A massive track parade featuring cars from every era of Lotus’ glittering history provided a fitting climax to the British marque’s 70th birthday party on Saturday (29 September).
An estimated 8000 fans converged at the company’s headquarters in Hethel for the celebration of Lotus’ past, present and future; the test track was reserved for dynamic demonstrations from both owners and employees, with the car park set aside for various owners’ clubs and enthusiasts.
The end of the day saw the entire 2.2-mile circuit opened up for the parade, with Lotus cars of every breed stretching as far as the eye could see.
Predictable though it may sound, there really was something for every kind of Lotus fan at the Potash Lane HQ.
The on-track action included everything from the Lotus 110 Bike Club to a Classic Team Lotus F1 display, to a very sideways run out for a group of Lotus Sunbeam rally cars.
Other highlights were the Lotus Cortina register, the Lotus Driving Academy and the Lotus Dynamics Display, as the circuit was kept busy throughout the day.
Elsewhere, the car parks were crammed with nearly every Lotus road car imaginable; there’ll be more to follow in the December issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine (out 1 November), but for now just trust us: almost the marque’s entire history was covered.
From a 6 to every possible variant of Elise, plus everything in-between – Europas, Eclats, Excels, Elites, Esprits, Elans – the Lotus 70th celebration was a veritable treasure trove for brand advocates.
C&SC’s own favourites included a stunning orange Esprit GT3, all manner of Elan Sprints looking remarkably fresh for near-50-year-old cars and, amazingly, a one-off Lotus Carlton build that began life as a regular Diamond estate.
Perhaps most impressively though, from conversations with owners and listening to a variety of management speeches, was the real sense of positivity and optimism around Lotus.
Of course you wouldn’t expect any less from such a significant occasion, but with the organisation and money of Geely now involved, plus the incredible loyalty and dedication of the fans, the future is finally beginning to look a little brighter for this grand old marque.
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