Rescue & Restoration

the Lotus Eleven Register
Lotus Eleven Register, #7 In 1973 a Lotus Eleven owner in Michigan, USA, mailed a brief outline of the specification and  maintenance of the car to 28 other owners he had located in the US and Australia.  The man was Russ Hoenig, and his Lotus Eleven Register soon became a newsletter as the other owners welcomed his initiative. The Australian was Adrian Schagen, and he became a prime source of information about the car for the rest of the group. Somehow, original factory blueprints were obtained, parts sources were traced, and a network of interested and enthusiastic owners was formed.  Some of their cars were still being raced while others were simply piles of parts in a corner of a garage.  A few were being driven on the street.  But most were badly in need of help and the newsletter came just in time.

It was in the mid-1970's that vintage car racing gained a foothold and interest re-awakened for old racing cars.  With that background the Lotus Eleven Register provided a rapidly growing body of  technical knowledge and a piecemeal unraveling of history, allowing owners to fully recognize the significance of each Eleven.  A sense of authenticity in restoration and a sensible direction to race preparation began here.  

The Register newsletter came out three or four times a year until issue #14 in December 1976 when publication ended.  More than anyone else, Russ Hoenig succeeded in rescuing many Elevens from oblivion by helping their owners with research, information and enthusiasm.

This website attempts to continue that effort. 

the Historic Lotus Register
Historic Lotus, issue #45, Summer 2006 Another key figure in the revival of the Eleven was Victor Thomas of Norwich, England.  Like others who bought an Eleven in the mid-1970's, he thought he had the only one left in the world when he towed it home in 1974.  Fifteen years earlier he had helped build one up from a kit, but as he examined his purchase he had too many questions and too few answers.  He advertised for parts and help.  After corresponding with Chris Draper in Germany, it was suggested that Thomas form a register for early Lotus cars.  In 1975 it took three months for him to find another Eleven owner (Bill Friend) but he in turn knew six others and so the register was born.  It was Bill Friend who suggested the name Historic Lotus Register, and designed the logo.  After another three months another 36 members were included.  About this time Thomas was introduced (by Brett Johnson of the USA) to the Lotus Eleven Register and a free exchange of information began.  At this stage the HLR was still in its infancy while Hoenig's register was already up to issue #7, so the information flow was one-way across the Atlantic.

Today the HLR produces a high quality magazine, Historic Lotus, that features articles on most early Lotus racing cars.  HLR is formally organized with a leadership group of registrars devoted to historical and technical research, each of whom specializes in a particular Mark of early Lotus.  It is recognized worldwide as the collective authority on these cars.  Annual meetings are held in England.  For more information, contact the Historic Lotus Register.

This website serves as an extension of the Registrar's Page for Victor Thomas and Jay Sloane, the HLR Eleven co-registrars.

An Internet forum on early Lotus history exists at for those interested in serious, real-time discussion of this topic. 

wreckage of Walt Thomason's #235, now completely restored

The long awaited step-by-step restoration manual will never appear here due to the proliferation of fraudulent copies of the real cars.  But on a one-on-one basis the Lotus Eleven Register can help owners of authentic Lotus Elevens bring their cars back to life. Many Eleven owners are in regular correspondence with the Registrars to do exactly that. Owners of authentic Elevens are welcome to free advice and information.

Of the 271 Lotus Elevens built by Lotus about three hundred exist today and more turn up every year.  It is necessary therefore that any buyer beware of fakes, duplicates, and stolen histories.  If you are not comfortable with a replica, don't pay for one.  Anyone selling an Eleven should have the burden of establishing it is real. Authentic Elevens should already be registered with the HLR.  

There are many known replica Eleven's around and   Some are worthy of everyone's notice. 




The books reviewed here have been selected for their insights into the Lotus Eleven and the people who produced it.  Of special value to the historically minded are period photographs and a sense of the contemporary significance of the car.  To read a review click on any of the covers below.