Lotus Eleven Register

Book Reviews

The Lotus Eleven --                       Colin Chapman’s Most Successful Sports-Racing Car

by Dennis E. Ortenburger


Published 1988 by Patrick Stephens Ltd., England   ISBN 0-85059-913-X

This was the first book devoted to the Lotus Eleven, and followed Ortenburger’s superb volume on the Elite. The organization and style of the book make it lively and easy to read.  Beginning with a summary of the state of motor racing and of Lotus in the mid-1950s, the design philosophy for the Eleven is set forth.  Sections focused on individual components, from the Climax engine to the frame, steering, suspension and brakes reveal a great deal of information in a succinct format.

Ortenburger deals with racing and historic details without being bogged down with them.  His use of sidebar articles allows considerable digressions from the subject while the main text flows smoothly by.  In these sidebars are a number of fascinating tales and facts that are most often lost in other books on Lotus.  Chapters include description of 1960s-modified Eleven Coupes, and replicas both miniature and full-size.

While Ortenburger interviewed many sources from around the world in compiling this account, his book is nonetheless an original work not derived from any other.  His fresh treatment of the Eleven has in many ways influenced the design of the www.lotuseleven.org website.

If there is a negative point to be made it is that Ortenburger uses too many photos and details of modified cars, so that this book should NOT be used as a restoration guide.  Technical errors in the text, including a mislabeled chassis blueprint, have already affected a few cars. 

This book has been out of print for years, but copies emerge from time to time in auctions or with used booksellers.

-- Jay Sloane


Rescue & Restoration