RIP Peter Kirwan-Taylor 1930-2014

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Lotus stalwart and confidant of Colin Chapman, Peter Kirwan-Taylor, has died.

With his stepfather the chairman of Westland and Lagonda, Kirwan-Taylor was exposed to the world of automobiles from a tender age, with luminaries such as WO Bentley and 'Teddy' Petter, designer of the Lysander, Canberra and English Electric Lightning, regularly visiting the house. He would share his drawings with Petter during his visits, igniting a passion for design that would last a lifetime.

His desire to design his own car body, which stemmed from when he was 10-years-old, led him to Colin Chapman in the '50s. He used the spaceframe Lotus Mk6 as a basis for his first project, which doubled as a competition and road car.

In addition to the Lotus Mk6, he also styled a GT body for a Swallow Doretti which he snapped up when the company went bust, having an aluminium rear end built by Peels of Kingston. He then penned a streamlined body for a Frazer Nash V8 Le Mans project, but it failed to race at La Sarthe due to the inexperience of the car's owner, Cambridge pal Peter Lumsden.

His early efforts stood him in good stead and after qualifying as an accountant his friend Chapman invited him to Lotus, where he became most famous for creating the look of the Elite.

As well as his flair for design, it was in his capacity as an accountant that he made his most lasting impression on the firm, turning around Lotus' profits and leading its floatation on the Stock Exchange in 1968.

In later years the ex-Lotus director would become a merchant banker, running a practice based in Hong Kong.

 

Comments

Nev Bradshaw

I paid £50 for Peter Kirwan-Taylor's Lotus 6 which I found as a wreck at the back of a lock-up garage in 1974.  The original body was removed in 1969 and sold to a garage in London. 

I had it rebuilt as a standard Lotus 6 in 2004 (body made in 1984 by Len Pritchard) with it's original registration number PGP 182 as despite searching, I could not find the original body. I sold it in 2008 as a ford-powered road car and it later found it's way to Chris Rea who had it race prepared with a Coventry Climax engine.

Thomas Jakobsson a car dealer from Sweden bought the by then 'unknown' body in 1982 and transported it home in his van to be stored in his parent's garage in Sweden.
C&SC published a picture of the body in 2011 asking for information about the car's origin. It was recognised by me and many others for what it was.

The body was bought by Sil Steffens of Holland, who was then able to negotiate a purchase of the car from it's latest owner.

 It is currently being reunited with it's original body in a workshop in Cornwall England.
More history @ http://northlakesclassics.webeden.co.uk/#/from-the-ashes-part-2/4559052003

Nev Bradshaw

North Lakes Classics: Classic Car Hire in the Lake District and Borders of Scotland

Call: 0797

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