Colin Chapman’s widow has personally approved the 100,000th Lotus, honed to pay respect to Jim Clark – and it could be yours!
Hazel Chapman, the widow of company founder Colin Chapman, will be joining Lotus’s 70th anniversary celebrations next month. Not only that, but Mrs Chapman has personally approved the 100,000th Lotus car – and it really is rather special.
Hand built on the same site that Hazel Chapman helped establish, the 100,000th Lotus is more than just a number. The Jim Clark Trust special-edition Evora GT410 Sport marks the Norfolk marque’s 70th milestone.
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Reviewing the car for the first time with her son Clive Chapman, Hazel said: ‘70 years ago, I never dreamt that there would be a 100,000th Lotus. I’m immensely proud of the company and Colin’s legacy.
‘Today Lotus still builds such fantastic sports cars, and I’m touched to be able to see the 100,000th.’
The Evora continues a lineage of lightweight car design that can trace its roots back to the very first Lotus. Although much has changed since Colin Chapman first made a name for himself in 1948 with a tuned Austin 7, the ethos that drives the company remains the same; to optimise mass and aerodynamics for maximised performance and handling.
Hazel Chapman – Lotus’ unsung driving force
After trying out his skill with Austin 7s, Colin formed Lotus Engineering in 1952. From there the company continued to innovate in both road and race cars, changing the very nature of car design in the process.
Hazel was the first investor in Lotus. Loaning her then-boyfriend Colin the £50 he required to establish Lotus Engineering, her connections stretch far further than just money. Lotus’s first lock-up was borrowed from Hazel’s parents, with the future Mrs Chapman a continued driving force behind Colin’s decisions.
She was also Colin’s driving partner for several endurance events when Chapman hit the show scene to showcase his first Austin 7-based Mk1.
From that small garage on the outskirts of London, the duo grew the business into a global phenomenon. Diana Rigg defined the 1960s with her Elan from The Avengers, while 007 adventure The Spy Who Loved Me demonstrated the Lotus brand to a new breed of audience. Then there was Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct…
Hazel was even instrumental in establishing the company’s current site on an ex-airbase in Hethel, working on the layout and design of the new Lotus headquarters and manufacturing facility.
It feels apt, then, that Mrs Chapman should be at the pinnacle of the celebrations, alongside another name – this one of a legendary racer.
The 100,000th Lotus, celebrating Jim Clark
A fitting tribute to one of the most successful racing drivers of all time, the 100,000th Lotus – an Evora GT410 Sport – is a one-off produced in collaboration with the Jim Clark Trust. However, the car is not for sale.
In the same manner as Ford and its fund-raising JDRF Mustang Bullitt, the Trust has launched a competition to win the landmark Lotus while raising money to help complete its new museum.
Commissioned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Clark’s tragic death while competing at Hockenheim in 1968, the 100,000th Lotus was unveiled at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Echoing the original Lotus Elan’s colour scheme, with red paintwork, a silver roof and silver wheels, plus tartan upholstery, it commemorates the legacy of the one of motorsport’s most enduring figures.
Find out more about how to win the Jim Clark Trust special-edition Evora GT410 Sport here.