Giant killer. It was a name earned by the diminutive English Lotus 23 on Germany’s tortuous Nordschleife Nürburgringagainst Ferraris, Aston Martins and Porsche 718’s.
Colin Chapman created the 23, beginning with his rear-engine Lotus 22 open-wheel racer. Using the same independent suspension and disc brakes as the 22, Chapman widened the frame and clothed it with a full fiberglass sports car body.
Debut for the 23 was at the ‘Ring’ in May 1962, Jimmy Clark driving. Motorsport magazine wrote: “that Clark ran away and hid from the rest of the field.”
A broken exhaust ended Clark’s run, but that day opened the 23’s record book. Some 130 were built and raced in a variety of classes around the world…..often with success. Today, Lotus 23’s are often found on the starting grids of vintage race series.
Revs’ 1962 Lotus 238 was first sold to Jim Baker in 1962. He and successive owners competed in SCCA national and regional races. Eventually the car went through restoration and was acquired by Gerry Strickfaden. He generously donated the Lotus to The Revs Institute, which will race it in historic events to demonstrate Chapman’s giant killer.
Most race cars were non-competitive after their first campaign — the 1927 Vauxhall was competitive for 23 years (1927–1950) and you can see it in person. Learn more