Lotus 49B

Friday Flashback — Monterey 2003

Pete Lovely’s Lotus 49B (Colin Chapman had stamped it 49/11 — DFV engine #13)

“11” was Pete’s lucky number and his wife was Nevele (Eleven spelled backwards) who was born on Nov 11th, 11th hour, 11th minute of a particular year.

Pete bought the car because of its supposed Graham Hill “history” (ie: the Monaco winner) and Pete was a big enthusiast of Graham. Chapman being his typical self lied as it wasn’t the winner!

Ironically it was discovered decades later that car was actually chassis 49/2 and was identified by a mechanic who worked on it for Jim Clark originally. (This chassis has some very unique changes made to it) This particular car has an important part in history given it being raced by Clark in the 1967 Belgium GP at Spa and that was the debut of the Lotus 49 as well as the Ford Cosworth DFV engine — and it was the winner! (and most grand prix racers since are ultimately an evolution of this car)

More history: https://forums.autosport.com/topic/63262-pete-lovely/

And in the above referenced article — that “Linda Vaughn” gal they are referring — that was his wife Nevele. She is pretty easy to identify in the vintage pictures of Pete’s career or while in the paddock. As some would want to say — she “defied gravity”.

I worked on this car for Pete inevitably when I worked for him. Unique car and always memorable and it was incredibly reliable. We ran that DFV for years without hiccup. Aside for basic gear changes in the transaxle itself for a particular circuit — there wasn’t ever much work needed upon it. The only thing that was a PITA was the mechanical Lucas fuel injection system and getting the “pill” set for rich or various stages leaned out while warming it up before actually running.

Pictures are from 2003 at Monterey. We had it at tech inspection and were bringing it back to the paddock. I had lost sixty plus pounds of weight in the previous year after several thousand mile long bicycle trip — and I actually fit within the cockpit of it again! No room for a helmet nor a driving suit. Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill and Pete Lovely were rather slender individuals to be honest.

If you ever see a Lotus 49 being vintage raced, definitely take a close look at it and how it is packaged and constructed. Literally the driver is surrounded from all sides with fuel. There were reasons a lot of drivers careers ended rather abruptly in that racing era given the safety issues that were ignored. (Racing today is magnitudes safer for the driver as well as the general public itself)

[note: No way I’d fit in this today!]
[note: No way I’d fit in this today!]