Norwich City signs Lotus Cars on Deadline Day

Norwich City sign Lotus Cars on Deadline Day

Norwich City has made its first big Deadline Day signing, with Lotus Cars hoping to inject some pace and flair to Carrow Road.

News of the partnership comes on the eve of Norwich City’s Premier League opener against Liverpool. And at the end of the day, it looks like a good deal for both sides, Clive.

As part of the multi-year global deal, Lotus will see its new corporate identity on the pitch-side at Carrow Road, on the ‘walk-out’ jackets worn by the first-team squad, and on the shirts of academy players from ages nine to 23.

Meanwhile, the training facility is now The Lotus Training Centre, and the all-new academy will be called The Lotus Academy.

Lotus Training Centre Norwich City

And at the end of the partnership, Lotus Cars will run down its contract before leaving on a free transfer, Jeff. Probably.

Lotus has been building cars at Hethel, to the south of Norwich, since 1966, and employs around 1,200 people in the region.

Speaking about the new corporate identity, Simon Clare, executive director of global marketing at Lotus, said: “We’ve looked back at the original Lotus roundel and thought about Colin Chapman’s philosophy – to simplify and add lightness.

“We’ve applied that to create a new roundel, taking the weight out of the lettering and adapting the spacing. We’ve also straightened the word ‘Lotus’ so it’s consistent with the Lotus wordmark.”

A partnership of two halves

New Lotus branding Norwich City

On the subject of the partnership with Norwich City, Clare added: “Lotus is a brand born for and out of performance and competition, so this partnership is perfect for both parties. Together Lotus and Norwich City Football Club share core values – commitment, passion, focus, hard work, a winning mindset – and the success that flows from them.

“This partnership joins two iconic Norfolk brands as they accelerate on to the global stage together. Both share a desire for innovation and, as we herald a new era together, we are incredibly excited about playing a part in the development of Norwich City Football Club and its talent. Today we are investing in that future.”

Here’s a little video showing club legend Darren Huckerby arriving at the club’s training facility. Check out the not-so-subtle reference to Norwich City’s East Anglian rivals. Sorry, Ipswich Town fans.

£2 million Lotus Evija is most powerful road car EVER

Lotus Evija

As the drapes drop to reveal the Lotus Evija, a frisson of excitement ripples around the room. Yes, it looks fantastic, yet this is also a decisive moment for Lotus. After 71 years, this British marque, now backed by Chinese money, is poised to become a world player.

The Evija (say it ‘Ev-eye-ya’) is the opening salvo in that reinvention, one that will see Lotus manufacturing cars in China and setting its sights beyond sports cars at saloons, SUVs and more. “In order to make waves, you need to make a splash,” says Lotus CEO Phil Popham. The 2,000hp Evija – the most powerful production car ever – feels like a tsunami. 

That power figure outguns even the rival 1,903hp Pininfarina Battista – and the Lotus will be rarer, too. Just 130 examples will be made (hence the car’s ‘Type 130’ codename, priced at around £2 million each.

Beating the Battista

Lotus Evija

The Evija’s mid-mounted 2,000kW lithium-ion battery was developed with Williams Advanced Engineering and is described as ‘the lightest, most energy dense electric power package ever fitted to a road car’. Lotus is being coy about performance figures, but with just 1,680kg to shift and an almighty 1,254lb ft (1,700Nm) of torque delivered to all four wheels from a standstill, acceleration will be savage.

All we know at present is it will hit 62mph (100kph) in ‘less than three seconds’ and exceed 200mph. 

There are five driving modes: Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track. In Track mode, torque vectoring constantly adjusts output to individual wheels to boost cornering ability. Lotus also talks of ‘alternative battery packs… to optimise track performance’. Just in case your standard Evija feels a tad tardy.

It’s not all future tech, though. Lotus has opted for hydraulic power steering – rather than an electric set-up – for ‘pure steering feel’. “Everything we do is centred on driving enjoyment,” explains Popham. “More than any other brand, that’s what Lotus is about.”

Downforce by design

Lotus Evija

If the stats are startling, the Evija’s design is an equal source of excitement. It’s aggressive without being showy, functional yet still beautiful.

Carbon fibre bodywork surrounds a monocoque tub weighing just 129kg. Designer Russell Carr talks of how the shape was “carved by air”, taking inspiration from Le Mans racers and fighter aircraft.

