Lo­tus 70

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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - CONTENTS - David Simister

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.

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