HLR Badge Historic Lotus Register Lotus 31, 51, 59F, 61 and 69F
John Mihalich, Jr.
Home News The Cars Membership Events Links For Sale

John Mihalich, Jr.

PO Box 1138, Craig

Colorado 81626-1138


Telephone:+1-(970) 824-8001

Mobile phone::+1-(970) 326-5631

Fax:+1-(970) 824-3737

To send e-mail click on name above

John is Registrar / Editor / Webmaster of the Lotus Formula Ford Register

He is also the HLR Registrar for the Lotus 31, 51, 59F, 61 and 69F

Click here to go to the Lotus Formula Ford Register website.

The History of Formula Ford

Formula Ford started in the UK in 1967 as an inexpensive entry into motor racing. The power unit was from the Ford Cortina GT, initially 1500cc but soon 1600cc pushrod. No wings were allowed, and the wheels had to be from a production car, with narrow section road tyres. The brochure below describes the philosophy of the cars, and gives an idea of the costs.

MRS Formula Ford launch brochure - scroll for more pages
mrs1 mrs2 mrs3 mrs4 mrs5 mrs6 mrs7 mrs8 mrs9 mrs10 mrs11 mrs12 mrs13 mrs14 mrs15 mrs16

The formula was soon used in continental European races as well, increasing its appeal, and it continued as an International formula until 1972. 1972 is kind of a break point, technology wise, in the Formula Ford development. By 1973 some of the cars were showing up with inboard rear brakes, CV joint axles and side pod radiators. Later on, inboard shocks and springs became common place. Moving the springs/shocks out of the air stream significantlly improved the aerodynamics of these cars, making the older chassis uncompetitive.

Formula Ford in the USA

In the US, Formula Ford was not recognized as a national class until 1969. Before that, they raced as Formula Continentals. It is believed that the SCCA National race at Willow Springs on March 23, 1969 was the first SCCA National Race for FFs.

Incidently, the winner of that first race was Jules Williams, driving a Lotus Type 51, with a Hewland Mk 6 gearbox, and on Goodyear tyres. That car still exists today and is still being campaigned in select vintage events, in the USA.

Lotus and Formula Ford

The first Lotus to be offered to the new formula was the Type 51 in 1967 which was fitted with a single twin-choke Weber carburetter. However a number of competitors used the older Lotus Type 31 formula 3 car re-engined and with the compulsory narrower wheels.

In 1969 the successful Lotus Type 59 Formula 2 and 3 car was offered as a Formula Ford as the Type 59F.

The replacement for the Type 51 was the 1969 Type 61 with a Lotus-Holbay LH/105 engine and a Hewland Mk VI four speed transmission. For the 1970 and 1971 seasons the Type 61M was offered with a lower drag front end.

Also for 1971 Lotus produced a de-winged version of their Type 69 F2 car called the 69F.

Lotus 31
Lotus 51
Lotus 59F
Lotus 61
Lotus 69F