7 Apr 2015

The Lotus position

Over the weekend I came across this photo I took of a Lotus Elan being worked on in the paddock at the Phillip Island historic races a few years ago and it reminded me of a friend who had a Lotus Elan Coupe given to him by his parents as a 21st birthday present in 1968.Yes really.It came in kit form on a trailer and he and his father assembled it.I lost contact with the friend a year or so later and I did not make contact again for 20 years and when we met for dinner I enquired what happened to that beautiful Elan.He said that it was in his parent's garage where it had been for the past 18 years.He then went on to explain that the car was so troublesome that after driving it for two painful years one day it stopped on a roundabout at Aylesbury when the gearbox broke so he had it towed to his parent's house and it was put in the very small garage and the doors were shut and he had not looked at it since! He assured me that was a true story.I subsequently lost contact with him again and I cannot find him now so I will never know what finally happened to that Elan.A future barn find maybe.
My personal exposure to an Elise for only a weekend back in 2000 went along similar lines with a number of problems with the car and the dealer collecting the Lotus with a flat bed truck from my driveway on the monday morning.Surely a case of the more things change the more they stay the same.

One man who has heard all these tales and survived with a surprising amount of his hair intact is the one time sales director of Lotus - and keen photographer-Roger Putnam who sends me these special photos. Today's is a gem.It shows an Esprit Turbo in Essex Racing livery with from left to right Roger,Team Lotus F1 drivers -Mario Andretti and Elio de Angelis and Mike Kimberley,MD of Lotus,standing outside the Lotus HQ.I love those side stripes,the BBS wheels,the high profile tyres and the beige suits.And the very English weather.

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