Colin Chapman Museum and Education Centre Newsletter March 2012

Newsletter – Number 35

  1. Lotus around and about
  2. Museums around the world you may not have heard of: The Mexico City Car Museum
  3. Questions from our readers
  4. Geoff Goddard
  5. The Works
  6. Lotus books one for the library
  7. Lotus collectables
  8. Lotus interest on YouTube

All previous articles relating to these are held on the website.

1. Lotus around and about


Seen at the boxing day Romsey show
Photo by Liz Oliver

2. Museums around the world you may not have heard of: Mexico City Car Museum, by Anthony Wright

1203_clip_image003 1203_clip_image004 1203_clip_image005 1203_clip_image002_0000

El Museo del Automóvil in the south of Mexico City houses more than a hundred painstakingly restored cars. In existence since 1991, the Museo del Automóvil is unique to Latin America and was the fruit of the labors of a group of vintage car lovers, who exhibit their treasures for the joy of it. While it is basically a permanent exhibition, around 30 cars are rotated every three months to allow other collectors to also display their wheels. All the cars are registered and in fine working order, and the engines are turned over once a month to keep them that way.

See the full article here

3. Question (can you help?)…This time a request

We frequently get asked from around the world quite amazing questions , so far we have used a limited group to try and answer them, not always successfully.

So we now put them on our website and see if any “friends” know the answer.

Still many unanswered questions on our website can you help?

I was passing through the Crinan canal and stopped in the Ardrishaig basin for a couple of nights. An old fellow in a house boat next door was very kind to our kids and so we invited him on board for what he told us was his customary 4pm tipple of whisky.

During the conversation he mentioned (I think) that he had been involved in supplying engines to the old lotus racing team. He also said that he had moved to the Crinan to escape from his former life down south and planned to end his days there.

I was only after we had left, and I’d looked at the paper we’d exchanged with his name on it I made the (possible) connection – his name was Ken Chapman.

I just wondered if you could verify if Ken was in fact related to Colin and if you have any record or knowledge of his involvement /association with the Lotus team back in the 60’s/70’s?

Thank you in anticipation of your kind reply.


The Telegraph Obituary of Goddard commented:
“ His own photography captured uniquely the majesty of motor sport with natural scenery. He loved classic settings ………and especially …….the Sicilian Targa Florio.”

From another source it was said of his work with Nye “Ferrari in Camera”:
“Madly exclusive, outrageously expensive, exquisitely printed and brilliantly evocative”

Geoffrey Goddard was one of the foremost photographers of motor sport. His career spanning three decades included the Golden post war era that was dominated by Britain and in particular Lotus through the late 1950’s and 60’s.
In this article we will explore some of the context and possible sources of inspiration. We do not know much about Goddard other than the Telegraph Obituary that seems to be based on a brief autobiography [First Steps] that Goddard gave in “Track Pass” but we will attempt to make some extrapolations through the history of the era.
Goddard left a major body of work in his photographs and we will examine a few of these in greater detail to gain some insight into the aesthetics and sensitises of the man.
Much of our appreciation of the drama and indeed the beauty of motor sport is a result of Goddard’s imagination and technical skill. He remains something of a modest unassuming man behind the lens.

Contemporary Photographers /London context of the Era

We often allude to the fact that London was the post war epicentre of motor sport. This was significantly reinforced graphically by the artistic vision aesthetic and interpretative quality that pervaded the era. It was given expression through the presence of the press, magazines, graphic / promotional art and photographers.
The GPO Film [Documentary] Unit was also a major source of artistic interpretation and insight / expression [frequently vying between poetic and realism]
It is possibly Picture Post that is most redolent of this period. Their images were the work of the likes of:

  • Kurt Hutton
  • Francis Reiss
  • Thurston Hopkins
  • Grace Robertson

Motor Racing Exponents

  • George Monkhouse
  • Laurie Morton
  • Nigel Snowdon
  • Michael Turner [Artist –also see A&R article]
  • Louis Klemantaski [pre and post war]
  • Michael Cooper

Readers are also recommended to see A&R article on Bridget Bishop and to make direct comparisons with Goddard when they both captured the same Lotus subject at a similar moment in time.
Equally the A&R article on the Festival of Britain will immerse the reader in the social and cultural atmosphere of Post War Britain.

Goddard was central to the best .The media, the circuits and manufacturers.
Living in Ealing he was only a matter of miles from:

  • Fleet Street and associated press and magazine infrastructure
  • Lotus, Aston Martin, Cooper, Elva etc major manufacturers and specialist support engineers. [E.g. Park Royal Industrial Estate Complex] Vanwall were based at Acton just two miles away.
  • Crystal Place circuit in South London [see A&R article]
  • Transport hubs and connections particularly Heathrow which would have enabled him to fly to international destinations to cover events.
  • Ealing Studios were on his doorstep. [Source of film and documentary and BBC for a time]. Ealing studios had been in existence since 1902. Some of their most famous as consistent work was produced post war and fondly remembered as the series of “The Ealing comedies”

Geoff Goddard
Goddard was born on the 24/7/1929 in Heston, near Hounslow, South West London [close to Heathrow]. His parents were of modest means. Goddard confirms that they lived in Sunbury for a brief period but also spent time in and around West London and settled in West Ealing. His official stamp [and this might have been the family / parental home] bears the address [home still exists see editors photograph]:
35 Balmoral Gardens, Ealing, W13.
Phone. Ealing 3942.

Goddard was a year younger than Colin Chapman and their lives and experiences were closely linked. They shared much in common from an interest in mechanical things [Chapman made model planes; Goddard loved Meccano] geographical proximity to periods in the armed forces which neither liked very much] Evidently both men had strong aesthetic appreciation.

