Now THIS is how to celebrate a milestone year.
It was back in 1948 when one of the auto industry’s favorite lunatics built his first car. Colin Chapman founded Lotus not long after World War II came to an end and soon began to make a name for himself and the company on the race track. He also began building road cars that were designed and engineered with the now famous philosophy: “Simplify, then add lightness.”
To help celebrate the 70th anniversary of Lotus, the UK sports car company recently held a huge event at its home in Hethel. A total of 8,000 Lotus owners and enthusiasts traveled from all of the world to participate.
Around 1,600 Lotus cars from all eras were on display, including F1 cars, the rally Sunbeam Lotus, Lotus Cortina, and today’s lineup consisting of the Evora, Exige, and Elise. Unfortunately, the latter two are no longer sold in the US, but two new sports car are said to be arriving in the next couple of years. Above all, this was the largest collection of Lotus cars ever assembled in one place.
Newly appointed Lotus CEO told the gathered crowd that “Today has been an amazing day of celebration. To have met so many Lotus owners and enthusiasts, and understand their passion for our brand is truly inspiring. We are committed to our home in Norfolk, and there’s no place better to gather and remember what Lotus stands for and what makes it so special as a leading automotive marque. To have so many of our cars return home has really made the day, and I’d like to thank everyone for their help and support, both now and in the future, as we grow and develop the business.”
Over the decades, Lotus has won 13 world championships in Formula 1 and a World Rally Championship in 1981. A few of the highlights at this celebration included the DFV-powered Lotus 49 designed by Chapman for the 1967 F1 season, the 1978 Lotus 79, which was the first car to fully utilize ground effect aerodynamics, and the famous 1966 Lotus 43. And, of course, some of Lotus’ professional drivers took to the tarmac in an Evora GT410 Sport, Exige Sport 410, and Elise Sport 220 for some tire smoking action.
Very recently, Lotus asked for the public’s help in tracking down its first car ever, the Mark 1, which has been missing for over 60 years. It’d be quite something if it turned up sometime soon, assuming it still exists somewhere.