By far the Evija’s most distinctive feature are the venturi ducts that pierce its haunches, funnelling air through the car to help deliver ‘exceptional amounts of downforce’. Surrounded by red LEDs at the rear, they deliberately resemble jet afterburners.

Other aero appendages include the bi-plane front splitter, which provides cool air to the battery, and the pop-out rear-view mirror cameras. These evoke Lotus pop-up headlights of the past, reckons Carr. 

Focus and feedbackLotus Evija

The interior of the Evija is functional and focused on the driver. Access is via dramatic, upwards-opening dihedral doors activated by the key fob (there are no handles). Once inside, a switch in the roof console – a nod to the classic Esprit Turbo – closes them. 

Hard-shell carbon fibre seats are upholstered with strategically-placed Alcantara pads, with four-point harness seatbelts an option. The rectangular steering wheel is a clear link with Lotus’ F1 heritage, including a Ferrari-style ‘manettino’ to switch between drive modes. 

Up front, a compact digital display helps minimise driver distraction, while the jutting centre console features touch-sensitive haptic switches and a rotary controller for infotainment (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity). “The driver is in sync with the car at all times and almost feels as if they are wearing it,” explains Carr.

Gunning for greatness

Lotus Evija

Assuming you drive with a modicum of restraint, the Evija can travel 250 miles (400km) on a full battery. Using a 350kW charger – the most powerful currently available – charge time will be 18 minutes to 100 percent capacity. It will offer Tesla-style over-the-air software updates and a dedicated smartphone app.

Customers will also be able to specify the car to their exact requirements. Want gold badges or a family crest embossed on the seats? If you really must, Lotus can oblige.

Lotus’ parent company Geely has already overseen the rebirth of Volvo and successful launch of Polestar, an upmarket EV brand that offers tempting opportunities for tech-sharing. Who’d bet against it giving Lotus a new lease of life? The Hethel-based company – which built just 1,700 cars last year – seems suddenly on the cusp of greatness.

“The Evija is a car like no other. It will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage,” said CEO Popham. “We hope this is our Sergeant Pepper moment.”

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija: specification

Powertrain: All-electric, four-wheel drive
Power: 2,000hp
Torque: 1,254lb ft (1,700Nm) 
0-62 mph: Less than 3.0 seconds
Top speed: More than 200mph
Range: 250 miles (400km)
Charging time: 18 minutes (350kW charger)
Weight: 1,680 kg
Production run: 130 cars
Length/width/height: 4,459/2,000/1,122 mm
Price: Approx. £2 million
On sale: 2020

Gallery: 2020 Lotus Evija revealed in full

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From Elan to Evija: the greatest Lotus road cars

Lotus Evija

All-new cars don’t come around too often at Lotus, so when they do it’s a big deal. Now, that car – the all-electric Evija – happens to be the fastest, most powerful, most expensive and most exotic machine the company has ever made.

We’ll get to the Evija soon, but first a tour through some of Lotus’ greatest hits… 

Lotus Seven SS

Lotus Seven

Weighing next to nothing, and with a 125hp Holbay Twin-Cam engine, there was simply nothing like the Seven SS back in 1969. Of course, the Seven still lives on, albeit with a Caterham badge. The basic formula (and it really is basic) has endured.

Lotus Eleven

Lotus Eleven

In reality, the Eleven was a racer you could buy in road-going form. The Coventry Climax engine was tiny, but aerodynamics made this Lotus competitive at Le Mans in 1957.

Lotus Elan Sprint

Lotus Elan

This has to be in the top three of all-time great Lotuses. The original Elan was a masterclass in founder Colin Chapman’s ‘simplify and add lightness’ mantra. In its final 1970s incarnation, the Elan got the famous 126hp Big Valve Twin Cam engine, good for 125mph and 60mph in just 5.9 seconds.

Lotus Cortina

Lotus Cortina

Perhaps the most famous in a long line of cars tuned by the performance fanatics at Lotus. Ford partnered with the Hethel-based marque to prepare its Cortina saloon for track work, leading to famous victories for Jim Clark. However, you could have as much fun on the public road in the 1960s. These screaming twin-cam precursors to the hot hatchback can be seen driving on their door handles each year at Goodwood Revival. 

