Lotus Elan

Delamare Road yesterday and nearly fifty years ago

PostPost by: Mazzini » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:23 pm

Maureen M wrote:Wow thanks for the enlarged photograph - I look even fatter !!! Yes the M20 - it was always short of money and I don't think it ever went into production. I just recall the original clay scale model that Ron Hickman made in his studio during an all night session, and then the steel shell they put together in the workshop. Then everyone went to Hethel and I think it was shelved, but I can't be certain.

I imagine I am the only person on this site who does not own an Elan. It has been my life's ambition, but I don't think it is going to happen now. However I am probably the only person on this site who rode around in a number Elan 'ideas' that did not come to fruition (like the one with the glass top which flew off on the M1), and the Europa and the Lotus Cortina. Frequently !


A glass top?! That must have been a shattering experience (groan). I very much enjoy reading your recollections, thanks for posting and I look forward to reading some more :D
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:31 pm

I'm intrigued by the title: "Captions draft 14 dated 17th May 1996 by Ron Hickman".

Was Ron writing a book- I always thought that one was overdue.
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:23 am

Re-thinking that photograph I realized it was taken in 1966 (just before the move to Hethel) and not 1967. Sorry about that.
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:31 am

Pete - yes Ron was writing a book according to the 'notes' which I have - he gave me a lot of paperwork the last time I met with him in 2001. I re-read everything last night, and the book is mentioned, but what became of it I do not know. He was also working on the design on a new car.

I was in that Elan when the roof came off - we had a rather chilly journey home ! One of the biggest problems the development engineers had with the Elan was making it 'water proof'. You guys all own Elans - do they leak in the rain ?

I have a commemorative Elan wheel nut (Jim Clark 1965) which I was given whilst working in Cheshunt, as well as a model of the Elan which Ron gave me in 2001 - the top comes off and every little detail is there inside. I have to go out now, but will try to take some photos later and upload them. Unfortunately we are in slightly different time zones but I will try to get back on the site today.
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:25 am

Maureen M wrote:Pete - yes Ron was writing a book according to the 'notes' which I have - he gave me a lot of paperwork the last time I met with him in 2001. I re-read everything last night, and the book is mentioned, but what became of it I do not know. He was also working on the design on a new car.

I was in that Elan when the roof came off - we had a rather chilly journey home ! One of the biggest problems the development engineers had with the Elan was making it 'water proof'. You guys all own Elans - do they leak in the rain ?

I have a commemorative Elan wheel nut (Jim Clark 1965) which I was given whilst working in Cheshunt, as well as a model of the Elan which Ron gave me in 2001 - the top comes off and every little detail is there inside. I have to go out now, but will try to take some photos later and upload them. Unfortunately we are in slightly different time zones but I will try to get back on the site today.


Hello again Maureen,

Seems you could have enough material/memories for a book of your own!

Regards - Richard (and yes, even a Coupe can let in the odd drop of rain. I have had to bale out a flooded passenger footwell!)
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:01 am

Ha ha yes, but I have a lot of memories which I could NEVER publish ! An update on the Elan with the glass top comment - it wasn't actually glass of course, but some sort of plastic.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:11 am

Maureen

Yes you could! Perhaps you should!

In fact it is wonderful to have someone on here who was actually there at the time. We have precious few visits from people like yourself who can recall moments from Lotus in the 60s and 70s.

Did you make the move to Hethel or stay in Herts? And as a matter of interest, whereabouts do you live now?

Thanks again.

Tim
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:50 pm

Hi Tim - I did not move to Hethel on a permanent basis - I was single at the time and very happy living in my little flat in Harlow. I used to take the train to Cheshunt, just 3 stops up the line. But a permanent move to Hethel was not for me right then, although I have many regrets that I did not do it. I worked in Hethel for about 2 months, travelling up early on Monday morning and coming home on Friday evening (usually a lift with one of the development engineers). There were a lot of Lotus people who were looking round for accommodation, or commuting, and we were all put up (at ACBC's expense) in local hotels. My boss, Ron Hickman, left about the same time that I did. In fact I remember he drove me home to Harlow that last day. It was all so long ago and yet it seems like yesterday in many ways - certainly the most interesting and exciting job I ever had in my life. Some of the things I know are really personal and definitely not for publishing ! And I know nothing of the technical side of vehicle development so I would have nothing to write about that. I've travelled quite a bit since then - my last job was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but I have now retired back to my adopted home. I live in Johannesburg - the murder capital of the world ! Buy hey, the weather is great :) I am now going to try to upload some more pictures. I also have two more of Lotus staff back in the 60s, both with notes and names by Ron, but I still have to scan those in.
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:52 pm

BTW Tim - is the old Lotus factory in Cheshunt empty ? It looks rather empty from the recent photos. I shall be in England next year and I want to visit the factory - if it is empty I'd like to have a potter around :)
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:55 pm

LOTUS ELAN 002.jpg and
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:57 pm

LOTUS ELAN 006.jpg and
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:03 pm

LOTUS ELAN 014.jpg and
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:39 pm

I have been trying to post a picture of the entire knock on wheel hub but unfortunately the site will not accept it since it is larger than 2 mb. However I did manage to post one showing the Indianapolis corner. The whole inscription reads : Lotus World Champions 1963 & 1965 Indianapolis 1965. As I understood it at the time a number of Elan hubs were engraved and presented to senior staff to be used as ash trays ! I was very lucky to receive one since I definitely was not 'senior staff'. If anyone would like the picture I took of the whole thing, please let me know on my email. Cheers ! BTW I see I am a 'guest' on this site. Can I join seeing that I only drive a Hyundai :)
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:58 pm

Maureen M wrote:Pete - yes Ron was writing a book according to the 'notes' which I have - he gave me a lot of paperwork the last time I met with him in 2001. I re-read everything last night, and the book is mentioned, but what became of it I do not know. He was also working on the design on a new car.
...


Interesting; I spoke to him a couple of times a few years ago and he was not giving anything away re a book; however he showed us loads of stuff about the new car. Less said about that the better, unfortunately. Unless a 1980s revival comes along!
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PostPost by: Coupe » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:05 pm

Maureen M wrote:BTW Tim - is the old Lotus factory in Cheshunt empty ? It looks rather empty from the recent photos. I shall be in England next year and I want to visit the factory - if it is empty I'd like to have a potter around :)


When I called round last year there was firm occupying the buildings. They said they often get Lotus enthusiests calling round. I didn't go inside but thay said it was OK to walk round the outside and take phographs.
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