Louts 19 ‘The Full Monte’

The Lotus 19. “The Full Monte”


The Lotus 19 is one of the lesser publicized of the Lotus range despite its achievements.

Chris Harvey comments:

“The story of the ultimate open Lotus sports racers is simply that of four cars: two highly successful and two relatively unsuccessful. The first was the Lotus 19, a rare car that had success out of all proportion to the numbers made, and its smaller cousin the Lotus 23…” The editors have not been able to discover comprehensive race results relating to the 19. [But the appendix in “Managing a Legend” * is useful.]  However researching the subject has suggested several factors that might have contributed to its success.

In this article we will explore these factors in greater detail.

In compiling this article the editors again made reference to benchmarking. Inductive and deductive reasoning is fed by comparative analysis supporting this.

The Lotus 19 was exported internationally and raced with reasonable success on three continents; America, Australia and Europe. Evidence would suggest that the Lotus 19 was particualry well regarded by the British public and was a crowd puller. Its production life is believed to have been between 1960-62 and raced slightly beyond this. Period photographs show Chapman driving his creation.

The Lotus 19 remains competitive in classic racing circles.

 Lotus Context and Momentum / Rate of Lotus Development

The Lotus 19 demonstrated the speed, progression, development and learning curve within Lotus. Additionally it shows Chapman and the Lotus staff being practical and commercial. It’s believed that Len Terry made a contribution to the design. With the 19 they took the momentum of the 18 and mutated it successfully into another racing class. The 19 were built at Cheshunt shortly after the move.  It is the product of lessons learned relating to the 15 and the blend of the 18 with resultant cost savings. Lotus from its early days had benefited from an interrelationship between cars on the track, affordability and competition success that further generated a beneficial spiral. The knack was a competitive product, price and racing / event class which approached a dominance. Furthermore Lotus design initiatives impacted on the competition and they in turn intensified the overall speed of development.

Lotus Sports Racing cars
Model No Year Prod’ No Function/Cat’ FIA Commonalty
Eleven 1956-58


Sports Racer




Sports Racer




Sports Racer


1960-62 17? Sports Racer Appendix C Lotus 18




Sports Racer Lotus 22




Sports Racer Group 7
Statistics from The Lotus Book by William Taylor.

Production Numbers taken from wikipedia [May be subject to revision and clarification]

The A&R interest in these figures relates to the commercial / competition results interrelationship for Lotus in period only.


Original Owner



British Racing Partnership

2.5 Climax

Arciero Brothers

2.5 Climax

British Racing Partnership Sold to Team Rosebud.

2.0 Climax/Ferrari V-12 3.0 in 1963

British Racing Partnership

2.5 Climax

J. Frank Harrison

2.5 Climax later as Harrison Special-289 Ford

Jack Nethercutt

2.5 Climax

Charles Vogele

2.5 Climax changed to 2.0 Climax for Hillclimbs

Tom Carstens

Empty – 3.5 Buick fitted changed to Chevy V8

Roy Schechter

2.5 Climax

Peter Ryan

2.5 Climax Engine

Robert Publicker

1.5 Climax

Dr Harry Zweifel

2.0 Climax for Hillclimbs

Rod Carveth

Empty – 3.5 Buick fitted

Henry Olds/Bob Colombosian

Empty – 3.5 Buick fitted

John Coundley

2.5 Climax

Mecom Racing Team

Empty – 2.0 Climax fitted changed to 3.5 Buick

John Klug

289 Ford

The FIA and International Sporting Code.

The Sporting Code needs to be understood at several levels as it has an impact on nearly all the factors that determined the success of the 19.The specifications shape the entry and price and thereby purchase levels and indeed race attendance. Success requires extremely sharp interpretation and analysis. They had a significant impact on racing. Since WWII the International Sporting Code rules and regulations set by the FIA have changed with frequency.

The FIA never seems to have been entirely able to formulate watertight regulations that produce racing to their satisfaction. There were many annual changes In their defense many changes were introduced after the 1955 Le Mans accident with rules impacting on engine size, bodywork, weight etc. Possible too there might have been agenda to assist manufactures with mainstream production vehicles and perhaps to help aspiring young specialist buildings with mainstream parts availability. Overall it might have been hoped that the rules would combine to achieve all desired outcomes in one package and not least variety and entertainment for the public and democratization and entry to the sport.