Lotus Europa Twin Cam

Lotus Europa

Losing the Renault engine from the Europa was a good move. The Lotus Twin Cam engine brought this little mid-engined sports car to life in 1971.

Lotus Esprit Turbo

Lotus Esprit

The Esprit really is the iconic Lotus, isn’t it? The original was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and looked incredible. With a 210hp turbocharged engine, it could exceed 150mph. Although we wouldn’t recommend it unless your codename is ‘007’.

Lotus Elan 100

Lotus Elan

Shock, horror – a front-wheel-drive Lotus! Fear not, it’s still a Lotus. With a 160hp turbocharged Isuzu engine and a brilliant chassis, the Elan 100 served up brilliant fun in 1989. 

Lotus Esprit Sport 350

Lotus Esprit

A stylish new body and a twin-turbo V8 made the Esprit even more desirable. Add rarity to that – just 50 were made – and you get perhaps the ultimate incarnation of the Esprit. Pictured is the Sport 300. Just imagine it with a nice big wing… 

Lotus Carlton

Lotus Carlton

A car that strikes fear into the hearts of supercars. The Carlton saw Lotus take its fettling of previously fusty road cars to a whole new level. With a turbocharged V6 producing 377hp, it could crack 175mph. Sensational stuff in 1990.

Lotus Elise S1

Lotus Elise

Lotus’s bread and butter for the modern era, that the Evija now continues, the Elise first appeared in 1996. It brilliantly brought the brand back to its lightweight, nimble roots. The 111S version had around 145hp and seemed indecently quick. And it could shame larger, heavier supercars in the twisty stuff.

Lotus Elise GT1

Lotus Elise GT1

Speaking of supercars, here’s the Elise GT1. With a roaring American-based V8, this car seems almost entirely out of character for Lotus. Alas, the Elise GT1 was an ill-fated crack at the road-based GT1 racing discipline, which saw McLaren and Porsche take Le Mans victories. Just one road car was homologated.

Lotus Exige S1

Lotus Exige

The last Elise S1-based entry, we promise. The S1 Exige deserves its spot given this hardcore, hard-topped, wing-wearing beast is revered by many as perhaps the greatest modern Lotus. High praise.

Lotus Elise S2

Lotus Elise

The restyled Elise swapped the Rover K-series engine for Toyota twin-cam units. Less characterful? Perhaps, but certainly more capable. The pinnacle was the supercharged 220hp Elise SC, which could get to 60mph in 4.3 seconds.

Lotus 340R

Lotus 340R

Strip the shell from an S1 Elise (yes, it’s back), bolt on a body that comes from a Mad Max movie and you have the 340R. With the Sport pack it produced 190hp in 2000.

Lotus Exige S2

Lotus Exige

The second Exige to be made and last of the naturally-aspirated versions. This is a car that needs to be celebrated, as it takes the revvy Toyota engine up to 190hp. Clarkson fought off an Apache helicopter gunship using one on Top Gear in 2004.

Lotus 2-Eleven

Lotus 2-Eleven

Invoking the spirit of the 340R, the 2-Eleven is a cannibalised Exige with a 250hp supercharged Toyota engine. Weighing just 670kg, the 2-Eleven was quick: 0-60 in under four seconds with a 150mph top speed. Road-legality was a £1,100 option.

Lotus Evora

Lotus Evora

First it was rumoured to be the new Esprit, then the ‘Eagle’ prototype name started floating around. When the Evora was revealed in 2009, it was praised, but wasn’t quite the Lotus rebirth some had been hoping for. Still, we’ve no arguments against a sporty, mid-engined, semi-luxurious two-plus-two with a 280hp six-cylinder heart.

Lotus Exige S3 V6

Lotus Exige

That same six-cylinder engine made its way into the S3 Exige, packing 345hp courtesy of a supercharger. In present 430 form it has – you guessed it – 430hp. That’s more than twice the power of the S2. These new generation Exiges have sufficient power and poise to keep a Porsche 911 GT3 honest.

Lotus 3-Eleven

Lotus 3-Eleven

The 3-Eleven was the quickest production Lotus road car ever when it was revealed in 2016. With a 450hp supercharged V6, it could top 180mph and crack 60mph in 3 seconds on the nose.

