26 May 2023
On 19 May, 95 years ago, Colin Chapman was born.
Following the second world war, Mr Chapman and his wife Hazel started building cars for racing; in 1952, Lotus Cars started life.
Team Lotus entered F1, and Jim Clark won their first championship in 1963.
Team Lotus, a sister company of Lotus Cars, competed in Formula One between 1958 and 1994, winning seven constructors’ and six drivers’ titles between 1963 and 1978.
His designs were always innovative, driven by lowering the weight of his cars, but his pioneering attitude meant that his approach was often considered risky.
From 1978 to his mysterious death in 1982, he was closely involved with John DeLorean, who built his aluminium sports car in Northern Ireland, primarily funded by the UK government.
It transpired that DeLorean had only built approximately 8,500 motor cars, and the surplus of the ‘little researched’ funding of around £ 23 million was transferred to a Panamanian bank account.
Rumour has it that instead of spending ten years of his life at Her Majesty’s pleasure, Mr Chapman died or disappeared, some say to South America.
All very disappointing; he is best remembered for his involvement with DeLorean.
Forgotten is that he became the highest decorated manufacturer at the height of his F1 successes.
Lotus Cars was an iconic British producer; the first Lotus car was born in 1948.
In June 2017, Lotus Cars became majority owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.