Certainly the Sporting Code criteria dictated the form and function of the Lotus 19.

 Criteria for Purchase

Owners selection of a car would possible revolve around a set of criteria. These might include some of the following.

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Reliability and availability of spares. Also circuits and frequency damage / repair
  • Race series eligibility- see FIA above
  • Competition within class [driver and machine]
  • Overheads
  • Factory support [development potential etc]
  • Duration of series
  • Resale value
  • Safety
  • Prospect of prize money – off set other expenses
  • Adaptability if distant from spares sources
  • The alternative machinery available

These need to be understood as part of the 19’s success and campaign. We don’t know how many of these criteria Chapman factored in consciously. However the essential adaptability of the 19 contributed to its success as was evident in North America that was its biggest market. It’s fairly self evident that a great strength of the 19 was its ability to accept a range of engines not least American V8’s.

 Lotus 19: Brief Specification

One of the best summaries and descriptions is contained in Costin and Phipps. The editors accord then great respect. Their work is of a very high standard and near invaluable concerning the Lotus 19. Costin and Phipps do a great service by providing comparative analysis, examination of evolutionary stages and the development of Lotus. Contained within “Racing and sports Car Chassis Design are:

  • Technical descriptions
  • Technical drawings and exploded, particularly of the chassis i.e. Lotus 19 and 25
  • Photographs of 1961 Formula Junior Lotus and 19
  • Chassis drawing and technical analysis of the Cooper Monaco and 1958 Lister

When these are all placed together with the beautiful drawings by James A.Allington the student is able to obtain a thorough conception of the Lotus 19 and better comparison with its rivals.

Costing and Phipps state unequivocally at the start of their chapter on the 19 that:

“At the time of its introduction, the Lotus 19 was probably the most advanced sports racing car on the circuits, and is still very competitive given sufficient power…” The editors summarize a general and the more distinctive features of the specification but recommend reference to the original [see A&R copy etc]. The 19 was:

  • Based on the 1960 FI Lotus 18
  • Conforming to appendix C of the International Sporting Code
  • Chassis constructed in 3 section unit [see details of A&R chassis models and articles]
  • Multi- tubular space frame in 1” and ¾” tube 18-16 gauge. There is a scuttle hoop which is tubular and perforated sheet steel designed to eliminate diagonal bracing
  • Complete with all its brackets the chassis is believed to weigh 70 lbs
  • The bulk of the body in GRP and aluminum lower body sides and under tray. There are two detachable panels hinged at front and rear. The 19 is fitted with horizontal hinged doors
  • Wheels 15” “Wobbly Web” cast magnesium, 6 stud fitting or wires. Dunlop R5 racing tyres [500 X15 ‘ front & 650 X 15” rear]
  • Disc brakes Front 10.5” and rear 9.5”
  • Dimensions. Length 141”, width 65”, height 31/poss 32”. Wheel base 7’-6”, front rack 49” rear 47.5”
  • Weight 1232- 1250 lbs estimated [as quoted by costing and Phipps. weight less driver is approximately 11cwtwith 8 gallons of fuel]
  • Weight distribution at normal ride level with driver aboard is 46%front and 54% rear [Costin and Phipps]
  • A variety of Coventry Climax engines were used of differing capacity typically the FPF of 2.5L and several American V8’s were installed. The availability of CC spares, costs   etc may have contributed to the practical alternative of the V8’s.
  • Mid Engine position.
  • Speed is estimated at approx 156- 160mph.
  • Cockpit layout was extremely simple and functional. Instruments like the FI car with addition of meter, ignition / starter key, switches for lights, horn, wipers. [Located on drivers side cill –operated with right hand]  the steering wheel was 14” leather rimed. 7” Lucas headlamps were fitted behind plastic fairings.
  • Driver looks through and over wrap round Perspex screen. Tonneau cover over passenger side.
  • The car ran with service pipes attached externally [they seem vulnerable] but there was advantage of directness and additional cooling.

