Table of Contents

  1. What engines were used in the Eleven ?
  2. Where can I find an Eleven to purchase ?
  3. How is this website interactive  ?
  4. Are plans and parts interchange information available through this site  ?
  5. Is the car called Eleven or 11 or XI ?
  6. How do I join the Lotus Eleven Register ?
  7. Aren't all  Lotus Elevens different ?
  8. Why do books, articles and Internet sources on Elevens have so many contradictions ?
  9. How do I begin tracing the history of an Eleven ?
  10. Years ago my family had a Lotus Eleven. How can we find out where it is today ?

What engines were used in the Eleven ?

The Lotus Eleven was designed around the weight, size and power output of the Coventry Climax FWA 1100cc engine. The vast majority of Elevens built were fitted with this unit from new. The second most common Eleven engine was the 1172cc Ford flathead four cylinder unit, as used in the "Sports" version of the car. The Eleven also worked well with a 1500cc Coventry Climax FWB engine but this was relatively rare due to the scarcity of long-stroke Climax crankshafts in period. (NOTE: Many FWA engines use FWB blocks but are still 1100cc) A few other non-standard engines were tried and some of these experiments are described in this website.  

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Where can I find an Eleven to purchase ?

Other than scouring the Earth searching for one that isn't already discovered, try joining the Historic Lotus Register and placing a want-ad in its fine magazine. Sorry, but the Lotus Eleven Site isn't involved in sales, purchases or any commercial activity. 

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How is this website interactive ?

There are links throughout the site to contact the editor (Jay Sloane).  Messages or questions can also be forwarded when possible to others in the Lotus Eleven world.  Much of the information and at least half of the photos on this site have been sent in by the Internet-connected community of Lotus Eleven enthusiasts.    HOWEVER, direct emails from lotuseleven.org should be considered as Internet SPAM and should be deleted.  This web site never sends emails. 

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Are factory blueprints, plans, parts interchange lists, etc., available to owners?

In an effort to reduce fraud and the spread of fake Elevens, this type of information assistance is only available to owners of cars deemed to be authentic.

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Is the car called Eleven, or 11 or XI  ?

Lotus founder Colin Chapman had given prior Lotus designs a Roman numeral Mark number but by the time of the Mk VIII, IX and X this had become unwieldy.  He liked the way Lotus Eleven sounded and the new design was so named.  Lotus racing designs are generally described by their number, i.e. 23 or 49,  but road cars followed the pattern of the Eleven with names like Elite and Elan.   Car names beginning with E became a Lotus tradition.     

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How do I join the Lotus Eleven Register ?

Everyone who wants to be a member, automatically is.  There are no meetings or dues, because this isn't a club.  It is a database.  If you own an Eleven or know someone who does it should be considered essential to make sure it is registered and accounted for.  Meanwhile, try joining the HLR.

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Aren't all Lotus Elevens different  ?

Apart from different configurations and engines, and the gradual evolution of the design, Lotus intended for all Elevens sold to be as similar as hand-built cars could be.  Many cars however were sold new as partially completed kits, so the final assembly was left to owners and differences from car to car were inevitable.  Among 'export' Elevens that left Lotus as finished racing machines, many of the differences that exist today are the result of either pragmatic or confused modifications made over the last fifty years.  Some of these changes are part of the history and identity of each car and ought to be preserved.  Some are just mistakes.   

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Why do books, articles and Internet sources about Elevens have so many contradictions  ?

Author and enthusiast Ian Smith wrote the factory-approved story, including a few chapters and articles on the Eleven.  Then after production ended, the cars went through a 'dark age' when little was written about them.  Decades later people began asking questions again and the void was filled with a variety of recollections and many errors.  For example some original owners had been told they were buying actual Team Lotus cars, or other exaggerations made to help sell cars.  Some assumed that their LeMans Elevens had actually been in the race itself.  Most owners had no concept of how many Elevens existed and so a stray photo of one in a old magazine could easily be mistaken for their own.  Inaccurate race reports, faulty memories and jumbled facts have infected several published histories, which unfortunately have been cited by others.  Due to this the Wikipedia page on Elevens has at times been in complete disarray. One of the benefits of a web-based but controlled archive like this site is that errors can quickly be corrected when identified and the record set straight.   Many promised articles at www.lotuseleven.org are unfinished however, because complete verification of details hasn't yet been possible.   

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How do I begin tracing the history of an Eleven  ?

Persistence and determination are omnipotent. Vehicle history can be gathered with: a survey of information in this database and that of the HLR; interviews of previous owners; research into area race records; careful forensic examination of the car and often, luck. Most cars have at least one prior owner who was diligent about preserving the history.  Unfortunately some other owners may have thrown it away.  But determined detective work can bring it back.  Despite the relatively high number of Elevens built, they always left an impression on the people around them and memories can be surprisingly strong.  But time is the enemy, so hurry!  

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Years ago my family had a Lotus Eleven.  How can we find out where it is today ?

You're the type of person the people asking the previous question want to meet.  This website exists to help tie loose ends together.  Please contact this register with your information and an effort will be made to locate the car.  There have been many successes with continuous vehicle histories established from this kind of cooperation. 

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