Lotus Cars, Celebrity Owners or in promotional Imagery:
George Best and Lotus: Perfection the Goal
“Would it have been different, if I’d been different in temperament and nature? I’m sure it would. But it wouldn’t have been so much fun .I’ve had twelve incredible years where I ‘ve been right at the top and at the very bottom ,and really I’ve enjoyed every minute of it .I don’t think I’d want to change it at all “
Figure 1.Best and Europa; Date, location unknown?
George Best was an international icon through the 1960’s and a foremost example of broad celebrity status.
He was an exceptional sportsman/athlete and his youth enabled him to be a fashion icon too.
He owned many cars as is the case with stars of this caliber but his ownership of the Europa is significant to us.
Subscribers might like to see the directly relevant and integrated A&R pieces that complement and help structure this article:-
- Carnaby street
- Lotus Design Decades :1960’s
- Lotus Europa and marketing materials
- Celebrity series :Peter Sellers/Brit Ekland,Francoise Sagan ,Jimi Hendrix, Steve McQueen
For a fuller interpretation of the meaning of celebrity we direct subscribers to our first item in this series on Peter Sellers/Brit Ekland.
George Best -brief biography from the net:-
“During his early years at Old Trafford, Best was a shy teenager who passed his free time in snooker halls. However, he later became known for his long hair, good looks and extravagant celebrity lifestyle, and appeared on Top of the Pops in 1965.
He opened a nightclub called Slack Alice on Bootle Street in Manchester in 1973 and owned restaurants in the city including Oscars, on the site of the old Waldorf Hotel.  He also owned fashion boutiques, in partnership with Mike Summerbee. Best’s cousin GaryIn 2007, GQ magazine named him as one of the 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years. When Best played football, salaries were a fraction of what top players earn today, but, with his pop star image and celebrity status, Best still earned a fortune. He lost almost all of it. When asked what happened to the money he had earned, Best quipped: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds (women) and fast cars. The rest I just squandered…………….
“George Best was, at an incredibly young age, a great footballer, a style icon, a sex symbol and a pop star, all rolled into one. There were times when he seemed nothing less than a young god, and for a country that has seen its share of ‘rich and famous’ footballers in the last two decades, George remains the first to transcend football and become a national (adopted) hero, the first British footballers to genuinely contend to be the world’s best, a model for future players to aspire to in both football and fashion, and quite simply the Best English football has ever seen.”
To understand his popularity, we turn to Sean O’Hagan, writing in the Guardian:
“It was George’s great good luck to come of age in the late Sixties, when the Beatles blew away the last vestiges of Victorian values. The Northern Ireland he left behind, though, was parochial and conservative, and what was most liberating about him was the manner in which he embraced his destiny, shrugged off these dull constraints. He revelled in his fame, luxuriated in the freedom it allowed him. He modelled clothes, opened a chain of boutiques, dated Miss Worlds, drank champagne in exotically named nightclubs – Tramp, Slack Alice – and inhabited a world that was as glamorous and unattainable to us as the worlds inhabited by Mick Jagger or James Bond.“
“George was a footballing icon before footballers became boring, he was a style icon before people knew about fashion. In the 60s, he was a symbol of dynamic, talented and adventurous youth, a walking success symbol. He was a role model for young football fans dreaming of success and the object of pride for older fans revelling in his success and fame beyond Britain.”
Figure 2”. Edwardia”January 1970: The great George Best stands in front of his fashion boutique in Bridge Street, Manchester. Best opened the shop in 1967, in partnership with Mike Summerbee.
Best Brief sympathetic biography
“George Best was pure rock and roll .He was 17 when he debuted for the Manchester United first team, a skinny Irish kid with a face like an angel and hair barely over his ears, but he hit the staid and dutiful game of English football with the same impact as Elvis gyrating on TV in front of apoplectic America and its blushing daughters.
no player before him had ever been fast and free enough to float above team orders , playing the game on another plain , miles above such workaday considerations as tactics team orders and passing ……………but when the swivel hipped kid was in possession , his magical dribbling control , imagination and acceleration made him practically unstoppable ……………….
