Lotus luminaries, a world record attempt and on-track demonstrations packed with your classics made this a fitting celebration of the Hethel marque’s 70th anniversary
This one-off event to mark Lotus’ 70th anniversary not only wowed marque devotees with the sheer volume and variety of classics on show, but also the number of big names who turned out to enjoy them.
Clive Chapman joined former chief executive, Mike Kimberley, former designer, Oliver Winterbottom, Elisa Artioli – who gave her name to 1995’s Elise – and current CEO, Feng Quingfeng at Lotus’ Hethel factory and test track for the one-day event, which brought more than 1500 of the manufacturer’s classics together. The event wasn’t open to the wider public, but Lotus clubs, owners and specialists from across the UK and the continent brought their cars along to take part.
Clive Chapman, whose Classic Team Lotus also supported the event with historic Lotus racing car demonstrations, said: ‘ We’re always interested to see what the factory across the road is up to, and I think it’s fantastic when it puts on an event to celebrate the company’s heritage.
‘I thought it was wonderful to see the long line of Lotus road cars and their owners lining up to get into Hethel before the event opened.
‘Lotus’ new owner, Geely, seems to have a real appreciation for the company’s heritage, too.’
The company’s test track was used to stage demonstration runs for Lotus’ classic road cars and its historic single-seater racing cars, culminating in both a model-bymodel parade and then a Guinness world record attempt for the largest Lotus convoy in which more than 700 cars took part. Visitors were also able to tour the factory site, and to see static club displays of cars brought to Norfolk from across the UK.
Stuart Monument, whose 1973 Europa Twin Cam took part in the model-by-model parade, said:
‘It was a brilliant event – full of proper enthusiasts who love Lotus meeting up and talking about Lotus’ heritage.
‘There were so many great cars, and the people connected to them were there too – it was great to show Mike Kimberley my Europa!’
Alan Moss, who organises the Sporting Bears’ charity car rides at the NEC classic motor show, brought along his 1991 Excel Celebration. Paul Darke’s 1991 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton was one of 15 examples that took part in Autobahnstormers’ club display at Hethel. Graeme and Amy Lawton brought along their 1981 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, which went on to win the event’s concours competition. 1980 Elite 2.2 has chalked up plenty of classic car show appearances, including an appearance at the NEC for 2016’s classic motor show. This isn’t the first marque anniversary event for Phil Bradbury’s 1964 Ford Lotus Cortina – it won the Spirit of Lotus Award at the manufacturer’s 50th birthday bash back in 1998.