Lotus Elan

Lotus Heritage Centre and Museum

PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:04 pm

For those of you who have not seen the announcement from last week regarding the future plans for the Hethel real estate, please see: https://vintageracecar.com/lotus-to-bui ... ge-center/

I for one am very encouraged that at last Lotus will be joining other sports car manufacturers, as well as some mass producers like Mazda, in providing a centre for enthusiasts, historians and researchers, where the history of the firm and examples of the cars can be studied, enjoyed and cherished by future generations.

With Classic Team Lotus concentrating on the race cars, I hope that the new Heritage Centre will concentrate more on the road cars. Additionally, I would hope that it acts as an archive, where enthusiasts will feel happy donating appropriate ephemera and other interesting Lotus related objets de voiture. I have visited both the Frazer Nash Archives and the Bugatti Trust, both hugely valuable resources to owners and historians, yet run mostly by volunteers and on charitable donations. Their constant fear is of running out of funding, which must be worrying.

My final point about the proposal, is that I hope the Heritage Centre and Museum can be established as a charitable trust, supported financially by Lotus, yet one that can not be sold off by some future owner of the brand. We saw that happen when the then Lotus museum car collection was sold off in 1998 by Proton, merely to generate cash. It should not have been allowed to do so, in my view.

Tim
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PostPost by: JimE » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:07 pm

I do hope that the previous Lotus Car Museum collection that was sold off didn't contain cars donated by enthusiasts but loaned. Jim
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:51 am

I have the list from the Coys auction. They were mostly factory development cars plus a small number of road cars that had not been sold to the public, as far as I’m aware.

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PostPost by: Elanman68 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:06 am

I was shown round the collection when I collected my M100 from the factory in November 1995. Photographs were not allowed in the factory but my recollection is that at least one of the James Bond Esprits (the bronze one) and the Mk 2 Lotus Cortina allegedly once owned by Bruce Reynolds of Great Train Robbery notoriety were there and I seem to also recall a +2 stated as having belonged to Colin Chapman. Not sure how that ties in with the Coys list?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:48 am

I think it's essential to be a charitable trust Tim if it is to hold and build a library of Lotus related documentation, collectables and cars. There are many individuals who have put together fantastic collections of Lotus related stuff over the past 30 - 70 years. Many of those folks would love to be able to put those collections into a central repositary that can be viewed and shared with other Lotus enthusiasts, but as you say, that will only work if there are no commercial interests in such a collection. I certainly wouldn't hand over any of my goodies to an extension of a Chinese car company marketing department!

Just for interest, there were two Lotus Cortinas in the collection. One was a very early Mk1 Lotus Cortina that was indeed owned by the train robber Bruce Reynolds. It was used to recce the area where the train was stopped, and was impounded by the Police when Reynolds was caught. It had 3000 miles on the clock!

The second was an Amber Gold Mk2 Lotus Cortina, given to Colin Chapman by Ford in 1969. We're still trying to work out why (amongst the many possible reasons!). Colin used it for nearly 3 years covering 20,000 miles, which is quite considerable given his other choices in transportation!

Here's Bruce being re-united with his car, and the Mk2
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PostPost by: Elanman68 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:37 am

Thanks for the clarification, it was a bit of a whirlwind day and I remember some of what I saw and some of what I was told. Saddened me to see it later sold off as once a collection is broken up I imagine it's very difficult to put it back together. On this basis I agree that some form of charitable trust would be good. That said the proposals are great news and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.
Last edited by Elanman68 on Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:18 pm

Elanman68 wrote:I was shown round the collection when I collected my M100 from the factory in November 1995. Photographs were not allowed in the factory but my recollection is that at least one of the James Bond Esprits (the bronze one) and the Mk 2 Lotus Cortina allegedly once owned by Bruce Reynolds of Great Train Robbery notoriety were there and I seem to also recall a +2 stated as having belonged to Colin Chapman. Not sure how that ties in with the Coys list?


The 'bronze' Esprit (I think the colour was actually called Jupiter Red) which appeared in For Your Eyes Only is now in the Dezer Museum in Florida, where there is a large an impressive James Bond collection. I saw it a few years ago.

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