Lotus goes back to its roots As part of the marque’s 70th birthday celebrations, the 10,000th Lotus has been personally approved by the widow of company founder Colin Chapman.
Hand-built on the same site that Hazel Chapman helped establish, the milestone Lotus is a one-off Evora GT410 Sport, produced in conjunction with the Jim Clark Trust and commissioned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Clark’s tragic death while competing at Hockenheim in 1968.
Hazel was the first investor in Lotus, loaning her then-boyfriend Colin the £50 he needed to establish Lotus Engineering in a lock-up borrowed from her parents. Colin Chapman re-imagined and re-engineered an Austin Seven to create the first Lotus – the Mk1. With Hazel in the passenger seat and Colin behind the wheel, they picked up two class awards in the Mk1’s first competitive trails.
From that small garage on the outskirts of London sprang a global brand, with Hazel working alongside Colin as the business grew and found fame. She was even instrumental in establishing the company’s current site at Hethel in Norfolk, working on the layout and design as the old airbase was rebuilt as the Lotus headquarters and manufacturing facility.
Looking back on a proud past, Hazel said: “70 years ago, I never dreamt that there would be a 100,000th Lotus. I’m immensely proud of the company and Colin’s legacy. Today Lotus still builds such fantastic sports cars and I’m touched to be able to see the 100,000th car.” The milestone Evora was first unveiled at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. With its red paintwork, silver roof, silver wheels and tartan upholstery, it was inspired by the very first Lotus Elan, which was driven by Clark in the 1960s.