6 Mar 2014
The Lotus magazine
Roger Putnam sent me this photo of the September 1967 Lotus magazine showing him in the new launched Elan +2 in front of an Auster aircraft.Both Roger and I have reasons to remember Austers.He made a crash landing in the one pictured after it ran out of fuel due to a faulty fuel gauge (probably a Lucas made item)-and it landed safely in a cornfield-although looking at the photo they were lucky to have missed the power lines.I particularly like the fact that Roger has his jacket on and his tie is fastened despite having him just had a very scary experience.It reminds me of a story a Caterpillar executive told me years ago that Caterpillar company rules required that employees kept their jackets on during all flights when they were travelling on company business!
I wonder how they enforced this rule.Did they have a team of jacket marshals-like US sky marshals - travelling incognito on flights ready to leap up mid flight to check on jacket wearing compliance by any Caterpilar employees on the flight?And what happened if an employee removed their jacket?A yellow card maybe.What a ridiculous rule.I am sure that it is long gone.In the same era I once travelled from Sydney to London sitting next to an man who kept his jacket on and all three buttons fastened for the whole 24 hour flight.He must have been a Caterpillar executive.He never spoke a word to me either.
My Auster flying experience was happier than Roger's.I made my first aircraft flight in an Auster at the age of 9 from Bembridge Airfield on the Isle of Wight in the UK.It cost ten shillings which was a lot of money for my parents at the time and I can still remember that flight clearly.
The Lotus magazine has I am sure long gone but about five years ago the then owners of Lotus appointed an ex-Ferrari executive,Dany Bahar as CEO.His tenure there was an absolute and total disaster and after three years he was shown the door but amongst many weird things he did he launched a Lotus lifestyle magazine.Now Lotus being an enthusiast's sports car you would think that the magazine would have been a contemporary version of the magazine above.Well no.Dany had lofty ideas for Lotus - he wanted to compete with Ferrari and Porsche and Aston Martin and his magazine was a totally weird large format magazine full of photos of skinny female models with expressions which suggested that they were sucking on lemons and pretty boys with gelled slicked back hair, wearing no shirts,suit jackets,bermuda shorts and canvas deck shoes with no laces.Accompanied by articles on ridiculously priced desert spa resorts in the UAE.All interspersed with ads for watches which cost more than a Lotus.
I actually came across the magazine in an airport lounge in the Middle East at the time and I could not work out what it was.I cannot remember its name but I do know that I thought that it was utter twaddle.
Anyway if you want to read more about the amazing short Lotus career of Dany Bahar read the excellent piece by Jamie Kitman Dany Bahar