About the age of 18 possible at time he undertook National Service Goddard took up photography. He also significantly obtained his RAC competition licence. [He would have therefore appreciated the vision of the car and competition directly from the cockpit]. It’s believed that Geoff also was briefly apprenticed to Frazer Nash whom then was locally based at Isleworth, Middlesex. [Falcon Works, London Road] Additional employment included brief spells as car salesman at Chequered Flag, Chiswick and Northfields Motors, Ealing.
Goddard may have met and been influenced by Louis Klemantaski. He admits to having been inspired by his work “Scrapbook” [Motor Racing Publications] and by Earl Howe’s book “Motor Racing” [Lonsdale Library Book]
His entry to the profession seems to date from c1950 an in particular attendance at Goodwood Easter meeting of that year. His first published photograph was in Iota July 1951.

In his early twenties he had become Chief Photographer for “Motor Racing “ and later contributed to “Road &Track”
At “Motor Racing” he joined Doug Nye and they made a formidable team.
We do not know the circumstances of this appointment. Certainly in the early 1950’s gifted amateurs would have easier breaks than today.

Goddard in “Track Pass” is very candid and admits, “I certainly never had any training as a photographer”

“Motor Racing” is described, as the official organ of the BRSCC .It is believed that it was first published in 1954 and was the successor of “Iota”. It is thought to have continued publication into the 1970’s.Of course the magazine was London based. Doug Nye is one of the greatest motoring journalists and authors. He has over seventy books to his name. Including “The Story of Lotus 1961-1971”] He joined “Motor Racing” in his late teens. The pairing with Goddard was therefore very youthful.

Some of his most impressive work appeared in print with Doug Nye [see below]

Geoff states he initially used a borrowed Voigtlander Vito 35mm and later used a second hand Leica IIIA.
Around this time with help from a relative he was driving an M.G.PB
At some point it seems Geoff’s parents opened a travel agent; Minikins, 162 The Broadway, West Ealing. [The editor has been able to identify and confirm this from Kemps Directory [1955]. Also in the library are a series of period photographs of the Uxbridge Road, West Ealing dated 1955 **. Some readers or students may be interested in the period ambience and the direct comparison with Hornsey in the same era and when GG was taking photographs at Tottenham Lane. Geoff informs us that part of the shop may have been used for selling cameras and photography supplies; this would have been complementary and an income side line whilst giving Goddard the ability to experiment possibly in both the artistic and technical aspects of photography and developing. [See advertisement from Kemps]. There were certainly several professional photographers in Ealing during the 1950’s. [Possible off shoot of Ealing studios or undertaking commercial photography consistent with Britain’s economic growth]
In the early 1950’s he knew and on occasions assisted Patrick Stephens who had a motor sport bookshop in London.

Significantly it’s believed some of Goddard’s work was used by Shell. They were London based, sponsored motor sport and had a reputation for some posters that were avant-garde and in the vanguard of graphic commercial poster art.

In the 1970’s Goddard contributed to and photography consultant to Motor Sport Year Book; edited by Barrie Gill [nb 1972 and 1974 prefaced as John Player and featured colour pictures of JPS Lotus on front covers]
Geoff Goddard had wide ranging taste and his interests included golf, traditional jazz and classical music. He is known to have saved and collected precious archive of early motor racing photography. He must also have been well organised to catalogue/ identify and retrieve the thousands of negatives he held. By definition he was well travelled.
In the 1980’s the Goddard family had moved to Ascot in Berkshire.

Lotus and Goddard
Geoff Goddard’s work appeared in “Lotus the First Ten Years”. Included are photographs of:

  • “The Bristol engine in Mike Anthony’s Mark 10”
  • “The disc brakes on the Mark 10”


  • “The Eleven in course of construction. In top left hand corner Nobby Clark can be seen supervising the work and above his head runs the girder supporting the rather cramped stores”
  • Three Elevens lined up on display outside the showroom office*. [They have all been fitted with wiper blades to the screens] Note this view seems to be taken from a height and looks slightly down. The black and white image brings out the full form and function of the cars. Behind inside the showroom the Elite is on display making reference to Lotus status as manufacturer of road and racecars.

Our readers are invited to look at A&R photographs [and article “The Works, where there are both photographs and working drawings illustrating the Tottenham Lane premises] of the scene today and will realise how little has changed and why Tottenham Lane remains the first choice for the proposed CCM&EC.

Goddard’s photographs will date from 1955 through to possibly 1957. The editors recommend direct comparison with A&R article of photography by Bridget Bishop there are some interesting similarities.

For Geoff Goddard it would have been a very short ten-mile journey from West Ealing [via Uxbridge Road &The North Circular] to Hornsey. Its also very possible that Goddard was meeting Colin Chapman and Lotus personnel at the race circuits and other London venues like the Racing Car show.

He continued photographing Lotus through the 1960’s and 70. As evidenced by publication in Motor Sport Year Book.

The Artistic content of the Photographs
The editor has analysed the photographic work used to illustrate the books published jointly with Doug Nye [see reference section]. This amounts to approximately 920 mainly black and white and colour images. The subject/content includes a wide variety:

  • Strong close ups racing action
  • Observation with sense of humour
  • Background content including architecture “ A sense of place” with weather, mood etc
  • Humanist pictures “populated”
  • Mixture of Formula I, Sports Racing cars
  • Action shots
  • Technical close ups and “still life” –editors description- emphasis on composition?
  • Driver portrait and personalities
  • Accidents.

