28 Feb 2011


A great period shot from friend Roger Putnam who started working in sales for Lotus in the 1960s and who is pictured handing over Graham Hill's 'company' Elan in April or May 1967 .Roger says "the photo was taken by a Daily Mail photographer and it appeared in the paper the following day. . It was taken at Ian Walker's dealership in N Finchley,London. Ian used to enter a racing Elan for Jim Clark in GP support races. Graham drove the Project 312 Aston in the same races. Chequered Flag also entered an Elan for Jackie Stewart.

Jimmy Clark had an identical yellow Elan but we delivered it to France where he was living in Montmartre with a great eccentric journo called Gerard 'Jabby' Crombac. His nickname came from Jabby which was a well known make of French typewriter. Jabby wrote a great book on Colin Chapman about 10 or 12 years ago. He died shortly afterwards."

Jim Clark's Elan must have really cut a dash parked on the street in Montmartre amongst all the little Simcas, Citroens ,Renaults and Peugeots. I wonder what happened to both these cars .With their provenence they would command a substantial premium today .Graham Hill's writing desk recently sold at an auction in the UK for $8750 due to its history .It also looked  a very nice desk .I cannot see Sebastian Vettel's IKEA flatpack computer table going for a hefty premium in 40 year's time but you never know.

Roger Putnam is a distinguished motor industry character who survived working for Lotus ,Jaguar and finally Ford and retired with lots of great memories such as the above.He has an apparently encyclopaedic knowledge of the motor industry of that era and in particular the racing scene and seems to personally know or have known most of the key and not so key industry players of the era 1965 to 2005 . He really should write a book .

Over 40 years ago I had a friend whose father bought him an Elan S2 in kit form for his 21st bithday--yes I know -- his father was a diamond cutter ( Lotuses were sold in kit form in that period to avoid paying sales tax) . They assembled the kit but after about 4 years the friend abandoned the car as it was chronically unreliable . He entombed it in his parent's garage --with 10000 miles on the clock-and it was still there 20 years ago when I lost contact with him. I wonder if it is still there -- a great barn find . His parents would be long gone so I am sure that the car has moved on -- but again you never know.


  1. Fantastic shot JohnS. I know where both the Hill and Clark cars are and would be very happy to bore you with the setails if you are interested. Graham's is in my barn about 50 yards away.... Lovely to see the picture and I would be most interested to get as many details as I can from Mr Putnam. Best wishes. Rob Thornton

  2. Very nice photo.
    About Jim Clark´s S3 It still exists.
    Jabby Crombac sold it some years ago and I still va some pics of it
    By the way would be nice you posted some of your ex-Graham hill´s Elan here