Type 49: The Classic Lotus F1

If you’re a Formula 1 racing enthusiast from the time when there were drivers like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, and Emerson Fittipaldi, and you happen to be in Birmingham, England, between January 12 and 15, then you really need to go to Autosport International at the Birmingham NEC because all of the existing Lotus type 49—all seven of them—will be brought together and put on display.

If you’re a Formula 1 racing enthusiast from the time when there were drivers like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, and Emerson Fittipaldi, and you happen to be in Birmingham, England, between January 12 and 15, then you really need to go to Autosport International at the Birmingham NEC because all of the existing Lotus type 49—all seven of them—will be brought together and put on display.

Silverstone, England. 13th-15th July 1967. 
Jim Clark (Lotus 49-Ford) 1st position. 
Ref: 67GB07. World Copyright: LAT Photographic

Jim Clark at the British Grand Prix, 1967

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the vehicle.

The type 49 was designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe. They designed the car to accommodate the Ford Cosworth DFV (double four valve) engine.

Notably, the front of the engine bolted to the monocoque, and the suspension and gearbox were attached to the rear of the powerplant.

While it was probably something of a roll of the dice to take this approach, it turned out that compared to the Lotus of 1966, there was a 7.7 percent increase in vehicle speed, a year-on-year increase that has yet to be matched.

This was a revolution in F1 car design and engineering because since then, most all Formula 1 cars used this approach.

1968 British Grand Prix.
Brands Hatch, Great Britain. 20 July 1968.
Graham Hill, Lotus 49B-Ford, retired, leads Jackie Oliver, Lotus 49-Ford, retired, and Jo Siffert, Lotus 49B-Ford, 1st position, action.
World Copyright: LAT Photographic
Ref: Autosport b&w print

Graham Hill at the British Grand Prix, 1968.  Were those spoilers high enough?