Lotus 23B

Pacific Throttle House is thrilled with the chance to prepare and care for this beautiful Lotus 23B (s/n 23-S-49) for one of our best customers. When we found out we had a customer looking for a 23, we were happy to help arrange the purchase of this car, as it has been under the care of a friend of the shop for many years. It has a terrific history as one of the original two Normand Racing cars and was the first 23B to win a race in the hands of three-time F1 champion Jim Clark.

Early History

One of two cars delivered to Normand Racing for the 1963 season, this car was raced by Jim Clark and Tony Hegbourne, with two wins counting toward Clark’s sports car title that year. It is then sold to Tim Mayer, who put it to good use winning the U2L class at the Pacific Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. It went on to a long SCCA career into the 1990s before becoming a vintage racer up to this day.

Comfort and safety go hand in hand in racing, so a seat was poured, shaped, and reinforced for the 23’s new driver. The seat is made of a 2-part structural foam, we only use the spray can stuff as a binder (many types of glue will destroy the foam) and fill gaps for driver comfort. We also have these seats upholstered so that they look a lot better than this!

New Owner

After traveling to Southern California to inspect the car, the new owner was very pleased with the condition of the car and the extent of the spares package. The deal was done and the car headed up to Monterey, where PTH could go through it and prepare it for testing.

The 23B houses a Lotus Twin Cam motor in it’s tidy tube-frame chassis. With only 1050 pounds to motivate, this makes for a very quick little car! Oil and water were run through the frame up to the coolers in front, obviating the need for large tanks. This car has had the oil system replumbed and runs external lines, though the water still runs down the left side cockpit tube.

Inspection and Preparation

Once at our shop, the car was carefully inspected and prepared. We brazed two small cracks in the frame, replaced the wheel bearings at all four corners, resealed the gearbox, and did a full track prep including new fluids and alignment.

All prepped and ready to test! Since this car has been accepted to the 2017 Monterey Reunion, we have a lot of work to do to shake down and set up the car, as well as to learn about running the car. Fortunately, Colin Chapman had a way of designing good cars, so the Lotus seems to be very straightforward to take care of. Our job is to keep an eye on the chassis, and give the car a steady diet of good, clean fluids and lots of inspection!
…and finally, here we are! Mike is offering a very happy new owner some coaching feedback here. We have lots of testing to do to get the car and new driver ready for their debut at the Monterey Reunion at Laguna Seca, so we will be spending quite a few days here at Buttonwillow Raceway learning all we can about this great sports racer!