The Lotus 16 was the first Lotus car designed by Colin Chapman specifically for Formula One racing.
It carried many technological features, including an innovative suspension system called ‘Chapman struts’. This was one of the first rear independent suspension designs to be incorporated into an F1 car, and offered better traction and handling than previous systems.
The Lotus 16 also had disc brakes all round, and the car’s engine sat in the front of the space-frame chassis – in front of the driver who sat in a reclined position, which was unusual for the time. The aluminium bodywork enclosing the chassis was designed by aerodynamicist Frank Costin.
The Lotus 16 raced the Cooper T51 during the 1959 season, and finished fourth in that year’s Constructors’ Championship. The car’s best result was a fourth for driver Innes Ireland in the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
Constructor: Lotus Cars, England
Engine: Coventry Climax FPF 2.5l 4-cylinder in line
Power: 220bhp at 7500rpm
Grands Prix: 31