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A Lotus 19 Monte Carlo that carried some of the 1960s’ greatest racers to victory will go under the hammer in Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro sale on 22-23 February.
But its place in the history books doesn’t end with the chequered flag, because it was after testing the ex-BRP team’s 19 that Stirling Moss decided he should hang up his helmet and retire, a year after crashing heavily at Goodwood.
Chassis 953 was given a new lease of life following a long stop-start restoration, reappearing in 2012 – six years after it had hoped to line up at the Goodwood Revival, itself 10 years after repairs had started.
Some 17 Monte Carlos were built, named in honour of Moss’ 1960 Grand Prix win of wins for Rob Walker Racing in an 18, but few can boast the history of this car, chassis 953.
Oliver Gendebien, at the height of his powers, won at Riverside for Moss’ dad’s team in America, before Graham Hill and Innes Ireland romped to victories at home. Masten Gregory added another win Stateside, too.
Shortly after, in 1963, Moss took the car for a few laps at the scene of his 1962 Goodwood crash, then parked it and his career.
Sold a year later, Tony Maggs having claimed fourth for BRP’s 953 in the Guards Trophy, privateer George Pitt handed it over to the unexpectedly free Jim Clark at Oulton Park and the Scot cruised to victory – as he so usually did. Pitt was no slouch himself, winning at Aintree a month later.
At Silverstone, piloted by new keeper Harry O’Brien, it crashed from third place in heavy rain and disappeared into the depths of his workshop, which was later ravaged by fire.
It was in 1996, exactly three decades later, that its rebirth slowly began. It has since been returned to its original livery, signed by Moss, and readied for competition.
The car is expected to fetch £375-450k.
But this isn’t the only sports-racer with historic links consigned to next month’s Race Retro sale.
Jaguar XK120 ‘LXF 731’ driven by future Le Mans winner Duncan Hamilton is also looking for a new home.
Thought to be the first Jag driven in competition by Hamilton, it spent the 1951 season in his and owner Philip Fotheringham-Parker’s hands before being sold.
It has been returned to 1951 specification, and could sell for £500,000.
Check out the full lot list for Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale here.