Lotus Evora Sport

Lotus Evora

It didn’t take long for Lotus to supercharge the Evora. First reaching 350hp, then leaping up to 400, 410 and 430hp. With carbon fibre aero addenda and a circa-£100,000 price tag, the Evora has almost achieved supercar status.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

The Evija, meanwhile, leaps straight into the realm of the hypercar. Pronounced ‘Ev-eye-a’, this all-electric machine is a halo model, courtesy of a much-needed cash injection from new Lotus custodians Geely.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

Yes, it’s fully electric: gone are the cylinders, gone are the superchargers (please, no Tesla jokes). This is a hypercar with no exhaust that you plug in at home. It’s a breathtaking vision of the future.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

With development know-how from Williams and fellow Geely brand Polestar, the Evija is the first of a new generation of Lotuses. Just 130 will be made, as referenced by the car’s ‘Type 130’ codename. Expect a price well over £1 million. We’ve come a long way from that old Seven SS…

Lotus Evija: British electric hypercar named at Goodwood

Lotus Evija hypercar name revealed at Goodwood FOS

Lotus has revealed the name of its forthcoming electric hypercar, previously known as ‘Type 130’, at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Hethel’s very own 130-off hypercar will be called Evija

Lotus Evija – what’s in a name?

The name reveal is a big moment for Lotus. This is to be the first all-new car Lotus brings to market under new owners Geely, and a hypercar really sets the tone for what else we can expect going forward.

Even the name itself hints that Lotus is only just getting started with this new lease of life. Translated, Evija means ‘the first in existence’ or  ‘the living one’.

That first meaning in particular hints at the big plans Geely has for Lotus, beginning with Evija. More electric sports cars to come?

Lotus Evija

“As the first major Lotus model launch under the stewardship of Geely – the world’s fastest growing automotive group – its significance cannot be overstated.”

Quite. We look forward to more where that came from, Lotus.

As for how you say it? Apparently, it’s pronounced ‘Ev-eye-ja’. If only we’d had such help from the horses mouth when the Pagani Huayra came out…

Revealing the Lotus Evija design

Lotus isn’t quite ready to show the Evija in full, but it’s eager, as evidenced by the tease it’s set up at Goodwood. Anyone can go and see a ‘light show’ over the course of the weekend, revealing more about the design of the car.

We don’t have long to wait, though. Lotus intends on unveiling the car in full in London later this month. Just 130 Evijas will be built, hence the Type-130 code name.

As for whether Lotus founder Colin Chapman would approve? Well, electrification simplifies, but does it add lightness? We’ll be intrigued to hear more details upon the car’s full reveal.

Lotus Evija

“Evija is the perfect name for our new car because it’s the first hypercar from Lotus, our first electric offering and is the first new model under the stewardship of Geely,” said Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham.

“The Evija is a Lotus like no other, yet a true Lotus in every sense. It will re-establish our brand on the global automotive stage and pave the way for further visionary models.”

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

Why Volvo is so exciting for Lotus

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester HeritageJust a few years ago, Volvo was a minor player in the premium car sector. Its biggest hit, the XC90 large SUV, was ageing badly, and other models such as the S60 and V70 were off the pace.

Even its best-selling car, the XC60 mid-size SUV, was ready for replacement, while its newest model, the V40, was basically a Ford Focus in drag.

Today, Volvo is a different company.

It started with the all-new XC90, a radical reinvention that took everyone by surprise and set the template for everything since.

The XC90 was stylish, sophisticated and a quantum leap on in terms of quality and ability – suddenly a fierce rival to alternatives from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Hit after hit has followed: the S90 and V90, XC60, XC40, S60 and V60. Volvo has replaced almost its entire model range, with only the V40 waiting for reinvention.

We’re promised a surprise there, too.

The Geely magic

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

What’s behind all this? Ford’s decision to sell Volvo for $1.6 billion in 2010, to a company then relatively unknown in the west, but a giant in China: Geely.

Geely gave Volvo serious financial backing, scrutinised its development plans, but then seemed happy to oversee things from afar. Geely didn’t interfere and Volvo has thrived.

The Geely magic has since benefited another company on its knees: the London Taxi International.

Geely rescued it, renamed it the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), and funded development of a plug-in hybrid taxi that London cabbies, a notoriously tough audience to please, are raving about.