Harvey notes:

“Stirling Moss did most of the testing with the new Lotus 19 in 1960”

In Haskell there are photographs of Colin Chapman driving and possibly testing the 19 at Silverstone. The caption to the photograph reads” This view shows Chapman pressing quite hard. Slight understeer is evident, together with modest body roll. This was just about what he tried to achieve in a car at that time, giving a good compromise between peak performance and sufficient feel for the driver so that he could make good use of it.”

Continuum and Competitors

We have noted the dynamics and rate of development within Lotus and their peers. This had major consequences within racing classes and through to purchasing decisions. In the table we examine and record some major examples over an approximate ten-year period. The decade spanning the late 1950’s through the 1960’s experienced something of a revolution in nearly all branches of motor sport. Prize money and professionalism grew in direct proportion to each other. Entries into the field made for close racing and for model and manufacturing casualties

Lotus 19: Competition Continuum
Year Marque Model Type No Chassis EngineF.M/R


Jaguar D –Type Part Mono F


Lotus Eleven Space frame F


Aston Martin DBR1&2 Space frame F






Lister Jaguar Space frame F




Space frame F


Lotus Elite Monococque F


Porsche RSK


Ferrari 250TR Space frame F




Space frame F




Space frame F


Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1959-1961 Cooper Monaco


Ladder+ M/R




Space frame F




Space frame M/R




Space frame M/R


Maserati Tipo


Space frame F


Tojeiro Buick


Ferrari 250 GTO F


Ferrari 330LM




Space frame M/R




Monococque M/R


Brabham BT5


Lola GT   Monococque M/R
1964/1965 Brabham BT8




Backbone M/R




Carrera GTS


Ferrari 275 P2




Carrera Space frame M/R


Jaguar XJ


Monococque M/R


Ford GT


Monococque M/R


Chaparral 2D


Matra-BRM Space frame




Monococque M/R


Shelby Cobra Tubular F


Ferrari 330P4


Alfa Romeo Tipo


Platform M/R


Chaparral 2F Monococque


Lotus 46/47 Backbone


McLaren   M8 Monococque M/R


Howmet TX1

 One of the main / direct competitors to the Lotus 19 was the Cooper Type 61 [Monaco.]. It is believed to be in production 1959-61. Chassis No. CM-2-62 etc

Both would receive American V8 engines.

The era witnessed very rapid scientific developments and transition. This was brought about by mid/ rear engine layout, movement from space frame to monococque chassis, improved understanding of aerodynamics, advantage of totally enclosed cars and the powerful, reliable and relatively inexpensive American V8 engines. Neither can the FIA regulations be overlooked.

UDT Laystall

It’s believed that three Lotus 19 were bought for the UDT-Laystall Racing Team.UDT-Laystall Racing Team colour was pale green.

United Dominion Trust became a major force in British motor sport during the 1960’s.It was amongst the earliest form of sponsorship that continues to the present. UDT and Bowmaker Yeoman were part of the British banking, insurance and credit facilitators who expanded their activities parallel with the full employment, relative high income, youth market and expanded private motorcar ownership in Britain during the 1960’s. [Detailed A&R article to follow]

It’s believed that Laystall was acquired by UDT in 1952.

Laystall them selves are an honorable name in British motor sport. It’s believed the company was established c 1903 in a small workshop in Laystall Street, Holborn, London. From early on they held a prestigious RAC recommendation. Later taking premises at 53 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, SE1 c 1920- 1983.Outside London they also had works at Liverpool and Wolverhampton.

Laystall’s reputation was based on their volume and specialist work on crankshafts and Cromard engine liners. The editor believes that they might also have supplied aluminum heads and at least one early Lotus Mk.VI might have gained success as a result.

Laystall equipped cars raced at Brooklands and Le Mans [possibly including Bentley] and its believed that post WWII Cooper, Climax and Cosworth used some of their components.

Their decision to enter motor sport was significant and their selection of the 19 a reflection of this. It’s probable that they made careful selection of car, driver, class etc in order to achieve success and exposure, advertising,  “return” above the investment costs. With the 19 they would achieve some of their objectives.

Wild, Wild Horses…” The American Dimension and Contribution.

The appropriate photograph for this chapter and article is the front cover of Chris Harvey’s book “Lotus” which shows Dan Gurney racing the Arciero brothers Lotus 19 in 1962.

