The Lotus 16 was Colin Chapmans second single seat / open wheel design built for the 1958 season with lessons learned from the Lotus 12.
Unlike the 12 which had an offset motor fitted so that the driver could sit next to instead of on top of the prop shaft running to the rear of the car, the Lotus 16 has an obliquely mounted motor running right side front to left side rear which made a big difference to the way the car handled.
Above Eddie McGuire is seen at Silverstone in the remains of the very first Lotus 16 chassis #362.
The Lotus 16 did not prove particularly successful with Graham Hill scoring a best 6th place in the 1958 Italian Grand Prix. Though it should be noted the cars motors were giving away 500cc / 30.5 cui to their rivals. Lotus persevered with the 16 the following season, now with full size 2.5 litre / 152.5 cui Coventry Climax motors with Innes Ireland scoring 4th and 5th place finishes in the Dutch and Portugese Grand Prix respectively.
For 1960 the Lotus 18, with it’s motor in the back replaced the 16 but the 16’s were used on four further occasions with out any further success. Bruce Halford who made an ill feted start in the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix driving a private John Fisher entered Lotus 16, bought a similar model in the mid 1970’s and turned it into a regular winner of historic events.
Jochuln Folch-Rusinol can be seen in the #12 above overtaking the 1959 Technica Mechanica Maserati of Tony Wood at the Goodwood Revival. These two cars along with the 1959 Ferrari 246 Dino represented the pinnacle of front engined Grand Prix racing cars that were comprehensively beaten and superseded by the rear engined Coopers in 1959 and 1960 when Lotus joined the rear engined revolution with the Lotus 18.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Oblique Mounted Engine’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 6 cylinder V8 star of the small screen ! Don’t forget to come back now !