Home Lamborghini Miura ex-Peter Lumsden 1955 Lotus Mk9 — Supercar Nostalgia

ex-Peter Lumsden 1955 Lotus Mk9 — Supercar Nostalgia

ex-Peter Lumsden 1955 Lotus Mk9 — Supercar Nostalgia


Reprinted below is Classic Motor Hub’s description for this important early Lotus racing car:

  • Raced in period by Peter Lumsden, Graham Hill and Chris Barber

  • Original Coventry Climax engine and MG gearbox

  • Eligible for Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic and Mille Miglia

  • Price: £150,000

From behind the wheel of this Lotus Mark 9, sitting low to the ground and looking over the long bonnet through the Perspex screen, it’s impossible not to conjure images of racing it in period and nibbling at the heels of larger-engined rivals.

Chassis number 130 was first registered on 5 September 1955 and was used by Lotus in publicity photographs for that year’s Earls Court Motor Show. It was then bought from the factory by Peter Lumsden, who had got into motor racing by spectating at Goodwood and deciding that he could do better than some of the people he was watching. A stockbroker who worked in London, Lumsden raced his new Mark 9 once in late 1955 and then had a very successful 1956 season.

He competed at venues such as Goodwood, Crystal Palace, Silverstone and Snetterton – always driving the Lotus to race meetings on the road – and won that year’s Brooklands Memorial Trophy, a Goodwood-based series for sports cars. Although the Mark 9 was originally polished aluminium and did a few races like that, Lumsden subsequently had it painted dark green. He also replaced the SU carburettors with Webers.

During his time with the Mark 9, Lumsden befriended a mechanic who worked at Lotus and let him race the car on a couple of occasions. That same mechanic went on to become a two-time Formula 1 World Champion – his name was Graham Hill.

Lumsden sold the car in the winter of 1956-57, moving on to a Lotus 11 and then an Elite. It was when he owned the Elite that he got to know fellow racer Peter Sargent – the two of them drove together for many years, most famously in a Jaguar Lightweight E-type that they modified into low-drag form.

The Mark 9 was sold via a dealer to another well-known name – jazz musician Chris Barber. In fact, it was in this very car that Barber made his racing debut, at Brands Hatch in 1957. He went on to compete all over the UK in his new sports-racer and became a firm fan of the Lotus marque.

The logbook states that Barber sold the Mark 9 in 1960 and it passed through a number of owners during that decade. By the mid-1980s, it was in a dismantled state with Chris Smith of Westfield Cars. It was then bought by Mike Brotherwood in 1988 and sold five years later, having been fully restored, to John Warden.

Its current owner acquired the Lotus in 2019. The following year it went to specialist Glyn Peacock so that the Coventry Climax engine could be rebuilt and the whole car prepared for use in historic motorsport. An earlier dyno readout from 2018 shows that the 1097cc engine, running on twin SU carburettors, was producing 91bhp at 7630rpm.

Now being offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub with its original engine and MG TC gearbox, this Lotus Mark 9 is thought to be one of only 24 cars built during 1955 and is still wearing its original registration of RYF 446. It has raced at the Le Mans Classic and is eligible for the Goodwood Revival – as well as being one of only two Lotus models that are eligible for the Mille Miglia. Small, light and capable of punching well above its weight, it would be a superb choice for them all.


Brilliant young engineer and Lotus founder Colin Chapman was already making a name for himself by the time he introduced his Mark 9 in early 1955, the first two cars being ready to race at Sebring in March. It was the first Lotus to be offered as a fully built car, previous models being sold only as kits, and in promotional literature the company described the ‘Lotus System’ of providing ‘two types of chassis, to which various engines could be fitted’.

Those two chassis types were the Mark 6 and the Mark 9. The latter was advertised with Ford and MG engines, but most of them were sold with the 1098cc, four-cylinder Coventry Climax unit around which the Mark 9 had been designed.

Front suspension was by swing axles with combined damper units and coil springs, while the rear end featured a de Dion set-up with radius arms and a Panhard rod; there was also the option of a Ford rear axle.

Braking was via cast magnesium drums, although discs were fitted to some cars, and a Ford steering box was used. Everything was clothed in all-enveloping aerodynamic bodywork that was designed by Frank Costin and built by Williams & Pritchard.

A top-spec Mark 9 cost £850 without an engine – the Climax ‘four’ would have added another £250 – and the car was praised for what Autosport described as its ‘very exceptional cornering powers’. When John Bolster tested one for the magazine, he reached a top speed of almost 130mph.

Chapman and Ron Flockhart shared a Mark 9 at Le Mans in 1955 and Auto Course stated that, because of the speed it displayed from a relatively small power output, the Lotus ‘can be described as the most efficient car in the race’.

It’s thought that about 30 Mark 9s were built. Although it was in production for only a short time, it has been described by marque enthusiast and long-term Mark 9 owner Mike Marsden as being the link between the Mark 6 and the 11, and it therefore holds a significant place in Lotus history.

For more information visit the Classic Motor Hub website at: https://classicmotorhub.com/



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