The editor noted these broad themes and locations [circuits]:

  • Dunrod
  • Targa Florio
  • Le Mans
  • Monaco
  • Goodwood

Also detected in Goddard’s work are the following qualities and sense of:

  • Technical interest of subject and or possibly and appreciation of form and function; the “architecture or sculpture”
  • Sense of speed and drama
  • Willingness to share and participate [i.e. connecting with audience through aspects of photography which whilst being democratic are also possibly very commercial in this market?
  • Bravery in relation to position and location
  • Variety and effort to seek out differing perspectives
  • Composition using a hierarchical structure and “architecture” possibly deferring to classical composition volume dispositions.
  • A sense of mood and moment along with a sense of place i.e. a greater sense of awareness and connection with unique.
  • Humanity that sees pictures populated, children’s wonder and awe and the occasional sense of humour.
  • A feeling or intuition for the “Still Life” and accent on pure composition and palette that communicates so much without reference to speed, power or danger. An intellectual insightful reflective analysis. In some of his work the editor notes the possibility of an artists or painters technique and “feel”
  • Images that are sharp, crisp and are animated to entertain
  • The ability to handle black & white and colour with equal dexterity. The author attributes these to Goddard’s sense of eye. In his best B&W your almost able to paint in the colours because he has captured tonal values.

The editor had a particular affection for Goddard’s technical detailed studies and as mentioned the “Still Life”.
Perhaps most of all Goddard captured an era; a bygone era with its distinctive envelope and its atmospheric ambience. A relaxed informal time when proximity was permitted. He openly admits that safety concerns would not permit similar photography today.

The editor selects the following images from “Track Pass” and “Ferrari in Camera” for detailed analysis and as perhaps representing highlights:

Track Pass – 1971 Monaco Grand Prix.J.Stewart, Tyrell, Tir aux Pigeons.

  • Black and white square format image
  • Practically atmospheric / impressionistic imagery and by necessity restricted palette [in confines of tunnel but making using of extreme contrast] to heighten drama.
  • This image just relies on single a racing car that in turn is relatively small and indistinct in overall frame. The image emphasises the sense of enclosure /encirclement
  • Goddard uses to dramatic affect the brilliant light in offset oval opening of tunnel indicating the sudden and violent contrast the driver would experience
  • The lights in the tunnel are picked out as specks and follow the curving domed roof
  • Impact relies in the shadow light contrasts
  • The overall picture talks to the viewer and commutates the often loneliness in midst of race, its contrasts and millisecond changes of mood, scene and condition and not least in this view the deafening aural acoustic produced by the rebound of engine / exhaust note.
  • With the passage of time we tend to perhaps view this type image with greater nostalgia and sympathy.

Track Pass- 1955 August Goodwood

  • Black and white
  • Radical and unconventional composition for era. Unusual composition angle and sense of framing [possibly showing artists eye] and self-confidence to experiment or break convention.
  • Hierarchical compositional devise with strong distinct foreground, middle distance and receding background
  • Foreground focus given to reaper blades and stacked wheat sheaves. The sports racing cars are evident but this picture has been rendered to tell a story and alludes to landscape though which race is conducted and which drivers will be aware. This landscape adds interest.
  • Highly redolent of specific circuit, pastoral and parochial. A very “English” image that rather alludes to pervading iconography of this period [see Picture Post]
  • Observation post in background provides balance with strong vertical mass in overall composition.
  • The weather and sky in this image also reflects Goddard’s sympathy with time and place and feeling for the context envelope in which picture is wrapped.

Track Pass -1952 Goodwood, Mike Hawthorn, Cooper Bristol

  • Black and white image with considerable texture and tonal contrast.
  • Almost head on but slightly off centre composition in classical proportional disposition of volumes
  • Nearly equal attention/ focus of driver and machine
  • Blurred background suggesting speed [probable function of aperture and speed to freeze image]
  • Accurate rendition of Hawthorns characteristic driving style and reflecting technical handling qualities of machine.
  • Viewer/ audience lives the moment and shares experience through proximity of image. Note this is interesting paradox that although image seen head on the viewer identifies with driver impression/perception commuted to drivers vision. I.e. the drivers vision unobtainable but delivered through intense close up and engagement.

Track Pass-1955 Le Mans Mike Hawthorn ‘D’ Type Jaguar [774 RW]

  • Black white near square picture format
  • Image of crystal clear clarity
  • Texture and tonal values trigger and invite mind to colour and walk into scene
  • Picture composition with well defined hierarchy of foreground, middle distance and background
  • Story or plot has cars enter and leave picture. Here a ‘static image’ almost rendered as if moving footage.
  • Animated populated middle distance giving human element /story to composition
  • Trees and falling light assist viewer feel sense of time and place without prior knowledge. [I.e. image deductive]
  • Particularly lyrical moment, a passing moment .An indelible engraving that transports those not privileged to witness the scene direct, to a place where they might observe and commentate. [In simple terms it puts them behind the lens]

Ferrari in Camera – 1965 Monaco Grand Prix. Lorenzo Bandini, Ferrari

  • Exquisite colour image
  • Driver couches to left holds chassis for balance and visually examines car
  • Sharp defined, incisive, engraved detail of the horology type engine construction but also including cockpit
  • Bright light captures and emphasises polished alloy carburettor trumpets and gauze filters which provide strong visual focus
  • Contrasting colours and textures and detail of distinctive tyre tread pattern. Blood red Ferrari body side and white race numbers
  • Subtle light modulation and gradation evidenced on drivers silver helmet and overalls
  • Small details complementing whole like texture of string back racing gloves
  • Formal composition gradually fades out towards periphery
  • A composition of remarkable understatement calm, serenity, executed brilliantly reflecting an all pervading stillness but redolent of innate power

Ferrari in Camera – 1962 German Grand Prix, Ferrari 156

  • Captioned as “Peaceful Pit Scene” Goddard has captured and reinforced this totally and emphatically.
  • Colour image
  • Lyrical use of falling light and shadow modulation across image
  • Relaxed informal impact by contrast calm before the storm [both nature sport and artistic composition / handling/ rendition]
  • Strong forced deliberate diagonal compositional devise
  • Central focus on machine and in particular cockpit and steering wheel/ rev-counter
  • Mechanics “frozen” in routine maintenance and checks. Lone female sits on pit wall possibly preparing lap counting. Photographers animated mill round
  • Onlookers unobtrusive overlook balcony from above
  • Circuit observation tower balances and centralises composition .It also serves to arrest and hold receding perspective
  • A moment of joy and calm rendered and distilled; bathed in light.