LEVC is now planning to do the same in the commercial vehicle sector with a plug-in hybrid van

It seems, if Geely commits to a company, it’s sure to prosper. 

Lotus sunbeam

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

And the latest company set to demonstrate the Geely magic? Lotus. Next month, it will reveal a brand new £1 million-plus electric hypercar.

Next year, it will start replacing its current dated (albeit still brilliant) sports cars. It is even likely to make an SUV (although the company has yet to confirm this).

I visited Lotus this week, to drive some of its current cars. The mood amongst the team? Buoyant. It is already seeing what Geely is bringing to the firm, and can’t wait to start talking about new products.

As I drove home in a Volvo test car – the excellent new S60, a convincing BMW 3 Series rival at last – I got it, too.

Watch Lotus with interest: it’s getting ready to do a Volvo.

Type 130: Lotus confirms all-electric hypercar

Lotus Type 130

Lotus has chosen the Auto Shanghai show in China, the home of parent company Geely, to confirm that it is preparing an all-new car. It will be Britain’s first all-electric hypercar, and the company’s first all-new model since 2008.

That’s right, the Norfolk firm’s first new car for over 11 years is going to be a world-beating all-electric hypercar. Geely isn’t holding back on the world-famous sports car proprietor that it’s now bankrolling.

Type 130: everything we know so far

In truth, we don’t know an awful lot. Given the word ‘hypercar’, we can safely bet it’s going to have over 700hp, but power is likely to be in the region of 1,000hp or more,if Pininfarina and Rimac fans are to be sated.

Given that this is Lotus, expect it to be lightweight, too. Not a feat easily achieved when electric power and the associated batteries are involved.

Let’s hope ‘simplify and add lightness’ hasn’t become ‘simplify and add electricity’.

Lotus insists the Type 130 will be the latest and greatest in a long line of game-changers. Indeed, the promotional video references plenty of Lotus’s past F1 greats. The name Type 130 is meant to follow on from the revolutionary Elise, the Type 111, as well as a lifetime of revolutionary F1 machinery.

What we can guarantee is that there will be no Cosworth DFV V8 soundtrack with this new Lotus… Still, the ‘For the drivers’ tag line makes us cautiously optimistic.

“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished Lotus in our history,” said Lotus CEO Phil Popham.

“It marks a turning point for our brand and is a showcase of what we are capable of and what is to come from Lotus.”

The car will be revealed in London later this year, so we don’t have long to wait before we learn more. What is certain is that this is the first in a coming onslaught of Lotus product. Let’s hope they make Bahar’s old plans look as pedestrian as they were ambitious.

Lotus to partner with Williams to develop ‘advanced propulsion systems’

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Two British titans of Formula One past and present are joining forces. Lotus and Williams Advanced Engineering have announced a ‘strategic technical partnership in which the companies will share research and development into advanced propulsion technologies’.

What’s obvious is this has nothing to do with Formula One. ‘Advanced propulsion technologies’ sounds like Williams-developed batteries in an electric Lotus  and potentially Volvos (via Lotus parent company Geely), too.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Both companies have a history of jumping into bed with other manufacturers to bring go-faster fruit to bear. Who fancies a Lotus Carlton versus Renault Clio Williams twin-test?

Also, both companies have industry-favourite engineering subsidiaries. Lotus Engineering has helped develop various technologies and many cars over the years.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Williams Advanced Engineering, meanwhile, is currently working on the Dendrobium electric hypercar. With these two performance and technology superpowers combined, the sky could be the limit.

Not coincidentally, we think, Lotus is rumoured to be working on an all-electric hypercar with more than 1,000hp. If true, you can bet Williams will be on the shop floor, further cornering the electric hypercar market.

“Our new technology partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering is part of a strategy to expand our knowledge and capability in the rapidly changing automotive landscape,” said Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars.

“Applying advanced propulsion powertrains can provide numerous exciting solutions across multiple vehicle sectors. Our combined and complementary experiences make this a very compelling match of engineering talent, technical ability and pioneering British spirit.”

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Likewise, Craig Wilson, MD of Williams Advanced Engineering, said, “We will be further developing next-generation powertrains in this partnership with Lotus.”

