1961 Lotus Type 20/22 Formula Junior (FIA)

Lot Number: 345

1961 Lotus Type 20/22 Formula Junior (FIA)

From long-term ownership in the US, 20-J-946 is now a competitive and front running car in the right hands.


LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 5th March, 2022 at 2.00pm GMT at RAF Museum London


From long-term ownership in the US, 20-J-946 is now a competitive and front running car in the right hands.


  • Purchased in the States on 19/08/1961 by Byron Snow in San Jose, California
  • #20-J-946  remained with him for 47 years. Upgraded to 22-spec in the 80s
  • Returned to the UK in 2008 and was totally stripped and rebuilt at that point
  • Cockpit top subtly modified to suit taller driver with clearance for FHR/Hans device
  • Maintained regardless of costs to the highest of standards by Hall and Hall
  • Fresh Geoff Richardson engine fitted in 2017 and just 3 races since
  • Current FIA / HTP papers valid until 2024

While the first rear-engined Lotus single-seater racing design was the epochal Type 18 of 1960, the first to adopt what became the definingly sleek, pretty and elegant Lotus Formula Junior body shape was the replacement Type 20 of 1961.
The Type 20 had jam-packed more or less the same component parts as the Type 18 into an even smaller, more aerodynamic racing car. The spaceframe chassis used mostly 1-inch diameter 18-gauge steel tubing, and in general it was both lower and stiffer than the Type 18, shorter in wheelbase and yet wider in track. Main chassis longerons were used to transfer coolant and oil flow from nose mounted radiators to the rear mounted engine.

Front suspension of the Type 20 featured twin unequal-length wishbones with interposed coil spring/damper units, while at the rear fixed-length drive shafts provided upper later allocation for cast-alloy hub carriers, which were attached to chassis pivots via reversed lower wishbone members and twin radius rods on each side. Again coil spring/dampers units were featured, high-mounted on rear chassis abutments. New 13-inch diameter wheels were specified at the front carried on Alford & Alder proprietary forged front uprights, as standardized upon the Triumph Herald production car.

Herald-type components also featured in the braking system, with Girling drums front and rear, later replaced by disc brakes, which became a relatively expensive but very competitive option. Renault or Volkswagen-based transaxle gearboxes could be specified to choice while the Ford Anglia 105E 4-cylinder pushrod engine proved itself the unit to beat in Formula Junior. Cosworth Engineering proved the most successful tuners of these units, and 997cc Cosworth-Fords offered around 85bhp early in the 1961 season, soon to be replaced by linered-down 1098cc versions of the sister 1340cc 109E Ford Classic power unit. This larger engine offered 100bhp plus.

The Lotus 20 frame carried its engine lower than the preceding Type 18, and the driver was also steeply reclined in the cockpit with a 7½-gallon fuel tank just behind his seat. Additional welded-aluminium long-distance tanks could be installed each side if required. Glass-fibre bodywork was moulded for Lotus by outside contractor Williams & Pritchard. The Lotus 20 dominated Formula Junior racing through 1961, works drivers Trevor Taylor and Peter Arundell shining in particular, winning 15 times between them.

This particular Lotus Type 20 Formula Junior (#20-J-946) was originally purchased on 19/08/1961 by Byron Snow in San Jose, California remaining in his ownership for the first forty-seven years of its life and at some point in the 1980s it was upgraded to Lotus 22 spec. It was imported to the UK in 2008 and stripped and totally rebuilt with the opportunity being taken to subtly modify the cockpit top  to suit a taller driver with clearance for FHR/Hans device. A competitive and front running car in the right hands, #20-J-946 has a comprehensive history having been maintained regardless of costs to the highest of standards by Hall and Hall and is complete with a fresh Geoff Richardson engine fitted in 2017. Having competed in just three races since, this Lotus with current FIA / HTP papers valid until 2024 offers the perfect opportunity for the historic motor sport season ahead and the many events for which it is eligible. Currently finished in dark blue with a red band around the nose, #20-J-946 will be checked over prior to sale and will be race ready for the start of the season.



For further information regarding this lot please contact Charles.





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