There is originality in the genetics of some designs. Lotus is that kind of a design, of course supported by technology the same way…Since the first model Mark 6, Lotus has always had its eye on the racetrack. Still does… It’s been over 60 years since the beginning of its commercial life and during this time it changed hands however it has not lost its racer spirit.
In 1962, Lotus had four racer automobiles in the market and in total it had five automobiles including roadster Elan which would stay in production until 1973. In 1965, Elan’s hardtop version was introduced to the market, in 1967 the Elan Plus 2 came. During 1963-66, the four door Cortina was in the market.
Lotus will go down in history as the automobile brand that changed hands the most… After Excel was introduced to the market, some part of the company was sold to Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota and in 1986 the whole company was sold to General Motors(GM). GM built Lotus Cars USA in 1987 and in 1993 they sold the company to Bugatti. Lotus-Bugatti partnership didn’t last long and in 1996 Bugatti sold Lotus to Malaysian centered Proton.
Automobile sports fanatic Colin Chapman could not have imagined his brand, which he created following his passion, could gain so much importance in the automobile industry… Producing automobiles for over 60 years, Lotus has come to the point where it is one of the leading brands in sports automobiles and also it is now a respected automobile engineering consultant working with the biggest names in the industry.
IT’S MAKERS NAME IS ENGRAVED ON THE LOGO
If you take a look at the Lotus logo, you will notice the letters on top of the logo. These letters are the initials of the company’s founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, who built his first automobile in his own garage. Chapman creates his second car in his garage as well while he was working in the Royal Air Force. Mike Lawson’s championship in one of the races using this automobile is the indicator of the bright future of Lotus. After that time, Colin Chapman continues to make race automobiles and builds Lotus Engineering Company in 1952. Their first mass production automobile, Mark 6 is produced about 100 times in two years.
WHEN THINGS GET SERIOUS…
In 1955, things were going so well for the company that he quit his job at British Aluminium and dedicated his time to Lotus. In a couple of years, Lotus Eleven and Seven took their places in the race tracks. The companies first riding car, Elite, was on the roads in 1957. In addition to the rising production and commercial success, the company was also successful in Le Mans and Formula 1. With its legendary racers like Stirling Moss and high engineering success, Lotus’ Formula 1 team was victorious during 1960-1981.
THE PRODUCT RANGE EXPANDS
In 1962, Lotus had four racer automobiles in the market and in total it had five automobiles including roadster Elan which would stay in production until 1973. In 1965, Elan’s hardtop version was introduced to the market and in 1967 the Elan Plus 2 was in the market. During 1963-66, the four door Cortina was in the market. In 1967, the company’s first family car, Europe, hit the roads. The company expanded in every way and in 1966 they moved to a factory in Norfolk, which they still use today.
THE CRISIS YEARS DID NOT HAVE THAT MUCH IMPACT ON LOTUS
The companies which produced luxury cars with big engine capacity were affected by the economical crisis in the 1970s. However Lotus managed to get away with the least amount of damage during this time because of its smart policy. In 1974 a different version of Elite was introduced while in 1975 Esprit, which gained attention for its square lines and original design, was in the market. Lotus managed to keep its head high during the economical crisis and with its Esprit submarine, which was created for the James Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”, it managed to get underwater.
GOODBYE TO CHAPMAN
1980 Esprit Turbo and 1981 Esprit S3 had a lot of pieces in common and during this time it made it easier for the manufacturer as well as Lotus owners. The company’s founder and brain Colin Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 when he was only 54. The company, which Chapman built with good foundation, knew how to deal with this sudden tragedy with the less amount of damage however this situation did not last long. That same year, after Excel was introduced to the market, some part of the company was sold to Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota and in 1986 the entire company was sold to General Motors(GM). GM built Lotus Cars USA in 1987 and in 1993 they sold the company to Bugatti. Lotus-Bugatti partnership didn’t last long and in 1996 Bugatti sold Lotus to Malaysian centered Proton.
The light and fast automobile Elise got its name from Chapman’s grandchild and it was introduced the year Bugatti sold the company to Proton. Elise was an indication that the French based company was a little hasty in letting Lotus go. This automobile received a lot of popularity in a short amount of time and exactly 2 thousand 500 Elise models were produced. It is important to take note that this number is quite high considering that it was not being sold in the U.S. In Proton, Lotus continues to make minimalist designed, light and strong automobiles.
There is a great connection between Lotus’ riding cars and race cars. Lotus’ success in automobile production has been awarded seven brand and six racers championships by the Formula 1 Team Lotus which founded by Chapman. It’s been over 60 years since the beginning of its commercial life and during this time it changed hands many times; however it has not lost its racer spirit.