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Lotus 16

The Lotus 16 was the first Lotus car designed by Colin Chapman specifically for Formula One racing.

Innovative suspension

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.

Further developments

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.

Technical specifications

Constructor: Lotus Cars, England
Year: 1958–1960
Engine: Coventry Climax FPF 2.5l 4-cylinder in line
Capacity: 2499cc
Power: 220bhp at 7500rpm
Grands Prix: 31

Other cars in the exhibition

Lotus 16
Lotus 16

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