The Telegraph 13 May 2006 [Obituaries]
Picture Post
A&R Articles: Social &Economic History [Festival of Britain, GPO Film Unit], Bridget Bishop’s photography and The Fine Art of Motor Sport series.

Books by Goddard and Nye:
The Classic Single Seaters: Great Racing Cars of the Donnington Collection
Classic Racing Cars
Track Pass: Photographers View of Motor Racing 1950-1980*
The Crowood Press 1990
ISBN: 1852234822
Ferrari In Camera [note 1000 copied printed. British Library copy No.695]
Palawan Press 1995
ISBN: 0952300915
The British Library. [The extremely helpful institution that holds all books mentioned above and where editor was able to conduct majority of research. Shelf No.’s on request]
Kemps Directory of Ealing [Annual c 1955 -1960] Research Ealing Local History Section main Library. See also local photographs** with code T275 dated 11.2.55. Readers may also wish to use and look at aerial pictures.
Goddard’s photograph of Lotus Eleven at Hornsey*
Lotus The First Ten Years by Smith*
John Player Motor Sport Year Book Ed Barrie Gill 1972 &74 .The Queen Ann Press*

*A&R Library Copy.


5. The Works

“The Works”
An analysis of the technical, historical and economic forces relating to Lotus production locations. [Complied to benefit enthusiasts and International tourists in 2012]

2012 will experience many international visitors and tourists coming to London for the Olympic Games. Many may wish to include other cultural pursuits and possible pilgrimage to acquaint themselves with the origins of their interests/hobbies.
For this reason the editors thought it opportune to provide our subscribers with details of the Lotus production sites with accompanying information. This will allow or subscribers to appreciate the evolution and economic forces that Colin Chapman and Lotus had to address for viability. This was neither pleasant nor easy on occasions.
The editors take the view that the fullest appreciation of Chapman can not be undertaken without reference to his entrepreneurial skills and the economic imperatives of the era in which he tried to expand and survive. To achieve this some theoretical concepts [economic geography, and spatial economics etc] are introduced with appropriate international economic context.
The reader will also better understand events if economic history is overlaid with Lotus corporate status e.g. significantly when it became plc. and production volumes [Hodges states that 345 cars were built in 1981?]

British Economic History.

Britain enjoyed the advantage of interrelated geographical, geological and socio-economic factors. These included:

  • Moderate climate, Northern European location, island status, ports with access to Atlantic etc proximity to European mainland.
  • Geological: primary raw materials particularly iron, coal, water, and more recently North Sea oil.
  • Empire: invaluable assistance for raw materials, exports , labour and culture.
  • Constitutional and entrepreneurial system favorable to capital investment.
  • Indigenous/ cultural interest in technology and particularly motor sport and aviation.

During the Medieval period Britain underwent the “Agricultural Revolution”. This in many respects was able to provide the momentum and capital for the “Industrial Revolution” to follow. The British Empire also contributed significantly to growth and expansion of the manufacturing base. The Industrial Revolution galvanized around the sources of raw materials particularly coal, iron and water.
During the Victorian era Britain considered it self the “Workshop of the World”. This was driven by the machine and initially fueled by steam and later electricity. Machines made machines and engineers like Brunel [see A&R article] and the great inventors of the 18 &19c were concerned with practical means to increase production and manufacturing capacity. Britain had a good educational system and perhaps a carry over of the Yeoman and craft tradition/ discipline. [See A&R article on Williams &Pritchard]
Throughout the Victorian period the population grew and there was at the later stage infrastructure and welfare.
Its possible now to look back with greater objectivity and realize that the might of the British manufacturing and exporting economy started to peak towards the turn of the century. Other nations industrialized; there was cheaper labour and generally greater competition. There is the theory that economies have stages of development and like humans and can also decline. However about the same period the motorcar became a significant part of personal transport and the economy as a whole.
Britain embraced the motor industry and quite soon had its own mass production mainly centered in the West Midlands. [E.g. Austin] Motor racing was an also a national success and the British provide natural flair in design construction and racing drivers.

The two World Wars have a massive impact. War can either accelerate or deplete economies and new technologies. Colin Chapman was possibly one of the greatest exponents of technological extrapolation [i.e. from the aviation industry aerodynamic theory and the structural construction] it’s often expressed that although Britain won the wars it lost out economically. Post Second World industries were encouraged to disperse for security and this partly encouraged the need for personal transport and commuting. After the Second World War there was a brief expansion that peaked in the 1960’s.Many long term residual problems remained. The infrastructure was becoming old and inadequate, labour and increasing age demographics was no longer competitive and the changing dynamics within the Empire impacted on imports and exports. The 1960’s were something of halcyon decade aided by a youthful market, the availability of credit and North Sea Oil.
This perhaps concealed more serious problems and towards the end of the decade there would be structural unemployment and hysteresis in major industries from coal, shipbuilding, the ports and the motor industry. The 1970’s witnessed slower economic growth and endogenous development.
Some regions suffered disproportionate decline,, low income and high unenmployment. There were also inflationary pressure with a migration of populations and some depopulation from rural areas to the cities Some of these depressed areas would attempt Regional Planning with government assistance and this encouraged some companies to relocate However some economists had reservations about both subsidies and the top down, demand driven and merely reactive response. Some of the incentives included:

  • Financial Incentives
  • Grants; loans and tax concessions
  • Depreciation allowance
  • Employment premium
  • Removal costs allowance
  • Transport subsidies
  • Labour training aids
  • Rent subsidy
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Development controls.
  • [See below vis Lotus move to Hethel – detailed research required if any of these applied]

Structural change and globalization / multinationals were an international phenomenon not exclusive to West and Britain. Also it was during this time that he EEC began to have a greater impact on the British economy. [Both positive and negative, subsidies and regulation control mechanisms etc]
The 2nd Oil Crises had an immediate impact on Western economies not least the motor industry. [It’s believed that in 1974 oil price quadrupled] The post War also had significant impacts on Germany and Japan and with higher levels of technology, investment and different labour culture they possible responded and restructured more flexibly to changing world markets and conditions. They were driven by exports.
The post war era also witnessed the Information Technology Revolution and we are now experiencing a further wave through the Internet. This is also linked with the 20c decline in manufacture and a partial substitution to service industries of various forms [notably banking, finance and insurance in UK] Lotus role in consultancy is an excellent example of research and design being more profitable than manufacture in certain circumstances.

