Mister Ford Lotus


Jim Clark was an F1 driver. He drove for Team Lotus, and his Ford Lotus rear engine “British racing green” racers were (and shall remain) the quintessential Grand Prix rides.

[click for big view]

Clark won seven of ten races in 1963, and six of ten races plus the Indy 500 in 1965. He was killed on April 7, 1968 when he went off the course and into the trees at Hockenheim. He was a major world sports figure at the time and the news of his death was devastating, as he had fans on all continents. This might have been bigger headlines but things were turbulent all over in 1968. For example, Martin Luther King had been assassinated just three days previous, American cities were burning, and three days later LBJ signs civil rights legislation, terrorist bombings and student riots in Germany, ‘Rolling Thunder’ was in full swing against North Viet Nam, and the Tet Offensive is still hot. The world was doing back flips just about every day. Robert Kennedy would soon be shot in L.A. In the middle of all this Jim Clark hits a fucking tree.


But there’s some cool things to remember about Jim Clark. “Jim Clark’s drive in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix is regarded one of the greatest ever in F1. After starting from pole, he was leading in his Lotus 49 (chassis R2), when a tyre punctured. He lost an entire lap while having the wheel changed in the pits. After rejoining sixteenth, Clark then showed his genius by driving at his own limit, something which was not required when leading. He ripped back through the field, progressively lowered the lap record, eventually equalling his pole time of 1m 28.5s, to regain the lost lap and the lead. He was narrowly ahead of Brabham and Surtees starting the last lap, but his car had not been filled with enough fuel for such a performance — it faltered, and finally coasted across the finish line in third place.” – wiki

He didn’t have to win though. He was the man and everyone knew it.

17 Replies to “Mister Ford Lotus”

  1. Damn straight, JR. He was the man.

    Look at his car! His car was the car, too.

    Like our banner girl, all high performance.

  2. Way to go, Bif!

    I knew that I could count on you to F1 volley with me. A pointillist approach to early F1 history. You have great caches of information and rich stories, deep archived and available for rapid retrieval. I, on the other hand, know what the people want and have the Dr. Manhattan-sized junk to get us into the VIP area, a partnership that would put the best Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson buddy movie to shame. I was just reading Nigel Roebuck’s Autoweek article (March 23, 2009 — see, I wasn’t lying about time traveling). Jackie Stewart said that “Lewis [Hamilton] could be another Jim Clark.” With regard to Hamilton, Roebuck stated: “Certainly, the fundamental talent, the supernatural car control, is there, and if he can match his sometimes questionable temperament to his ability, there are no limits to what he can achieve.”

    Here’s a picture of Hamilton’s latest girlfriend (100% true. I’m not making this up)…


  3. The funny thing about Autoweek (now “A\\W”) is that Holmes quit paying for it months ago, but they keep sending it. This is true for most publications, it seems.

  4. SB, JR, SB, JR, HEB, JR, HEB, JR, they aren’t quite sockpuppets, but it’s easy to get them mixed up on occasion, right Donovan?

  5. The reigning F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton (who drives for McClaren) now lives in Switzerland, along with Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher, predominantly for reasons of privacy and more favorable tax rates (or so it is reported).

    Why is it that the English drive so many of their celebrities out of the country? They certainly are a peculiar lot.

    And why is it that so many kickass F1 drivers come from Finland? That’s what I REALLY REALLY want to hear JR talk about.

  6. Only thing I mixed up was the right thread for my earlier comments in this one. Maybe a ZK god can move them to F1 as they are not directly related to Ford Lotus.

  7. Donovan, your comments are fine right here.

    Not to belabor this Lewis Hamilton discussion, but it’s interesting, at least in a coincidental sense, to note (see wikipedia link) that Hamilton’s mother is “white British, while his paternal grandparents emigrated from Grenada to the United Kingdom in the 1950s. *** Hamilton’s parents separated when he was two and he lived with his mother and half-sisters [] until the age of twelve, when he started living with his father, stepmother [] and half-brother []… .”

    Also, “Hamilton was awarded an MBE by the Queen in the 2009 New Year Honours.”

    I remember EE wrote some interesting things about President Obama in relation to his father being absent.

    Didn’t Obama also recently say something about wanting to meet the Queen?

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this. (Note to Self: Shut the fuck up, you’re supposed to be on vacation.)

  8. I have a minor criticism of one of the Lotus cars in the photos posted above by Donovan. The wheels have “Gladiator hubs” on them. I don’t believe those were used in a competition, as they would be in the way of the lug bolts and would also pose a general hazard to the ground crew. I believe they are pasties, put on in the museum for looks, and not authentic racing gear.

  9. “The wheels have “Gladiator hubs” on them. I don’t believe those were used in a competition, as they would be in the way of the lug bolts and would also pose a general hazard to the ground crew.”

    Uuhhhh, what lug bolts? Didn’t this style of wheel have grooved splines on the axle and a single reverse threaded nut (to wheel rotation) to hold the wheel to the axle?


  10. Ack! I think you’re right, Donovan. Looking for the museum photo (must have been Bif’s), I found some cars with those hubs in race shots! I guess the “Gladiator” hubs gave the crew something to grab onto when changing the wheels. I plead ignorant.

  11. I think Donovan has it exactly right, but those gladiator jobbers don’t look very 1960s do they?

    Mission accomplished. Jim Clark’s memory lives on in the back left-hand corner of doomdom.

    Bunn, thanks for opening up a can of bourgeois-leisure. Can we not take a time out for some fun while contemplating our downward spiral and inevitable demise!?

    That reminds me. OK JR. Whattya say. We all meet up at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and settle bets, then head on down to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to celebrate like (and with) crazy bourgeois leisure-class Russians. Now that’s what F1 is fucking ALL about boy. I know what you are thinking and I have it covered – we all kick in a few bucks and buy maybe 10 tons of CO2 on the CCX, and shazzzam, the whole deal is carbon nuetral. Do I not have this thought out?

  12. rallies look fun. bet it can be done on something other than a supermodel type budget. i haven’t looked for a while, but at one point you could get a very nicely tricked out wrx for like maybe $40k.

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