Sydney Retro Racefest saw a huge amount of historic metal descend on Sydney Motorsport Park, think of a popular historic racer and it was there!

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Camera lenses however were drawn to this Lotus. Curves in all the right places, and a true piece of automotive history. One of only two LM 150s ever built. The main thing that sets the LM 150 apart from the other Lotus Elevens is the use of the Coventry Climax engine. This particular car is chassis number 305.

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An interesting side note is that some people believe there were actually three Le Mans 150s built, however one of original LM 150s was destroyed in a crash and was subsequently rebuilt by the factory, where it was issued with a new chassis number. Three LM 150 chassis numbers, but only two cars.

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This rare Lotus LM 150 has had a long life.  Built in early 1957, it was originally raced in the Europe and Great Britain before being bought by a Queenslander, Charlie Whatmore. Whatmore raced the car on and off until 1961.

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The car saw a few different owners after Charlie, with a hodge podge of modifications being done that would make the purists cry – thankfully they were soon to be reversed.

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1999 saw the purchase of the car by its now current owner: Richard Harris. Richard spent an impressive 11 years restoring the car to its former glory. It’s hand made body panels, and its unique engine were just some of the parts that Richard managed to track down, to ensure this car looks just like it did when it first rolled off the factory floor.

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The car still sports the names of its former drivers – a friendly reminder of how much this car has seen over the years.

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It’s refreshing to see cars like this out and about, after all, they were built to be used. Too often we see rare and valuable cars parked in a garage or museum, never to see the light of day again. Our hats come off for Richard for not only keeping this piece of automotive & racing history alive, but for taking it to events like Retro Racefest so that it can be shared with others in the community.

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Photos by Matt Everingham || Story by Curran Brennan

Resources:

P. Quinn 2012, Vintage Racecar
https://vintageracecar.com/three-kind-1957-lotus-eleven-lm 150