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YOU MAY never have heard of de­signer Ron Hick­man but most peo­ple know of his Black & Decker Work­mate. He was also a lead­ing de­signer and Di­rec­tor at Lo­tus.

Re­cently do­nated to the UK's Na­tional Mo­tor Mu­seum were over 100 sketches, draw­ings, pho­to­graphs and doc­u­ments from his Lo­tus days.

South African Hick­man trained in law be­fore mov­ing to Eng­land in 1954, tak­ing up de­sign at Ford Da­gen­ham. He soon moved on from Ford to be­come an in­te­gral part of the Lo­tus de­sign team.

He was in­volved with the 1957 Lo­tus Elite and later with Colin Chap­man mas­ter­minded the iconic 1962 Lo­tus Elan – one of the most revered sports cars of the 60s. His later ef­forts in­cluded the Lo­tus Europa and Elan 2+2.

The un­suc­cess­ful Lo­tus bid for the Ford GT40 LeMans project, based on a Hick­man de­sign, then con­trib­uted ma­jor el­e­ments to the Lo­tus Europa that de­buted in 1967.

Hick­man moved on from Lo­tus to de­sign the lounge seat­ing for Cu­nard's new flag­ship, Queen Eliz­a­beth 2.

Fol­low­ing lack of re­tailer in­ter­est in his foldable work­bench Hick­man be­gan sell­ing it at trade and con­sumer shows, mak­ing sales of around 14,000 be­fore Black & Decker bought the rights in 1972. That fig­ure is closer to 100 mil­lion to­day.

The fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion spans his years spent work­ing on ve­hi­cle de­sign, with a strong em­pha­sis on his time as a Lo­tus Di­rec­tor. Most of the draw­ings are orig­i­nals, com­ple­mented by copies of sketches, in­clud­ing a com­plete de­sign pro­posal to re­design the Cater­ham Seven.

Na­tional Mo­tor Mu­seum Trust Di­rec­tor of Col­lec­tions An­drea Bishop said: “We ex­tend grate­ful thanks to Mrs Hick­man for this gen­er­ous and im­por­tant do­na­tion. Ron Hick­man's sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to au­to­mo­tive de­sign adds a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the devel­op­ment of Lo­tus Cars to our mo­tor­ing ar­chive. We are look­ing for­ward to ex­plor­ing this large col­lec­tion and shar­ing some of its con­tent on our web­site next year.”

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