Team Rosebud also acquired Lotus 19 and with the inclusion of a variety of American V8 engines it had a considerable racing success in North America. One car is considered to as19B fitted with a Ford V8 it was known as the Pacesetter Ford [see The Lotus Book for photograph] Additionally in “Lotus Sports Racers “ there is mention of a 19 going to Bardahl International Corporation c 1963. The caption suggests they intended to use a “300bhp Buick V8”

One of the most significant impacts on motor racing in the 1960’s was the North American contribution. This expanded, intensified and increasingly integrated with European tradition after the Second World War. In the late 1950’s early 60’s Harvey notes relating to the 19 that:

“Interest was also at a low ebb in big sports car racing in Europe at the time, so it was decided to build only a dozen cars for customers .The Moss car and the first customer car went to America, where interest in big sports car racing was keener and the prizes had become far higher since professionalism was allowed to enter road racing in 1958” He also suggests that 9 out of 12 cars went to America.

In summary North America contribution included/ embraced:

  • The market for specialist sports cars
  • Home grown drivers, manufacturers and constructers of specials
  • Circuits not least Indianapolis
  • Race series such as Can-Am
  • Manufactures entry into International Motor sport e.g. Ford, Chevrolet and Chaparral
  • The adoption of the “American” V8 engine concept / configuration/ construction
  • The adoption and integration of the V8 into European manufactures both road and race.
  • American Motoring Press and dissemination of information and road/ track tests [see below]

The 1961 Canadian GP

This provides a snapshot glance at the Lotus 19 in competition and the North American connection discussed, additionally it reinforces and expresses achievement relative to the competitors listed above.

The 1961 Canadian GP was held at Mosport Park on September 30th .1961.competing cars were eligible or the Canadian Sports Car Championship. The race was won by Peter Ryan driving a Lotus 19.Its believed also in contention were Stirling Moss in UDT-Laystall 19, Ferrari 250 TRI, Porsche 718 RS60, Lola Mk.I Climax, Ferrari Dino 196 S. Osca S1000, Jaguar XKSS, Chevrolet Special, Porsche 550 RS, Lotus Mk.IX and Lotus 15 Climax.

Track Test

Track test or report of the Lotus 19 was undertaken by:

Sporting Motorist 1960

This in fact was a technical description by David Phipps .It was accompanied by some useful photographs but no performance information was quoted.

 Sports car and Lotus Owner 1960

The author quotes

“ Following successful tests at Silverstone during which Stirling Moss unofficially lowered the sports car lap record by 1.40 sec, a new Lotus the Nineteen made its race debut at Kariskoga in Sweden” The article reports on the technical specification of the car. However it was recorded that “ Team Lotus will not be racing Nineteen’s next season, but several well known drivers have cars on order, and at least one British racing team will be entering sports racing with the car next year”

The article contains photographs and caption that Mike Costin was test-driving at Silverstone.

Car and Driver 1961

In this edition appears a track test and report by Griff Borgeson.The  article is specifically about the Frank and Phill Arciero’s Lotus 19 driven by Dan Gurney in which Borgeson was passenger.

He quotes:

The Lotus XIX’s greatest significance is that it is a prototype of the kind of superior sorts car that with a few economy dictated changes can and should go into volume production in the not distant future. Its the Lotus GP machine slightly modified”

Borgeson discusses racing on North American circuits and continues the analysis by recording “ Its one of the very few best handling sports cars ever built and one of the easiest to drive”

He predicts that “ plans to install one of GM’s new 215 cubic inch “all aluminum” V8’s. This is not a shocking plan as it might appear at first sight. The weight of the two engines is closely similar.”

In his last paragraph he records this relevant but no often quoted fact:

“The nominal cost of the XIX is $17,000 which probably was pretty accurate when first specimens were being made. Now with all the prototype problems overcome, the price is considerably lower [note in the Road Test information panel the price is given as $15650 POE East Coast] Chapman originally planned to build only 12 of these cars per year but that was before he had any way of knowing the market that evidently exists for them or how successful they would perform”

This is perhaps by far the strongest article containing as it does handling impressions, an acceleration graph, technical speciation of chassis and engine with drive train ratios etc. With details of price a fair overall assessment can be made and an appreciation of the package.