Current International Economic Uncertainty along with further impacts in energy prices will affect manufacturing. The Asian nations who entered their own Industrial Revolutions later have the advantage of the growth driven youthful economies and consumption led whilst the West struggles with the burden of age and decline [economic and demographic]

Economics is a dynamic subject with multi faceted and intertwined relationships not least with sociology, taste and fashion. The motor industry has very generally been a mirror. Post war when petrol was fairly cheap engine size and performance increased and peaked in the 1970’s. Note Lotus has been a manufacturer through the 1st, 2nd
policy and possibly 3rd to come Oil Crises.] Since the pendulum has swung the other way particularly associated with oil price increases and taxation. Sports car manufacturers are very vulnerable to changes in the economy and demand They are more sensitive to oil price, insurance / taxation and disposable income safety and legislation etc. than other products as they may be perceived as luxury items Lower volume sales threaten their very existence and we are only too aware of the specialists who have gone to the wall and multinationals forced into mergers.
It’s against this background that Lotus had to survive. As we examine the production sites we can look quite specifically at events and how Colin Chapman had to be such a ruthless and strategic entrepreneur. Britain has not despite its engineering and manufacturing wealth base done much to help these industries, as Chapman was to discover. Despite this he and colleagues kept the firm alive. It was also the consulting role within Lotus that might have cross-subsidized its other activities.

London The Epicenter of Post War Motor Sport
Carl Ludvigsen’s book “British Racing Green” is an excellent stating point and reference to understand context.
We must not ignore the fact that London had a significant prewar history of motor sport as perhaps best exemplified by Brooklands. London had the population, wealth. Cultural interest and engineering skill base to support this industry. The famous marques of the era include Bentley, Frazer Nash, Vale, and Sunbeam.

As with the rest of Britain throughout the Industrial Revolution London had its system of canals that supplied raw materials and moved manufactured goods to its extensive port network in the east. Along this canal network some of both the large and smaller specialist engineering firms located. Park Royal and Acton [where Vanwall were based] in the West were possibly the greatest concentration where perhaps they were also galvanized by the early aeronautical engineering from the turn of the centaury. Equally the east of London on the larger tracts of cheaper land there was considerable engineering and related factories. Note Ford is based at Dagenham.
Greater London too had motor sport specialist , not without coincidence the Purley Way at Croydon were extensive precision engineering developed supporting the early airport. Trojan for example was based there and they evolved into Elva and early McLaren.

Post war activities intensified and also had the benefit of Crystal Palace racing circuit within ten/ twelve miles of central London. Specialist within the area included Aston Martin, Cooper, BRP, Hill, Scirocco,Royale and many of the engineering specialists who provided competition components. Post war London developed as an International Corporate/Banking /HQ Centre with may multinationals who became willing to provide sponsorship. As in many cases the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
The greater London area contained:

  • Most significant Motoring clubs and motor sport organizations, [some enjoyed Royal patronage etc]
  • BBC, Press, Publishers motoring magazines and photographers
  • Craft skills continued from middle ages connected with heraldry etc; including coach building
  • Specialist small-scale motor manufacturers [and some large scale transport engineering e.g. buses, trams]. Smiths Industries. [Instruments]
  • Specialists small and or family engineering business.
  • Some of the most significant motor sport participants e.g. Cooper Aston Martin.
  • Some of the most famous drivers and their clubs / nightlife.
  • Prestigious universities like University College where Colin Chapman studied and many professional bodies and Institutions related to motoring trade and engineering had their headquarters and libraries here.
  • Olympia and other International Exhibition Halls [e.g. Motor show]

Colin Chapman was both stimulated by their presence and many contend that he almost single handed went on to establish British motor sport supremacy and wrench this from what had been the prewar dominance of Europe.

Colin could not have established at Hornsey at a better time with the happy coincidence of skilled friends and employees. There was certainly an early momentum but he was to give it a sharp and successful focus. After the derivation of the war and rationing a boost to morale was needed. This would be ignited from a lock up in a quite suburb of North London.

Hornsey: Social and Technical connections.
It was a fortunate coincidence that Colin’s parents located to the Railway Hotel. Colin had happy childhood and many local friends. He experienced the Second World War and entered the post war era with youth and momentum as a result of his drive, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial approach and grasp of technology. London was the epicenter [see below] and DeHavilland etc were close. Britain had to export or die. Science, technology and modern management were in the ascendancy. He was fortunate to meet the Allen brothers and Hazel Williams amongst others locally, who contributed so much [skills. finance, and ideas] and to have access to the 750 Motor Club, and the many amateur-driving opportunities like trials. London via the North Circular would give him almost all he needed to execute the advanced and radical ideas that he conceived.
It ought be emphasized that Colin Chapman started with little capital. He and the enthusiastic band of volunteers had to essentially improvise, innovate and extrapolate every inch of the way. It’s possibly the modest start and lack of capital was an engineering advantage and focused the mind. [They would not be able to have the luxury of getting it wrong and being able to start again.] He also had the exceptional craft skills of Progress Chassis [John Teychenne] and Williams and Pritchard to interpret complex designs.

The visitor is very privileged to see the continuum and thereby trace every link in the chain. Hornsey and the immediate environs are the seed and soil from which Lotus flowered.

