A Lotus Eleven at the Lotus Brands Hatch Celebration 2007
|Engine||Coventry-Climax FWA (1098 cc) SOHC Inline 4 cylinder|
|Transmission||BMC A30, 4-speed|
|Wheelbase||2,159 mm (85.0 in)|
|Length||3,403 mm (134.0 in)|
|Width||1,500 mm (59 in)|
|Height||810 mm (32 in)|
|Curb weight||from 412 kg (910 lb)|
The Lotus Eleven was a racing car built in various versions by Lotus from 1956 until 1958. The later versions built in 1958 are sometimes referred to as Lotus 13, although this was not an official designation. In total, about 270 Elevens of all versions were built.
The Lotus Eleven 
The Eleven was designed by Colin Chapman and fitted with a sleek body designed by aerodynamicist Frank Costin. Its top version, dubbed Le Mans, was generally fitted with a 1100 cc (67ci) Coventry Climax FWA engine and occasionally with a 1500 cc (92ci) Coventry Climax FWB engine mounted in the front of a tubular space frame and featured a De Dion rear axle and Girling disc brakes. Fully loaded, the car weighed only about 1,000 lb (450 kg). Versions for a 1100 cc (67ci) Climax engine (Club) and a 1172 cc (72ci) Ford engine (Sport) were also produced; both featured a live rear axle and drum brakes. Several cars were fitted with alternative engines by their owners, these included Coventry Climax 1500cc (92ci) FWB and FPF and 1200 cc (73ci) FWE, Maserati 150S 1500cc (92ci), DKW 1000cc (61ci) SAAB 850cc (52ci) and 750cc (46ci) engines. There were two main body styles: one with a headrest and the other with no headrest, just two small fins. Some cars were later fitted with a closed body with gullwing doors to meet GT specifications.
Despite the wide variety of engines installed, the car was primarily designed to compete in the 1100 cc class where it was one of the most successful cars during the mid- to late-1950s. In 1956, An Eleven, modified by Costin with a bubble canopy over the cockpit, was driven by Stirling Moss to a class world record of 143 mph (230 km/h) for a lap at Monza. Several class victories at Le Mans and Sebring followed, and the Eleven became Lotus' most successful race car design. A 750cc version won the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1957.
In 1957, the Eleven underwent a major design change, including a new front suspension and improvements to the drivetrain. Although officially called Eleven Series 2, these late models are sometimes informally referred to as Lotus 13s, since they were produced between the 12 and 14 models and the 13 designation was not used by Lotus.
There have been several replicas and re-creations of the Lotus Eleven, including the Kokopelli 11, the Challenger GTS, the Spartak and the best known, the Westfield Eleven.
The Westfield Sports 
|Engine||1,275 cc BMC A-Series engine|
|Transmission||4 or 5-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||2,286 mm (90.0 in)|
|Length||3,657 mm (144.0 in)|
|Width||1,625 mm (64.0 in)|
|Height||To top of screen: 863 mm (34.0 in)|
|Curb weight||From 530 kg (1,200 lb)|
The Eleven was such a successful and beautiful design that beginning in 1982, Westfield Sportscars started production of a replica with a fiberglass body, available as either a finished car or a kit car. Called the Westfield Sports, the factory-finished cars were usually fitted with an uprated 1,275 cc BMC "A" engine (the same engine that was used by such classics as the MG Midget and the Austin-Healey Sprite), although some factory cars were fitted with Ford Kent engines. Kit cars were sold without engines, and owners have fitted anything from the Coventry Climax to Lotus twincams and Alfa Romeo engines to the chassis. In any event these replicas should never be confused with cars built by Lotus, which was never connected with the Westfield or other imitators.
In 1983, the magazine Road & Track featured an article about the Westfield XI replica, telling the story of how the magazine's team built a kit car and subsequently took it for a 5,000-mile (8,000 km) cross-country trip from California to Wisconsin. The article is said to have sold more Westfields than anything else the company could do to advertise their cars .
Production of the original Westfield XI ceased in 1986, although the company offered unsold kits until about 1988. In 2004 Westfield restarted production of the Westfield XI, still based on the A-series engine. At the end of 2010, Westfield have once again ended production of the XI.
- Setright, L.J.K, "Lotus: The golden mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1224.
- Setright, p.1224.
- Lotus Eleven information
- The Historic Lotus Register
- Road and Track article about building a Westfield replica
- Road and Track road test article
- Information on the Westfield XI replica
- Lotus 11 history/photos
- the Lotus Eleven Register
- 1956 Lotus 11 Gallery/photos
- howstuffworks on the Lotus 11
- recent Lotus Eleven restoration