50th Anniversary Lotus Eleven Reunion 



Lotus Elevens on parade, photo courtesy of Bob Harrington In March 2006, the 50th anniversary of the Lotus Eleven's competition debut was observed at Sebring, Florida, as part of the Mobil 1, 12-Hour race festivities.  The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) hosted the Eleven Reunion for cars and owners, with vintage car sprint races,  a 90-minute enduro, and exhibition laps.  Car owners took advantage of the track time and the first opportunity in a decade for an Eleven group photo, with plenty of social mixing, parties and free food.  They had a great time.    
Lotus Elevens blast into downtown Sebring.   Photo - J. Sloane Many thanks to the SVRA for making the Eleven the featured car, and for treating the owners like honored guests.  An effort had been underway for months to promote such an event on the west coast of the USA, but without success.  Then when Roger Sieling heard the SVRA was searching for an annual theme, he suggested an Eleven reunion.  Suddenly the momentum shifted to the east coast and to Sebring, where the Eleven first raced.  

In January owners began working like madmen to get their Elevens ready.  Bruce Miller, Richard Goldsmith and David Springett towed their cars from California; Ed Nigro from Nevada, Bruce Revenaugh from Texas, and from across the north and east coast, from as far as Massachusetts, more Elevens headed for the small Florida town. 

Birthday party for Eleven #345 (4 DTN)  Photo - J. Sloane


Vic Thomas (center) meets Kathy & Russ Hoenig.   Photo - J. Sloane


Besides racing, some cars were on display in the 'Legends tent', with Brett Johnson's immaculate ex-Team Lotus Sebring Eleven the main attraction.  In the happy atmosphere of the paddock, Roger & Sally Sieling held a birthday party for their ex-Team Lotus series 2 Eleven, complete with a special cake.  The event was also the first meeting for Russ Hoenig, founder of the Lotus Eleven Register (US) in 1973 and Victor Thomas, founder of the Historic Lotus Register (UK) in 1974.  After 30+ years of correspondence this was an historic moment in itself. 

The Elevens had a police escort for a noisy blast up the road into the Sebring town center, local citizens crowding the sidewalks.  This lunchtime diversion was a reminder of how unique Sebring is, with auto racing in its heritage.  The Elevens were a fascinating treat for the spectators too: people admired the polished alloy bodies,  tiny passenger seats, and Lady Godiva emblems. All very exotic and strangely dangerous.

The Eleven folks were invited to an enormous cocktail party hosted by the town, and the SVRA held their own party for them on another night.

But the group also spent one evening in the Eleven 'paddock' with a BBQ dinner that lasted deep into the night.  People brought together over a car found endless things to talk about. 

The Lotus Eleven group photo, courtesy of Bob Harrington


photo courtesy of Roger Sieling

HOME to www.lotuseleven.org


Fifteen Lotus Elevens made it to the race track and twelve of them gathered for this group photo. It was the first time some had been parked so close since leaving the 'works' in Hornsey.  In a symbolic act, Russ Hoenig and Vic Thomas pushed one car that couldn't start. 

The drivers all liked the flow and feel of the Sebring race track.  For some this event was a discovery of how much fun a vintage car get together can be.  The hospitality of the people of Sebring and the thoughtfulness of the organizers was wonderful.

Once again, thanks to the SVRA for making this possible.


Back row, left to right: Bill McEachern, Russ Hoenig, Ed Nigro, Richard Goldsmith, Marshall Barrash, Jeff Horne (Sasco Motorsports), Brian McEachern, Bob Engberg, Bruce Miller, Stuart Smith.  front row, left to right: Brett Johnson, Glenn Stephens, Roger Sieling, Jeff Snook, Baxter Phillips, Jay Sloane, Victor Thomas.