What do you want to see come out of this partnership? Could we see a Tesla Roadster-rivalling next-generation Elise or Esprit, or even a world-beating hypercar?

Lotus drifts into Christmas with tree-laden Evora 410

#DriftmasEvora being filmed during #MerryDriftmas video

It’s a very Merry ‘Driftmas’ from the fun-loving bods at Lotus, this morning. Watch an Evora 410 – complete with Christmas tree – carve some shapes around the marque’s compound, as employees look on in astonishment. There are a few choice car cameos, too…

The accompanying statement from the classic Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer claims: “while many look back over the year during the festive season, Lotus looks sideways” – that’s what we like to see. An appropriate vehicle is required to shuttle a Christmas tree around in suitable crossed-up style – meet the #DriftmasEvora.

#DriftmasEvora drifts around the Lotus Cars site

Of course, the Lotus Evora 410 doesn’t come standard with provisions to mount a Christmas tree. So the ‘Driftmas’ Evora required a few modifications before it could carry a Christmas tree and hold it at speed.

#DriftmasEvora Lotus GT410 Sport rear with Christmas tree

In the video we see the Evora, complete with tree, slithering up to the security gates, as a somewhat perplexed and disapproving guard grants it access. A few token sideways laps of the roundabout thereafter set the tone. The Evora then heads toward the production facility, passing a famous Esprit along the way.

#MerryDriftmas video included some exciting Lotus Cars cameos including a familiar Lotus Esprit

Sliding into the production facility, things are calmed down for the quiet and clean assembly line. Production staff, complete with Santa hat, look on in disapproval once again. Note the John Player Special-liveried Lotus 72 sitting pretty.

Classic Team Lotus loaned an interesting addition for #MerryDriftmas filming, an iconic Lotus 72

Out into the quality testing area for some token skids, before slaloming round some Lotus loveliness in the car park. Up to the dealer before coming to a stop as the festive tunes ring out. Yes, we spotted the Lotus bike!

#DriftmasEvora inside the factory alongside a selection of Lotus cars being built at its Hethel, UK site

Obviously, this required some expert camera work and state of the art equipment. Check out those drone shots! 

What a fun way to see out the year as well as demonstrate the delicate dynamic capability of one of the marque’s fastest models to date. It’s nice to get a teasing look at the inner workings of Lotus as well as see some special historical cameos.

#DriftmasEvora Lotus GT410 Sport lines up outside #HandmadeinHethel factory before burning off sideways for #MerryDriftmas video

If Lotus goes into 2019 as it’s ended 2018, next year should be quite a laugh with our friends from Hethel. A very merry ‘Driftmas’ and a Hethel new year, to all.

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Elisa Artioli at Lotus HQ

Woman who gave Lotus Elise its name reunited with first car

Elisa Artioli at Lotus HQ

More than 22 years after the launch of Lotus’ iconic back-to-basics sports car, the woman after whom it was named has returned to Norfolk to meet the Elise.

Elisa Artioli was the granddaughter of Romano Artioli, chairman of Lotus in 1995. Back then she was a little girl and can be seen posing with her granddad on the first production Elise.

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As well as taking the Exige Sport 410 and Evora GT410 Sport for her first drive around Hethel, she was also reunited with that original Elise.

There’s no word yet on whether Elisa’s more hardcore brother, Exige, is planning a trip any time soon…

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Lotus Mark 1

Lotus needs your help to find its first ever car

Lotus Mark 1

In its 70th year, Lotus is rightly looking back at all aspects of its history, while also looking forward to a new era of investment from Geely. In going back to the very beginning, however, Lotus might just need your help. The marque is on the hunt for the very first car its founder, Colin Chapman, ever built: the 1948 Lotus Mark I.

It’s no surprise that Lotus is having a job tracking the car down. Despite its existence being well documented, there’s been no trace of the Mark I since it was sold in November 1950.

The car was based on an Austin 7. Typically, Chapman’s modifications comprised mainly of reducing weight, along with extensive chassis and suspension improvements. The car was campaigned in English Trials – primordial British rally events. His continued modification of, and success with, the Mark I proved to Chapman he had a future in motoring and racing. The “holy grail of Lotus’ history”, indeed.

Lotus Mark 1

“It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car” said Clive Chapman, Colin’s son and director of Classic Team Lotus.

“To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement. We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to.

“It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.”

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