  • Colin Chapman was born at the Orange Tree pub Richmond, Surrey .The family moved to North London and it’s within a two-mile radius of Hornsey that Lotus history took off.
  • The Railway Hotel. Tottenham Lane, N8 [One time family home that possibly included stable block. Possibly used by the pub dray/ deliveries or in context of British Rail marshalling yards]
  • Chapman family home [“Colford Lodge’, 44 Beech Drive, Finchley /Muswell Hill London N2]
  • Hazel Chapman nee Williams family home and lock up [244 Alexandra Park Road, Wood Green]
  • 19 Ribblesdale Road/ 41 Church Lane [rear off], Hornsey. [Opposite Lotus works where early Progress chassis welded]
  • The Allen brother’s family home [104 Vallance Road, Wood Green and walking distance from Alexandra Park Road.]
  • Old Hornsey Town Hall, Crouch End [site of BBC programme “The Hour”] Local Planning office –see documents for planning permission application]
  • Alexandra Palace. [Thought to possible location for publicity photographs for Elite and Seven SI]
  • University College London [ where Colin qualified]
  • [All those sites mentioned are in existence]

7 Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, London N8 8PR [C1952 to 1959/60]
Associated stables Tottenham Lane [see A&R article and photographs by Bridget Bishop]
Lotus Design and Administration Office, Tottenham Lane. [From 1957/58]
The “Eleven or Racing Section Building ”

Colin first used a lock up owned by Hazel’s parents then the former stables adjacent to the Railway Hotel. Facilities we know were very rudimentary. Some jobs had to be contracted out. When Williams and Pritchard and Progress Chassis were in the same small complex integration improved.

Colin and his colleagues had an almost phenomenal rate of development and success. Within ten years of start up they had dominated British Club racing, entered Le Mans with success in their class and were on the brink of FI. At the end of the decade they were also producing the revolutionary Elite.
Some visitors will find this incredulous compared with the multi billion pound research centers of today. The editors recommend examination not least to comprehend the scale of achievement with such modest means. This must be one of Chapman’s greatest legacies and inspiration. The triumph of conceptualization and determination over easy money.

The move away from Tottenham was almost inevitable. Although land price inflation and speculation had not taken off in the modern sense in the late 1950’s there was still not sufficient economic priced land available even in North London. [Nb the multistory/ speculative pension fund building commenced in London from the 1960’s onwards]. Planning and the British system of zoning neither helped. Lotus was overtaken by the “Push” factors off rising competition [land and labour] rising costs and overheads, poor communications [or transport links. maneuverability etc], inability to respond to predicted demand. Lotus had volume aspirations for the Elite [and shortly to be followed by Elan]

Delamare Rd, Cheshunt, Herts [1959/60 To 1966]
Colin Chapman bought land and had a new production facility built at Delamare Road Cheshunt. [Herts]. This was a large building and must have been ambitious anticipating space requirement for production car and racing cars. It is almost exactly ten miles due north of Hornsey and forms part of the Lee Valley. Now just outside the M25 in the 1960 it must have represented an acceptable compromise retaining some local connection, acceptable travel distance and links with contractors such as Arch Motors and Williams and Prichard amongst others in the Edmonton area. It offered a space advantage permitting expansion. However it was relatively short lived and the decision to move may have been Chapman’s desire to push Lotus up the prestige ladder and to increase production and export.
The Delamare Road complex in fact comprised two buildings with some thought applied to production economics and flow lines. The Sales and administration offices were in he north building overlooking Delamare Road and located on the first floor.
Many period photographs feature the Elite, Series II Seven and Lotus Cortina being dispatched.
It’s during this period Lotus really started its participation in the highest level of motor sport and success e.g.:
1963 Mk 25 and World Drivers and Manufacturers Championship.
1965 Double FI Championships

Hethel: Group Lotus, Hethel, Norfolk, England, NR14 8EZ. [1966/67 -] & Ketteringham Hall
Hethel is located approximately seven miles south west of Norwich and close to Wymondham. [Off A11]
The criteria that Colin Chapman and Lotus might used to select a site are likely to have included:

  • Generally a site to maximize revenue and minimize costs. [Stating generalisation high revenue- low costs = high profit]
  • Access to Government /Regional aid location incentives [see details above]
  • Skilled labour or trainable labour at low cost
  • Good communication
  • Isolation vis industrial / research secrecy
  • Land availability at low cost vis production flows and future expansion
  • Storage hedge against dealership blockages
  • Test track part and parcel of R&D/ or close proximity
  • Road, rail and port facilities to handle assembly and export
  • Possible airfield or landing facilities / or close proximity
  • Energy supplies
  • Location suitable to and acceptable for senior executives to relocate.
  • Advantage proximity to other specialists
  • Considerations of waste disposal or H&S considerations in plastic body construction etc.

Lotus moved to Hethel in 1966. This was a former air force base. At that precise moment the motor industry was complex; but petrol price were low. Production expansion plans could not have anticipated world events. It’s believed that Chapman may have short-listed other sites including Kent. It’s likely that Motor sport Valley would also be included. [See below] However the final decision may have been a compromise. There were many competing considerations and not least the land valve / proximity /isolation matrix. Its possible the Regional aid / EEC funds applicable at the time might have also contributed to the decision. Such funding was not just economic argument but potentially included political decisions. [It would be good research to discover the Lotus papers, Planning application and Council /Regional Planning bodies recommendations in period. also the financial assistance if any?]

