Lotus Never Produced the Can-Am Race Car Type 66 in the 1970s

Lotus Never Produced the Can-Am Race Car Type 66 in the 1970s

Lotus creator Colin Chapman set out 53 years ago to see how Lotus design concepts may be applied to a Can-Am Series race vehicle. The Type 66 V8 is the long-awaited result, and just ten of them will be constructed.

Chapman delegated the design work to Team Lotus draughtsman Geoff Ferris, who was also working on Formula 1 cars. As a result, the Type 66 was never developed beyond technical drawings and scale models. To commemorate Lotus’ 75th anniversary, a limited run of actual, tangible Type 66s are being produced for wealthy purchasers – and no, they will not be street-legal.

The first of the cars was unveiled this week at the Quail motorsport gathering in Monterey, California, and features the red, white, and gold color scheme that adorned Lotus race cars in the early 1970s.

The engine is a “period-representative” mid-mounted V8 push-rod engine that produces over 830 horsepower at 8,800 rpm. The chassis is likewise a throwback, with retro-70s metal pieces, bonded joints, and aluminum honeycomb panels. However, not everything about the Type 66 is retro.

Lotus Never Produced the Can-Am Race Car Type 66 in the 1970s

Modern features include a carbon fiber main body, an inboard fuel cell, an EPASS motorsport power steering column, a sequential racing gearbox (with reverse), a race ABS braking system, an anti-stall multi-plate clutch, and a fixed rollover bar to meet modern safety standards.

At 7,400 rpm, the 66 also has a modern forged aluminum crank, rod, and pistons that provide over 746 Nm (550 lb-ft) of torque. A redesigned front wing also conducts air from the vehicle’s front through and underneath its rear wings. At full speed, this configuration produces greater downforce than the vehicle’s total weight.

“We are incredibly proud to have completed such a unique project, and one that Colin Chapman was personally involved in,” Lotus design director Russell Carr stated. “This is not a re-edition or restomod, but a completely new breed of Lotus – a commitment that our past glories will continue to be reflected in our future.”

If you want your own Type 66, you should start saving today. Each vehicle will fetch more than £1 million (US$1,273,520).