Monoposto: a term designating the body of a single-seat racing car. The term monoposto was introduced in 1931, when international rules were revised to delete the requirement to use only two-seat bodies for racing cars. A monoposto is an open body without doors, designed to place the driver in a semireclining position. The term is often used as a synonym for “racing car.”
Lotus equals racing and any respectable gathering of Lotus would include a few Monoposto cars. A few indeed did attend the 2012 Japan Lotus Day in the form of Formula One, Formula Three, Formula Two, Formula Junior, and Formula Ford.
The highlight for many, of course, were the Formula One cars. Most were Ford DFV powered, but throw in a Renault Turbo V6 and a two Judd V8’s and you’ve got something special. Walking though the garage while the F1 cars warmed up their engines was nirvana. I’m afraid no other word will do.
The mechanics revving the overly rich engines, filling the air with partially burnt race fuel, combined with the cacophony of three different engine types is an unforgettable experience.
The 1970 Lotus 72C in famous Gold Leaf colors belongs to Mr. Yoshio Fukuda. The type 72 pioneered inboard front brakes, side pod mounted radiators, torsion bar front suspension, and an overhanging rear wing. The ubiquitous Ford DFV supplies the power. Mr. Fukuda drove the car with style and grace around Fuji Speedway to the pleasure of many fans.
The Lotus 49 was the first successful Formula One car to incorporate the engine as part of the structural member. This particular car, chassis R4, was used by Jim Clark to win his final Grand Prix in Kyalami, South Africa in 1968.
This 1989 Lotus Type 101 is owned by Mr. Itaru Ishida and is powered by a JUDD 3.5L V8 engine. While the type 101 was never competitive, it was impressive to see it being put through the paces around Fuji.
Fukuda charges out of the pits and onto the track in the type 72C. This car was so spectacular to see and a favorite among the fans. The Gold Leaf colors look perfect on this car and to see it in action from such a close distance was incredible. One forgets how loud the unmuffled Ford DFV 3L engine is.
This 1981 Lotus 88B is driven by Nick Fennell. The type 88 was so advanced in the way of ground effects that is was banned from racing before it was fully developed. The car is powered by the Ford DFV.
The Lotus 78 was loosely based on the type 72 and features improved and advanced aero, longer wheel base, and superior weight distribution. For many the type 78 in the John Player Special colors embodies Lotus Formula One. This type 78 is chassis number 3 that Mario Andretti won the 1977 USA Grand Prix with.
The type 31 Formula Three car is fitted with a Ford 997cc three bearing engine producing in the range of 97-100 horsepower. This version is fitted with a modified single choke Weber carburetor.
The Lotus 41 was developed for Formula Two, Three, and Formula B. Typically they were powered by Ford 997 or BRM Twin Cams. This car is powered by the tried and trusted Ford Crossflow.
BRM’s Formula two, 1 litre four cylinder engine was not generally successful in period but it still is a welcome sight to see and hear.
The Lotus 59 was a available in 1969 -70 and was developed for Formulas Two, Three, and B. It was a very successful space frame car with 44 units sold.
From 1957 through 1990, Lotus developed approximately 58 variants of Monoposto cars with many still in service today. In the next and final report from Japan Lotus Day, we will take a look at the sports racers.
Please be sure to read part 1 and pat 2 at the links below.