MU manager Matt Busby called Best “the perfect player” ……….with strength and courage, two good feet [“sometimes he seemed to have six “] and his ability to score a goal out of nothing ……………….
They called him the fifth Beatle; but that was a cliché that diminishes Best’s originality, his genius and the brightness of the spotlight that fell on him ………….
Thinking on his feet he was soon firing back at the massed notebooks a barrage of wonderful aphorisms ……………
Best became the wholesome face of Irish sausages, and Best crisps and even boiled eggs for breakfast .he floated through TV ads to promote Fore grooming aids, girls with ironed hair going weak at the knees .he put his name to Umbro football boots, became co-owner of two Manchester boutiques and nightclubs, the first footballer with the avowed intention of becoming a millionaire by the age of 30……
Best was the first footballer to achieve pin –up status not just in the media age, but in the age of sexual freedom .he was the first footballer to discuss or evoke images of sex in relation to football ……………….he was invited to Top of the Pops studio where the elphin mod as filmed bopping in his Beatle boots .He later became the first footballer to become the subject of a BBC documentary ….The world of George Best…………….
Cash, Sex Fame, fortune, wit, attitude, Beauty, Sex and booze and rock’n’roll.
He may have been a natural football artist but George just wanted to have fun……………..
It would be George Best’s own fatal flaw –a nagging lack of self-esteem, a self-destructive willingness to let himself down –that would see the genius slowly dismantled
European Footballer of the Year in 1968…………… ”
Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.
These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.
In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-
- Enumerate famous footballers and their cars
- How and why do footballers and sports personalities achieve celebrity?
- What skills and aptitudes do motor racing drivers and footballers have in common?
- How do celebrities like George Best help brands and sell cars?
- What other brand of cars did George Best own?
Exhibitions, Education and Economics
In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.
For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.
In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-
- Best :Top of the Pops
- George Best :Shooting Star
- Best and Lotus: Matchless/Match of the Day
- Best and Lotus :Record Breaking
- George Best: Pitch Perfect
- George Best and Lotus :Perfection the Goal
- In George Best’s Footprints
- George Best Footsteps and Footwear
From the net
“MANCHESTER UNITED LEGEND George Best — unquestionably one of the greatest players ever and arguably the first-ever footballing celebrity — has, over the years, become a cliché, a by-word for ‘cautionary tale’.
“What surprised me [when doing research] was how much money George actually earned, because we were always told that the footballers of the 60s didn’t earn much money and they certainly didn’t in terms of salary. The most George earned as a footballer was £250, and that was in his final year at Manchester United. But from the commercial endorsements, he was the first brand footballer really. I think I’ve totaled up that between 1966 and 70, I think he put his name to 78 different things — everything from shoes to fashion to breakfast cereal to bedding. So he was earning about £100,000 a year by 1969, which was a phenomenal amount.”
We have taken a holistic assessment of George Best.
He is evaluated as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
This possibly includes his iconic status on-off the pitch.
Briefly his social standing likened him to pop and film stars of celebrity status in 1960’s.
Like many other celebrities in our series he suffered his demons and dependency. Sadly, success came at a heavy price. Young, gifted, fêted Best was possible corrupted by fame and fortune. It’s possible that he might have held over ambitious expectations of himself. This impacted tragically into his family life.
George Best was both sportsman and businessman; he capitalised on image and reputation.
Best opened boutiques and sought independent income [history does not record if these were freehold or lease].
His personal image was a perfect promotional device. He produced his own brand of clothes etc.
George Best ownership of a Europa was a gift to the brand. Although resounding success in F1 which was male dominated, it was a relatively niche market. George Best would have opened the brand to other sports men and women, the fashion conscious, pop music idols, the trendy and the style, culture formers of the era.
The glorious photograph of Best, a girlfriend, boutique and Europa capture and personify an image of the swinging sixties-success, youth, entrepreneurial, innovation, and style.
Best possessed great talents as an athlete. His speed, reactions, manourverbility etc. would have equipped him to be an excellent sports car driver. As such the Europa would have been a perfect match in every respect.
Stars and Cars.Braunstein.Arum.2017.
British Sporting Legends.Borrows/Bailey. Simon Schuster.2011.
Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.
*Items in italics non A&R library books.