Following the lead set by Cooper Cars winners of the 1959 World Manufacturers Championship for Formula One cars Colin Chapman took the rear engine plunge and built the Lotus 18 open wheeler that could be entered with the correct engine spec in to either Formula Junior, Two or One races.
Rob Walker, heir to the whiskey family of the same name, leased a Lotus 18 with a Coventry Climax motor for Stirling Moss to drive in the 1960 Grand Prix season. On the cars debut, in Monaco, Stirling qualified on pole and eventually won the race, giving Lotus their first Formula One victory after both Jo Bonnier in a BRM and Jack Brabham driving a Cooper Cliax had spent time leading the intermittently wet race.
An accident at Spa interrupted Stirling’s 1960 season but he bounced back with a win at the season ending US Grand Prix again driving this Lotus 18 for entrant Rob Walker. The following season a smaller Coventry Climax motor was fitted to this chassis, seen here at Donington Park Museum, as required by the new regulations for the 1961 season.
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Amazingly Stirling Moss managed to not only win pole at Monaco in 1961 ahead of three more powerful shark nose Ferrari’s but then, after dicing with Richie Ginther in his Ferrari, proceeded to win the race, a then record setting third Monaco Grand Prix victory.
Later in the season Stirling Moss would take his final Formula One victory driving the Lotus 18, fitted with newer Lotus 21 bodywork, at the German GP at the Nurburgring. At the start of the 1962 season Moss was lucky to escape with his life from a career ending accident at Goodwood before the Grand Prix season got under way.
Thanks for joining me on this Stirling Moss edition, of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !