotlight at Riverside Raceway in 1960 it “brought in a new era for sports car racing.” Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney obliterated the existing track records, Gurney by over four seconds. Moss had performed the initial tests of the new Lotus in early 1960 at Silverstone where he eclipsed the existing sports racing car track record by 1.5 seconds, just 36 days after his horrific shunt at Spa. He was still nursing two broken legs and a fractured back, but “was in good spirits after posting the time.” Moss also won with the 19 at its first official race meeting in Karlskoga, Sweden in August of 1960.
Back in the United States, after mechanical difficulties had sidelined him while leading at Riverside, Moss when on to win both heats of the First Pacific races at Laguna Seca in October of 1960. Gurney went on to win at Nassau in December of 1960, finishing out an incredible first year for Lotus’ new sports racing chassis.
As was traditionally the case for Lotus, production numbers for the 19 were low, and customers jockeyed for the opportunity to compete with this new, state of the art platform. Just sixteen cars would be built in total. Chassis were granted to the best sports car racing had to offer: Moss, Gurney, Maston Gregory, Innes Ireland, and in the case of this car, s/n 959, a promising young Formula One hopeful, Peter Ryan.
Peter Ryan was a Philadelphia born Canadian resident who moved to St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada to be with his Mother who owned the Mont-Tremblant ski resort. At 19 years of age, Ryan got his start in racing running a Porsche RSK during the 1959 and 1960 seasons, often nipping at the heels of Roger Penske who was impressed by this new talent.
The 1961 season proved fruitful for Ryan, driving his new Lotus 19, finishing second to Roger Penske’s Maserati Birdcage at Limerock Park, before earning outright wins at St. Eugene and Mosport (ahead of Moss and Gendebien in similar 19s), and Ontario where he beat Pedro Rodriquez in his heavier and less sophisticated Ferrari.
This victory, combined with other points earned in the 1961 season won Peter Ryan the “Drive to Europe” award allowing him to head across the Atlantic for competition on the European circuit, primarily in Formula Juniors. Ryan won a Formula Junior heat during the Formula One weekend at Monaco, which caught the attention of Luigi Chinetti. Recognizing his talent, Chinetti placed Ryan in a Ferrari 248 at Sebring and Daytona, and partnered him with John Fulp in a 250 GTO for Lemans. Regretfully, at the young age of 22, Peter Ryan’s life and race career were cut short when he was killed in practice for an open wheel race at Reims, France.
For the 1962 season, s/n 959 was sold to R.M. Hollingshead Company, and driven by Francis Bradley. Bradley produced a second win at Mosport, as well as a string of podium finishes (behind Maston Gregory and Pedro Rodriguez) en route to the 1962 Canadian National Championship. Dennis Coad won the 1963 Canadian National Championship in s/n 959 after a consistent string of strong outings, including a third at Mosport behind Rodriquez and Grahame Hill in the new Lotus 23.
Lotus MK19-959 saw sparse competition during the 1964 season and was put in to storage, still in its original specification, not to reemerge until 1977 when purchased by well known vintage car collector, restorer, and driver Jack Boxstrom. Shortly thereafter the car was purchased by Tom Skouras of Los Angles, Jim Luckman, and Lou Sellyei, whom commissioned a full restoration by Griswold Co. in Berkeley, California. It was raced with great success from 1980 to 1983 by Tom Skouras- achieving overall wins at Portland, Sears Point, Riverside, Laguna Seca (Monterey Historics), and Sebring before the 12 Hours. Following this, the car was again stored from 1983 to 1987 when it was bought once more by Jack Boxtrom. It was then sold the current owner, an avid vintage racing participant and active, well regarded member of the west coast historic racing community.
Today, MK19-959 wears its original racing livery as it did when supplied to Formula One hopeful Peter Ryan. The car is professionally maintained and track supported without regards to cost and is presented in event ready trim, needing nothing beyond pre-race cursory preparation. Since rebuild by Ivan at Phil Reilly and Co, the engine has logged approximately 10 hours. Dyno results are on file for the latest engine rebuild showing 238hp at 6,700 rpm. The original Lotus “Queerbox” is included with the sale, but a more operator friendly Hewland transaxle has been installed with all the appropriate linkage changes made such that the center shift mechanism was retained. On the whole, the car is in outstanding mechanical and cosmetic condition, and has been a regular participant in prestigious historic racing venues all over the United States.
This Lotus 19 is supplied with an extensive spares package including the original Lotus transaxle, as well as a magnificent documentation file containing: an original 1961 Riverside Grand Prix program, a 1981 issue Historic Motorsports Journal with a detailed article on s/n 959, the June 1961 Car and driver road test of the Lotus 19, many period and vintage on track photos in 8x10 form, letters and notes from previous owners, a restoration photo essay, the original Lotus MK19-959 chassis plate (well worn), dyno sheets from the most recent engine rebuild in 2007, invoices for work performed by Phil Reilly and Co, as well as ownership and racing history summaries.
An uncontested, and exceedingly proper example from a golden era for international sports car racing, this marvelous Lotus is an appealing purchase for the competition-minded historic racer in search of the ultimate go-fast mount with which to compete against the multi-million dollar Maseraits, Ferraris, and Listers, as well as the preservation minded historical enthusiast looking for what is likely the most unaltered, no stories Lotus 19 2.5L Climax in existence.
Period race results for this chassis are as follows:
(Date, Circuit, Event, Driver, Finishing Position)
July 1, 1961 Lime Rock Peter Ryan 2nd
July 1961 St. Eugene CBC Trophy Races Peter Ryan 1st
August 19, 1961 Mosport SCC Trophy Races Peter Ryan 1st
1961 Watkins Glen SCCA National Peter Ryan DNF
Sept. 30, 1961 Mosport Canadian GP Peter Ryan 1st
1961 Riverside Times-Mirror GP Peter Ryan DNF
1961 Laguna Seca SF Examiner GP Peter Ryan 8th
June 2, 1962 Green Acres LASC Great Trophy Races F. Bradley 4th
June 9, 1962 Mosport Players 200 F. Bradley 3rd
July 21, 1962 Mosport GUCC Grand Nationals F. Bradley 1st
Sept. 2, 1962 Ft. McLeod (Alberta) National Championship Race 2nd
Sept. 8, 1962 Mosport Indian Summer Trophy Races F. Bradley 2nd
Sept. 29, 1962 Mosport Canadian GP F. Bradley 3rd
1962 Canadian Racing Driving Champion – Francis Bradley, Lotus 19-959
May 4, 1963 Westwood B.C. Dennis Coad DNF
June 1, 1963 Mosport Players 200 FIA DNF
June 15, 1963 Mosport GVCC Grand Nationals Dennis Coad 1st
Sept. 7, 1963 Mosport Indian Summer Trophy Races Dennis Coad 2nd
Sept. 15, 1963 St. Eugene MMGCC Dennis Coad DNF
Sept. 28, 1063 Mosport Canadian GP Dennis Coad 3rd
1963 Canadian Racing Driving Champion – Dennis Coad, Lotus 19-959
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
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