Rescue & Restoration
|the Lotus Eleven Register|
|In 1973 a Lotus Eleven owner in Michigan,
USA, mailed a brief outline of the specification and maintenance of
the car to 28 other owners he had located in the US and
Australia. The man was Russ Hoenig, and his Lotus Eleven
Register soon became a newsletter as the other owners welcomed
his initiative. The Australian was Adrian Schagen, and he became a
prime source of information about the car for the rest of the group.
Somehow, original factory blueprints were obtained, parts sources were
traced, and a network of interested and enthusiastic owners was formed.
Some of their cars were still being raced while
others were simply piles of parts in a corner of a garage. A few
were being driven on the street. But most were badly in need of
help and the newsletter came just in time.
It was in the mid-1970's that vintage car racing gained a foothold and interest re-awakened for old racing cars. With that background the Lotus Eleven Register provided a rapidly growing body of technical knowledge and a piecemeal unraveling of history, allowing owners to fully recognize the significance of each Eleven. A sense of authenticity in restoration and a sensible direction to race preparation began here.
The Register newsletter came out three or four times a year until issue #14 in December 1976 when publication ended. More than anyone else, Russ Hoenig succeeded in rescuing many Elevens from oblivion by helping their owners with research, information and enthusiasm.
This website attempts to continue that effort.
|the Historic Lotus Register|
|Another key figure in the revival of the
Eleven was Victor Thomas of Norwich, England. Like others
who bought an Eleven in the mid-1970's, he thought he had the only one
left in the world when he towed it home in 1974. Fifteen years earlier
he had helped build one up from a kit, but as he examined his
purchase he had too many questions and too few answers. He advertised
for parts and help. After corresponding with Chris Draper in
Germany, it was suggested that Thomas form a register for early Lotus cars. In 1975 it took three months for him to find another
Eleven owner (Bill Friend) but he in turn knew six others and so the
register was born. It was Bill Friend who suggested the
Lotus Register, and designed the logo. After another three months another 36
members were included. About this time Thomas was introduced (by
Brett Johnson of the USA) to the Lotus Eleven Register and a free
exchange of information began. At this stage the HLR was
still in its infancy while Hoenig's register was already up to issue #7,
so the information flow was one-way across the Atlantic.
Today the HLR produces a high quality magazine, Historic Lotus, that features articles on Lotus cars built prior to 1960. HLR is formally organized with a leadership group of registrars devoted to historical and technical research, each of whom specializes in a particular Mark of early Lotus. It is recognized worldwide as the collective authority on these cars. Annual meetings are held in England. For more information, contact the Historic Lotus Register.
An Internet forum on early Lotus history exists at http://groups.google.com/group/Lotus-History for those interested in serious, real-time discussion of this topic.
The long awaited step-by-step restoration manual may not be practical for several reasons. But an attempt to explain the anatomy of a Lotus Eleven will soon be posted online, as well as a parts list and interchange guide.
The webmaster invites owners with stories to tell to submit these for inclusion in the expanded and detailed Restoration section now being created.
Of the 271 Lotus Elevens built by Lotus, about three
hundred exist today, and more are being 'found' every
year. It is necessary therefore that any buyer beware of fakes,
stolen histories. If you are not comfortable with a replica, don't
pay for one. Authentic Elevens should already be registered with the
There are many known replica Eleven's around and an Internet search will provide information on how they are made. Some are worthy of everyone's notice.
LOTUS ELEVEN LIBRARY
The books reviewed here have been selected for their insights into the Lotus Eleven and the people who produced it. Of special value to the historically minded are period photographs and a sense of the contemporary significance of the car. To read a review click on any of the covers below.