Hethel associated with further World Drivers and Manufactures championships:
1968 Double World Championship
1969 Constructors Championship
1970 Double World Champions
1972 “ “ “
1978 “ “ “

The Future.
The A&R focus is primarily the Colin Chapman era however we retain an interest in the evolution of the mark and study its progress. World economic conditions will have a big impact in coming years possibly more so in the west due to likely decreases in income, and aging population and greater welfare costs. Luxury goods are likely to be consumed less in the West reflecting disposable incomes etc. The Asian countries we have noted are in the reverse cycle of growth. It’s hoped that Protons ownership of Lotus will enable them to survive. EEC policy and that of the British government may also have a significant role [ see arguments about Regional Aid above]
It’s interesting to note that East Anglia promotes its brand advantage as:

  • Strong Transport links and arteries to London etc
  • Air and Sea nodes including seven major seaports
  • Possessing a knowledge economy home to top universities
  • High research spending
  • Technology sector
  • Creative and culture centers
  • Possessing environmental values

The A&R wishes Lotus well in 2012 and with their reentry into FI it its hoped the marque will enjoy competition success again to stimulate production car sales.

Motor Sport Valley
The term valley may be more accurately described as a corridor. The A40 is the backbone. The area geographically comprises a section Middle England. Oxford, Bicester, Banbury, Milton Keynes, Silverstone are the core with a few others centers towards the outer periphery. [Reading / Northampton] Both historically and to the present many of the foremost FI teams are based there. Of course concentrations provide magnetism, competition and rich seam of engineering excellence.
Although Colin Chapman may have naturally considered this location it may not have fitted his business plan or offered the production space he required. The area is relatively prosperous and there may not have been the same inducements here. There is a smaller concentration of motor sport interests in Norfolk based around Snetterton.
Additional and Related Sites.

  • Crystal Palace. South London. Historic Racing circuit associated with many Lotus successes. . The A&R will have a stand at the Revival Sprint on 26 &27 /05/ 2012. [Parking at public transport available]
  • Goodwood
  • Snetterton
  • Caterham Cars. [See A&R article and photographs] 1960 site Seven House, Town End, Caterham Hill, Surrey, CR3 5UG. Current: Station Approach ,Caterham ,CR3 6LB

The A&R Period Recreation of Journey between Hornsey and Goodwood
The editors have produced an evocative descriptive narrative of the imagined journey between Hornsey and Goodwood in the early 1950’s. We will publish this if there is sufficient interest. It’s intended to capture the period feel and accentuates both the Lotus driving experience and the totality of the environmental envelope [Townscape and Landscape]. This may be of interest and assistance to those wishing themselves to complete an “in- period journey” * and for those unable to visit Britain, but none the less aspiring to understand the historical context of the era.

Economic Considerations of the Proposed CCM&EC.
The proposed museum also has to conform to economics. These primarily relate to the viability of visitor numbers. The harsh reality is that tourists in particular prefer to be in central areas like London. The obvious reason is the cost effectiveness relating to the rich, diverse concentrations of culture, entertainment and retail. Similar criteria apply to office space and residential housing. These create premiums.
Museums struggle to be cost effective and to service overheads. Conversely moves outside London or away from easy public transport with lower overheads are likely to see significant drops in attendance and once again the concept is unviable.
The original factory building at Tottenham Lane has many advantages and offers something of a compromise but redevelopment opportunities and lack of appreciation of its historical significance make it vulnerable.
The A&R is pursuing a policy of the virtual museum whilst assembling archive. The proposed business plan is extremely commercially orientated. It sees no contradictions with profitability and cultural/ educational objectives. The other alternatives are a form of traveling exhibition or a link with another institution [for example an existing museum, visitor attraction or perhaps a university]. The editors would be happy to hear from any of our subscribers that may have thoughts how to overcome the economic limitations mentioned. We would add that we see the opportunity for lease back. This would allow an investor to retain the long-term capital increase of the site whilst receiving some contribution.

Economics is a reality of life. Its also subjective and capable of political manipulation, gerrymandering through government policies acted through planning restrictions and financial incentives.
Many economists and industrialists have grave concerns about such cynical practice. They consider it is anti- competition and vaguely disguised subsidy upholding inefficient industries. Their evidence is that artificially supported industries rarely survive, divert investment from free market and are intrinsically corrupt igniting inflation, cost overruns and generally burning holes in pockets. The contra argument is slightly Keynesian in the believe that investment galvanizes expansion and offsets unemployment costs. A bigger picture is that differing nations are willing to more heavily subsidize and under certain conditions/ circumstances industries can be punished despite their more efficient performance.
Such policies have some of the greatest potential in Regional aid. The EEC with its budgets has become one of the biggest players. With population migration drift from the old industrial areas to the south across Europe there is great temptation to try and counter this with regional aid programmes.
However such policies may be subject to international manipulation as multinationals attempt to reinvent them selves and or relocate some production capacity in order to qualify for aid/ and or access. There is some evidence that this can be ultra short term share cropping and destructive. Firms benefit from aid, briefly set up and then vacate when no longer eligible migrating with capital plant but often leaving factories and labour behind.
The subject then takes on both an economic and moral dimension. Such policies have had major impacts on the international motor industry.
This is a subject we cannot overlook and is one to which we will return. There are many attributes to entrepreneurial success and failure. There are concepts of level playing fields, justice and economic ethics.
In future articles in order to give objective and dispassionate analysis to aspects of Colin Chapman we will explore these issues in greater detail. We will also continue to disseminate the progress of the proposed museum and the economic realties it faces.

Appendix: Production sites and Associated Models. [See attached simplified version on spreadsheet.]

