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Aluminum bodywork tilts rearward or lifts off to provide service access to the rear suspension.
Club and Sports versions of the Lotus Eleven were built with solid rear axles, but the Le Mans
variant came standard with a de Dion rear suspension. In either case, mounting points on the
frame were identical. Coilover shocks and suspension links were similar too.


The Eleven LeMans' de Dion tube is located by four horizontal trailing links plus a fifth rod which
angles forward from the righthand hub carrier diagonally to the driveshaft tunnel. Functioning
like a Panhard rod, this member keeps the de Dion tube centered relative to the body and it also
determines the axis about which the body rolls when cornering. That this axis is off-center a
little to the righthand side doesn't seem to be a problem.


Lotus press releases mentioned their design intent of achieving less understeer than previous
models while minimizing roll stiffness. Relatively high roll centers were selected to make
this approach practical. The Lotus Eleven's front roll center is located 5.75" above the
ground, and the rear roll center is located 9.5" above the ground.

Very soft springs are another key aspect of the Lotus Eleven design. Glenn compares
the rear springs to Slinkey toys, but in fact he has uprated his springs from stock.
Original specification was 60 pounds/inch. Glenn prefers 80 pounds/inch.


Lotus created their own cast magnesium alloy differential carrier to house standard B.M.C. internal
components. The following gear ratios are available: 5.375:1, 5.125:1, 4.875:1, 4.55:1 (which was
standard on the Lotus Eleven), 4.22:1, 3.89:1, 3.73:1. Note also: Girling NR brake calipers
and solid 9.5" rotors, mounted inboard, with air ducted up through the floor for cooling.


Now here's a revelation: the Lotus Eleven LeMans de Dion tube provides adjustable toe-in! How?
If you squint really hard, you might just see that there's a thin washer-shaped aluminum spacer
between the steel de Dion tube and the cast magnesium hub carrier. The spacer is tapered from
3.1mm on one edge to 1.5mm on the opposite edge. Although only six bolts secure the carrier
to the tube, the spacer has twelve holes. It can be indexed to provide accurate alignment or
alternatively a specified amount of toe-in. Glenn likes 1/16" of toe-in for the rear tires.
This method of toe-in adjustment alters camber too, but not enough to cause concern.

Drive hubs were among the weakest aspects of the original Lotus Eleven LeMans. Their strength was
a recognized problem from early on, so most Lotus Eleven racecars were fitted with upgraded hubs
many years ago. When Glenn got his Eleven, he didn't know. He had his hubs magnafluxed, but they
were the original design. One broke while he was going 84mph at Road Atlanta in 2006, sending him
careening off the track. (How does he know it was 84mph? Traqmate!) That scary incident prompted
a careful re-evaluation of critical running gear such as hubs, wheel bearings, wheels, etc.


Glenn's Lotus Eleven still has it's original frame, and it's almost completely un-modified.
There are a couple conspicuous exceptions: the small horizontal tube that the shoulder
straps mount to and this nifty roll hoop support structure.


The rearward roll hoop brace ends at a cone and socket connection.

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Original Lotus Eleven bodywork by Williams & Pritchard Ltd.


This Coventry Climax FWB four cylinder engine was originally 1100cc but it has been bored and stroked
to 1490cc. This is the car's second engine. Its original (Climax FWA) engine is kept in safe storage.


Notice that the Climax engine is tilted about ten degrees from vertical.


After passing through the radiator, air passes down rather than through the engine compartment.


Correct Lotus coolant header tank mounted high to ensure the engine and radiator are fully filled.


Oberg tattletale oil filter. (The coolant overflow bottle at left is labeled "Trafalgar Product".)


Lucas distributor with Pertonix Ignitor breakerless ignition. NGK spark plugs.


Dual Girling 0.75" brake master cylinders, supplied by a remote reservoir.


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Dual Weber 40DCOE carburetors.


Custom fabricated steel intake manifolds.


Four into one stainless steel header.


Between exhaust and carburetors, we can see an aluminum heat shield. Below, a Tilton Super Starter.


Wideband oxygen sensor bung on the exhaust pipe. A sensor placed here greatly aids engine tuning.


Stainless steel exhaust pipe.


Coventry Climax water pump.


Engine oil cooler connections.


Vibration isolator on the radiator mounting bracket.


Convenient valve for draining the cooling system.


"Lucas England" windshield wiper fluid reservoir, repurposed as a engine vapor catch tank.

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Glenn Stephens started his racing career in SCCA's Spec Miata class back in 2004. Spec Miata is an attractive "drivers class" because it offers hard-fought battles between large fields of evenly-matched cars, and because it's relatively cheap to get into. The downside of spec racing is the sameness. Nearly all racing is exciting viewed from a drivers seat, but history's greatest races have been between mismatched cars. Can the nimble overtake the powerful when the road gets twisty? Will the heavier car's brakes fade in the final laps? Those are just two examples of the myriad technical questions that take racing from a tactical exercise to a strategic one. When cars are mismatched, drivers are obliged to exploit the advantages of their own equipment or the weaknesses of rival racecars. Glenn still runs a Spec Miata four to six weekends per year, but he added a lot of spice to his life when he purchased a 1956 Lotus Eleven Le Mans.

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We've written about the Lotus Eleven's place in history before, . For now we'll just summarize that the Eleven transformed Colin Chapman's company. The Eleven was successful at all levels of motor racing from amateur races in the hinterlands right up to class and "Index of Performance" victories at Le Mans and at Sebring. Lotus had built less than fifty cars before the Eleven. Lotus Eleven production came to 270 cars.

Glenn Stephens' car was built near the end of the Eleven model's first year of production: 1956. It was delivered in 1957. Now that was a great year for British race cars! In the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, Jaguar D-Types finished first through fourth. Lotus didn't yet produce a car for large-displacement racing classes, but they brought home their share of trophies anyhow. At Le Mans, Lotus fielded a team of three Elevens. Mac Fraser and Jay Chamberlain drove one 1100cc Eleven to 9th overall and 1st in Class G. Robert Walshaw and John Dalton drove a second 1100cc car to 13th overall and 2nd in Class G. Cliff Allison and Keith Hall drove a 750cc car to 14th overall and 1st in Class H, plus they won the coveted Index of Performance! In other words, their car was both quick and fuel efficient. Amazingly, the Fraser/Chamberlain Eleven finished second in the Index of Performance competition despite its larger engine. In a race so tough that only 21 of 54 entries finished, Lotus surpassed all expectations.

Forty-eight years later, one of Glenn's Spec Miata racing buddies came across three Lotus Elevens in a North Atlanta warehouse. Three similar cars, parked in a neat row, gathering dust. He called Glenn over to have a look, and Glenn fell in love. Upon further research, it was discovered that one of the three Elevens had formerly belonged to television news anchorman Walter Cronkite. Another of the three - a Le Mans spec car in polished aluminum bodywork - had been driven on the street in Atlanta for years. But it was the third one that really captured Glenn's interest. Problem number one: its owner wasn't particularly motivated to sell it. He was, at least, willing to discuss it.