GRAHAM HILL GOLD LEAF F1 LOTUS 49B FROM THE DAWSON-DAMER COLLECTION TO BE AUCTIONED BY BONHAMS

One of the most renowned of legendary Lotus head Colin Chapman’s landmark Formula 1 car designs, the Lotus 49 as introduced in 1967 not only launched the racing world’s most successful Grand Prix power unit – the Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 – into racing history, it also became one of the longest-lived of Grand Prix car designs – serving Team Lotus into 1970, and being campaigned by such superstar World Champions as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Chassis number ’49-R8′ was part of Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s motor racing armory, and is the last Lotus to be sold from the collection of the much respected and sorely missed British-born Formula One Lotus collector and racer, the late John Dawson-Damer.

Never before offered at auction, ’49-R8′ was built in October 1968 and is one of a handful remaining of just 12 Lotus 49s produced. Its Colin Chapman concept, detailed by his gifted designer Maurice Phillippe, perfected a stressed-skin monocoque forward fuselage which terminated immediately behind the driver’s cockpit, to which the brand-new Cosworth-Ford DFV engine was then bolted as the rear chassis member, carrying the ZF or Hewland gearbox and rear suspension.

The Lotus 49 instantly set new Formula 1 performance standards, and won its debut race, the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Jim Clark. In 1968 Graham Hill won his second Formula 1 World Championship title in the developed Type 49 and 49B cars and, when brand new, chassis ‘R8’ – now to be offered by Bonhams – became the new World Champion’s mount for the Tasman Championship races in New Zealand and Australia in January-February 1969.

Graham Hill drove ‘R8’ – rigged with the distinctive high-level strutted downforce wings of the period – to second place at both Christchurch and Invercargill, New Zealand, before finishing fourth at the Australian GP at Brisbane, and sixth at Melbourne. This great car was shipped back to Europe in time to be driven brilliantly by Richard Attwood in the World Championship-qualifying 1969 Monaco Grand Prix, finishing fourth and setting a memorable fastest lap.

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