Classic Le Mans car in pieces goes up for auction for over $100,000 in the UK
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A classic Le Mans racing car could fetch up to £55,000 (NZ$109,087) at auction- despite being in bits.
The 1959 Lotus Elite was owned from new by Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot James Richard Stoop, better known as Dickie.
The RAF flyer was a known motoring enthusiast and he entered his state-of-the-art vehicle into the famous 24-hour race just 11 days after purchasing it.
However, it never made it to the start line after it was involved in a serious collision while heading back from the track after a practice session.
Dickie, who flew both Spitfires and Hurricanes during World War Two, later nursed the car back to health before selling it to Porsche racing driver Patrick Guy Godfrey in 1966.
Since then it has had a string of owners with the latest stripping it out in preparation for a full restoration.
Sadly the enthusiast died before the work could be carried out and the two-door motor is now set to go under the hammer.
It is to be sold by specialist auctioneers Historics, of Iver, Buckinghamshire.
Despite currently being a jigsaw puzzle of parts, most of the bits are included and the auction house are expecting a lot of interest.
John Williams, of Historics, said: "This is a very special and rare restoration opportunity and will most certainly reward its buyer.
"Sixty years young, with a fascinating Le Mans history, and characterful ownership, we anticipate very significant interest in acquiring it at the auction."
Dickie Stoop joined the RAF during the Second World War and flew Spitfires with 610 Squadron out of RAF Westhampnett in Chichester.
The skilled pilot was a huge character and was often seen tearing his MG around the tarmac perimeter track of Westhampnett.
His career saw him involved in missions during the Battle of Britain, Operation Overlord and the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944.
After the war he went on to become an established racing driver, and he competed at Le Mans an incredible 10 times.
The larger than life character eventually died whilst at the wheel after suffering a heart attack in a race in May 1968.
His Lotus now requires a huge amount of work which could take over a year to complete.
Its ruined silver body is currently just a shell with the wheels, seats and engine all separate. The sale takes place on May 18.