John Bale “The Location of Manufacturing Industry” Oliver &Boyd 1976
ISBN 0 05 002901 0 [older text book but providing insightful analysis of Britain in late 1960’s -1970 just prior to 1st Fuel Crisis.
See also Internet sites for Location of Industry Theory [several academic papers available]
Robin Read “Colin Chapman’s Lotus” Foulis/Haynes. ISBN 8 85429 703 0
Peter Ross “Lotus The Early Years”
Autosport Directory 2012
Karl Ludvigsen “British Racing Green”
The Lotus Book by William Taylor
*Our subscribers might wish to consider classic car hire or possible the use of a Caterham Seven.
A&R .The Planning application for the Proposed Museum at the Tottenham Lane site.
Websites: www.britsonpole & Industry
Managing a Legend by Robert Edwards. Foulis /Haynes 1997 ISBN 0854299882 [shortly to be reviewed by A&R]

Lotus Models and Production Location :Simplified.
Type No. Name Location













Seven Tott’Lane,H


Sports-Race Tott’Lane,H


Sports-Race Tott’Lane,H


Sports-Race Tott’Lane,H


Eleven Tott’Lane,H


F2 Tott’Lane,H




Elite Tott’Lane,H


Sports-Race Tott’Lane,H


F1 Tott’Lane,H


Sports-Race Tott’Lane,H


Formula J Cheshunt


Sports-Race Cheshunt


Formula J Cheshunt


F1 Cheshunt


Formula J Cheshunt


Sports-Race Cheshunt


F1 Cheshunt


F1 Cheshunt


Elan,Si Cheshunt


Formula J Cheshunt


Lotus Cortina Cheshunt


Indianapolis Cheshunt


Group7 Cheshunt


F3 Cheshunt


F2 Cheshunt


F1 Cheshunt


Indianapolis Cheshunt


F2 Cheshunt


Elan S3,4 Cheshunt


Club racer Cheshunt


Indianapolis Cheshunt


Tasman Cheshunt


Group7 Cheshunt


F3 Hethel


Indianapolis Hethel


F1 Hethel


F2 Hethel


Elan S3,4 Hethel


Europa Hethel


Group 4 Hethel


F2 Hethel


F1 Hethel


Elan+2 Hethel


Formula Ford Hethel






Europa Hethel


F3 Hethel


Indianapolis Hethel


F1 Hethel


F2 Hethel


F2 Hethel


Seven S4 Hethel


Formula Ford Hethel


Group 6 Hethel


F1 Hethel


Indianapolis Hethel


Europa Hethel






FA Hethel


F3 Hethel


FA Hethel




F1 Hethel


F3 Hethel


F2 Hethel


Elite Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


Sunbeam L Hethel


Esprit Turbo Hethel


Esprit Turbo Hethel


Eclat Hethel


Esprit S3 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


Eclat/Excel Hethel




F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


Indianapolis Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel


FI&Elan Hethel


F1 Hethel


F1 Hethel




Lotus Carlton Hethel


Esprit SCCA Hethel


Esprit X180R Hethel


F1 Hethel


Pursuit Bike Hethel


F1 Hethel


Road Bike Hethel


Elise Hethel






Esprit Sports GT Hethel


GT I Hethel


Vauxhall VX Hethel


Elise Mk II Hethel


M250 Hethel


“Soapbox” Hethel


Elise V6 Hethel


Europa S Hethel


Evora Hethel


2 Eleven Hethel


Evora Race Hethel


Exos Hethel

1203_clip_image002_0002 1203_clip_image002_0003 1203_clip_image004_0000 1203_clip_image008_0000 1203_clip_image004_0001 1203_clip_image002_0004


6. Lotus books one for the library


Date: 10/10/2011
Title: Motor-Cars to-Day
Author: H.E.Milburn
Publisher &Date: Oxford University Press. 1956

On first glance this seems quite a modest book of 300 pages. On examination it is rewarding and contains a very significant forward that seems particularly pertinent to Lotus.
Although not over technical it does provide a good overview of the era as suggested in the title. It is well illustrated with:

  • Diagrams
  • Photographs
  • Exploded drawings

The author liked the chapters on suspension and steering as they helped explain and simplify the principles that Chapman mastered to endow Lotus with its phenomenal road holding and performance.

Milburn also includes a comparison of form and function as the car evolved
1898-1950. This is graphic and a useful reference for designers and those with an interest in coachwork and design aesthetics.

However the author feels that Milburn’s forward is a perceptive insight and has no apology for quoting extensively:

“Wherein lies the fascination with the motor-car? Together with the railway locomotive and more lately the aeroplane, a motorcar probably provides the greatest interest to a boy today. With the passing of the years, the attraction of the locomotive may pall and the aeroplane dismissed without much

further thought; but that of the motorcar remains, and the desire to own and drive one is the main aim of both sexes, young and old alike.

There are probably two reasons for this. With some it is the conquest of distance with others the feeling of personal satisfaction in securing a response from a virile mechanism. For, though built with seemingly inanimate metal, a motorcar pulsates with life when running and, under the guidance of sympathetic touch of a true driver, it will respond with all the vibrant qualities of a living creature.

Motorcars have an individuality .Two cars identical in design and appearance, may perform entirely differently. The one may be pleasant to drive while the other may be the very reverse. The reason why has never been explained, but one thing is certain. They respond the most kindly the treatment.

A good definition of a motorcar is that it is “Personal Transport”………
Smaller though the appeal may be. The motorcar makes a strong call for its sporting application .In the realms of sheer speed, British cars have through the years put up a very good showing and motor race meetings have consistently large crowds…………….
Apart from racing other forms of sport include hill climbs and rough country trials, the former drawing large following to watch the exploits of a number of “Specials” and their drivers.” Specials” consist in the main of a lot of engine and the minimum of other requisites!
The Internal Combustion Engine has done more to change the way of life of almost the whole world than any other single invention. It alone, made possible the motorcar, the development of which represents one of the most romantic and exciting achievements of modern times.”

The chapters included are:

  • Historical and introduction
  • The Engine
  • Petrol system and carburettor
  • Diesel Engines
  • Electricity in service of the Motor Car
  • Transmission
  • Final Drive
  • Suspension
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Frames and Bodies
  • How Fast How Far.

7. Lotus collectables

Lotus Key Fob, 1950s Hornsey Works


Thank you John Douglas for pointing this out.

8. Lotus interest on “Youtube”

One item on Youtube maybe of interest our readers
A lot of great footage.

27 Lotus @ Cars & Coffee Great Falls, Virginia


Thank you for your continued interest and support

Editors of the newsletter
John Scott-Davies
Neil Duncan
Jamie Duncan (webmaster)