… But it was his partnership with the design genius, Sir Colin Chapman, that put the pair of them on the podium and roared them into the history books. Chapman turned Formula One of his day on its head with his revolutionary designs. This Lotus Climax had a tubular monocoque chassis, ultra-lightweight glass fibre body and the engine was in the rear, behind the driver!
At first the other big, well-funded teams laughed at the latest revolutionary ‘Garagista’ design - a name coined for the underfunded but plucky and creative British race teams that operated their workshops out of small workshops and lock-ups up and down the land. But after the first Grand Prix of the 1963 season, the laughter turned to panic as Clark’s Lotus left the rest of the field trailing in his slipstream.
In one fell swoop, the big lumbering behemoths of the inter-war and post-WWII years were consigned to the scrap heap. The agile, wasp like Lotus with its disc brakes, superb handling, derived from an even weight distribution across front and rear, was able to corner at speeds that were previously believed impossible. Combined with the lightweight Coventry Climax engine and a master craftsman at the wheel, the Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes cars never stood a chance.
A racing superstar is born
Clark won 14 races in 1963 and swept all before him to win the Formula One championship. He would have been champion in 1964, had his Climax engine not blown within sight of the finish line in the final race of the Season. In 1965, he and his Lotus 25 returned to land the double - a constructor’s and driver’s championship, with a sweet Indianapolis 500 victory in between for good measure.
Clark and this Lotus became the perfect embodiment of man and machine in the brave new world of the 1960s where engineers were breaking new ground in motor sport and aerospace. And, Formula One had changed forever and not always for the better. Whilst the cars drove at death defying speeds, life as a driver and spectator became ever more hazardous. Countless drivers perished on the dangerous twisty, often remote grand prix courses with little more protection than inflammable hay bales! Sadly, Jim Clark was one of them. His death at Hockenheim in 1968 was met with disbelief and incredulity. If such a talented driver could be killed, what chance did lesser mortals have?
The legend lives on
At the time of his death, he had won more Grands Prix races and pole positions than any other driver. In 2009 The Times newspaper placed Clark at the top of the all time greats of Formula One drivers. Some accolade for a driver who raced and died four decades before.
Like Clark and his Lotus, Corgi Toys were at their zenith - a global, world-beater in their own right – creating diecast models out of their Swansea factory that thrilled and entertained generations of children. They did the victorious Lotus proud by issuing it in its 1964 British Racing Green livery, complete with Jim Clark at the wheel and his number one marking – reserved only for World Champion drivers. It has an impressive array of details for a diecast model – protective steering wheel, wing mirrors and windshield. There is a springy wish bone suspension, silver engine block and real rubber front tyres and wheels that are smaller than the rear – exactly like the original. Even the box is authentic – deliberately featuring the car erroneously in number 4, due to the artwork being done before Clark became world champion!
This remains one of their most iconic models of all time, and a most desirable one for collectors of this iconic British brand to this day. A genuine Corgi Toys re-issue that’s now yours to proudly own, we are delighted to have re-created this fully authentic die-cast re-issue - completely faithful to the 1964 model – at a fraction of the cost of an original!
What a story, what a car, what a model! A perfect conversation piece, today it’s all yours, along with THREEfantastic FREE gifts, for less than a tenner!