We spoke to the owner of James Hunt’s Lotus 59 and to our surprise it’s still racing today! Keep reading to learn more about the legendary racing car.
Current owner, Michael Arnold, inherited the Molyslip Lotus 59 from his father, who spent over 50 years collecting Lotus formula cars. In 1981, Arnold’s father purchased the car from Mosport racing track in Canada where it was being used by the British driving school, Jim Russell.
How did the car make it’s way to Canada?
It was being used as a student car for the Jim Russell driving school. A British school that expanded to Canada in the 1970’s. They sent the car there after getting it from Lotus. (Who took the car back from Hunt) My father spotted it and ask if he could buy it when they were done with it. Old race cars were useless back then. No place to race them. So my family has had the car for 40 years.
What condition was the car in when your father purchased it?
I believe it was a bare chassis. It was definitely taken apart. My father made it a formula Ford in the 80’s and my mum raced it. It was only put back to F3 in 2012 for the filming of RUSH. Which it’s in.
How long did it take to restore the car to F3?
How long is a piece of string, the car has been restored many times. It takes about 2 months to restore a formula car.
Is the car still racing?
The car still runs in historic F3. The next events are the Crystal Palace Hill climb in May and the Grand Prix Ball in June.
How long did James Hunt use this car?
James Hunt only used it in the 1970 season
What did he win in it?
He won 2 races in the car.
Any other interesting facts about the car, or restoration?
- Both Tom and Freddy Hunt have been in the Car (James Hunt’s Sons).
- The Lotus 59 is the last car that my father and I restored together. It also has some of my dad’s ashes hidden in the frame.
- My mum also raced the car after my father purchased it in the 80’s.
- My father and I got into a fight with Ron Howard on the colour of the car for the film Rush. (That’s why it’s green). Also, Chris Hemsworth broke the windshield getting in and out of the car.