Road and Track 1961

Basically this is a technical description again of the Arciero’s car photographed at Riverside Raceway with a few small details not recorded elsewhere.

Other reports are recorded by Capel & Clarke see references.

Lotus 19 in Advertisements

An advertisement for Autolite spark plugs appeared in June 1961 edition of “Car and Driver”. It was captioned “Gurney and Lotus crack Nassau record with Autolite spark plugs”. The photograph seems to suggest he is racing car number 99 which might be the Arciero.

 The Proposed CCM&EC

The proposed museum believes that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. Its suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular for specific cars the proposed museum might provide an opportunity for:

  • The retention and preservation of factory drawings
  • Technical specifications
  • Spares list
  • Directories of specialist advisors and suppliers.
  • Database of known examples
  • Photographic records
  • Competition records
  • Original specifications and upgrades [two fold activity serving those intent upon racing or continued use and return to original specification]
  • Workshop facilities that would offer assistance, generate employment, skill training and draw income.
  • Related and sympathetic merchandising.


In this article we hope to have shown Chapman and Lotus at is best. On its mettle working all out, almost-overstretched building a range of road and track cars simultaneously and thoroughly dedicated to motor sport. Students ought note that at this time Lotus were in their first decade of existence but had competed at Le Mans and had taken their first early GP wins. They were also deeply embroiled in the advanced and sophisticated Elite that produced many technical and financial problems. Despite this the 19 were thoroughly logical, commercial, effective yet pragmatic and cost effective. It won if not at the highest levels of motor sport. With such a winning formula Lotus need not need field a team in this class. UDT-Laystall in Europe and Arciero in North America did this on its behalf. The Lotus 19 is one of these machines that are rather inspirational. It also a complex study in interrelationships of competition, markets and production car sales. No doubt somewhere in the back of Chapman’s mind was the expectation of increased sales in North America. This may have been a consideration on the back of the Elite.

The A&R has a multi layered but integrated approach to the work of Colin Chapman and Lotus. In the analysis of one model nearly all the possibilities and opportunities of the museum can be expressed. The editors believe these are worth restating.

  • The analysis of Chapman designs in a holistic fashion across a broad spectrum
  • The placing, exhibition and interpretation of cars in context and against a wider continuum
  • The display and interpretation of cars and design methodologies in the widest possible cultural and motor sport context
  • That all services of the museum have opportunities to provide direct/ indirect employment skill training, work experience and apprenticeships
  • The holding and preservation of archive that might be made available to an international audience in perpetuity. As time passes there may be some urgency attached to this function. Loss damage, deterioration etc does no service and can actually cause damage to engineering education and interests and might prevent dissemination of reliable engineering information and inspiration.
  • That services might command income to sustain the museum ideal and generate the related training and employment opportunities primarily for youth.
  • That database of experts, services, suppliers be retained and updated both making searching faster but also providing income streams and providing advertising and exhibition opportunities.


*” Managing a Legend”-Stirling Moss, Ken Gregory and the British Racing Partnership. Robert Edwards.Foulis 1997.

ISBN:0854299882. This is a good read, directly relevant and specific; with photographs and race results for the 19.

Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design.Costin and Phipps.Batsford.1961-71.

Classic Sports Cars.C.Posthumus.Hamlyn.1980


Sports Racing Cars.A.Pritchard.Haynes.2005

ISBN: 1844251381

Classic Sports Cars.Posthumus &Hodges.Hamlyn.1991


Classic and Sports Cars Book of Racing Car Track Tests. Willie Green. Patrick Stephens.1989.

ISBN: 185260123X

The Lotus Book. William Taylor. Coterie Press.

Lotus 9,11,15,17,19 & 23. Unique Motor Books.

ISBN: 1901977307

Lotus. Chris Harvey.Osprey.1980.

ISBN: 1903088011

See Internet sites:


Car and Driver June 1961] Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. New York

Lotus sports Racers. Compiled by G.Capel &RM Clarke.Brooklands Books.

ISBN: 1855205556

Colin Chapman: Lotus Engineering. H.Haskell.Osprey.1993.

ISBN: 1855323761


All items in A&R library accept *

Lotus 19 ex Comstock Team

Lotus 19 ex Comstock team