Unleash Your Inner Driver with Lotus: History of Lotus Car
1928-1947 The beginnings
Talking about the British brand of Lotus, based in Hethel (United Kingdom), it is mandatory to start by remembering its creator, Colin Chapman.
Chapman was born in London in May 1928 and studied engineering at the University of the English capital. Earlier, he used to go by motorcycle to his study centre, but due to a breakdown, he went on to do so in a Morris Eight, a vehicle with which he was in love.
Chapman began to count how long it took to travel between his house and the University to add some adrenaline as time went by. to your displacements. Due to his irrepressible passion for cars, Chapman started a car buying and selling business, a business that by 1946 was already managing to sell at least one or two cars a week.
His studies took a back seat since Chapman could not cope with so many car deliveries, much less when he took the next step in his company: the modification. However, a year later, British Government measures forced Chapman to shut down, leaving only one car in his possession, a 1930 Austin Seven.
That model was the basis for the first Lotus car, the Mark I. To make it a reality, Chapman left only the chassis and running gear untouched, as both the suspension, the bodywork, and the engine were modified entirely by Chapman himself.
The Lotus Mark I was quite a race car, which led Chapman to enter, and later win, in two races to compete with the car he had created. It only motivated him to continue improving it, although he continued to study and could not dedicate as much time as he would like to. Until 1947, when he achieved the title of engineer.
It was then that Chapman realized all the defects that the Mark I had and considered the creation of the Lotus Mark II; however, when he was starting his project, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force. There, in the air military service, he learned to fly, which fascinated him and would later serve to transfer certain aspects to the automotive world.
In parallel, Chapman, who made a list of things to finish before graduating from the Royal Air Force, was still working on the Mark II; until he finished it in 1948. Next, he swapped his Ford 8 engine for a nearly 1.2-liter Ford 10.
By the end of 1949, Chapman had almost finished the Mark II. Later, the Mark II sold, a fact that did not stop him from winning.
It further motivated Chapman, who went to work creating the Mark III, a car that was completed in January 1951. This vehicle was built for competition in the 750-cubic-centimetre category. From its good racing performances (the Mark III was always the fastest in its class), with Colin Chapman at the wheel, it became known and had the characteristics of the Lotus that followed.
Thanks to his reign, many of the best drivers on the international scene were drawn in by his thirst for victory, which further raised the recognition of Mark III.
All those cars that competed against the Mark III became practically submissive, and the prestige of this one was already through the roof. From this moment on, the new models followed one another: copies of that winning car began to be demanded, and at the end of 1951, there were already several Mark IIIs, and almost, in turn, the Mark IV was unveiled.
1952-1981 The legend grows
On January 1, 1952, the Lotus Engineering Company was founded. Meanwhile, the Mark IV continued on the winning path of its predecessors, winning the races of its class in 1952. However, later that year, Chapman slightly put aside the development of the Mark V to dedicate himself to the design and construction of components to manufacture vehicles, given the great demand for this business.
Then came the Mark VI, which already had a self-developed chassis built by Chapman due to the high costs involved in manufacturing its cars on the Austin chassis since they had to be adequately reinforced.
The new chassis, designed by Chapman using his engineering expertise, was too stiff yet weighed only 25 kg. After adding all the necessary panels and brackets to the assembly line, the Mark VI weighed just under 41kg. Customers flocked to buy one.
A year later, in 1953, the Mark VIII already existed. In addition to continuing to accumulate victories in the competition, the production capacity of Lotus was insufficient to meet the demand.
The following years were full of successes at Le Mans aboard the Mark IX, Lotus 11, Lotus 14, and Lotus Elite. Soon the Le Mans races were too small for him, and Lotus jumped to fight against brands of the level of Ferrari, Porsche, or Mercedes-Benz in competitions such as Formula 1 or Indianapolis, the latter territory where it triumphed in 1965. In addition, the decades of the ’60s and 70s were golden for Lotus in Formula 1, where it became the most popular and winning team (the Lotus 78 won six Grand Prix).
Finally, in 1981 the Lotus were banned due to their so-called ground-effect spoilers. The following year Colin Chapman died of a heart attack. Today, Lotus models are sporty with lightweight and can transmit many sensations to their drivers or pilots.