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Lotus’s 100,000th car presented to founder’s widow

PUBLISHED: 12:22 25 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 25 August 2018

Hazel Chapman presented with Lotus's 100,000th car for the company's 70th anniversary. Photo: Lotus

Hazel Chapman presented with Lotus's 100,000th car for the company's 70th anniversary. Photo: Lotus

Lotus

The woman behind one of the world’s most iconic car manufacturers has approved their 100,000th vehicle.

Hazel Chapman and son Clive inspect the Jim Clark Trust special edition Evora GT410 Sport. Picture: LotusHazel Chapman and son Clive inspect the Jim Clark Trust special edition Evora GT410 Sport. Picture: Lotus

Hazel Chapman, widow of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, has been presented with a special edition car to celebrate 70 years since the first Lotus vehicle was built.

The Lotus Evora GT410 Sport was commissioned in memory of the late Jim Clark, a former world motor racing champion who was tragically killed in an accident whilst racing for Lotus in 1968.

Reviewing the car with her son Clive Chapman, 91-year-old Mrs Chapman said: “Seventy 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 car.”

When Mrs Chapman met the ambitious young engineer at a dance in 1944, neither could have predicted that, years on, the company that he was grafting to build would have grown into a giant of British motoring.

Eight years later Mrs Chapman loaned her then boyfriend the £50 needed to kick-start his company, Lotus engineering.

The company’s first ever car, the Mark I, was built in a lock-up borrowed from Mrs Chapman’s parents on the outskirts of London.

Hazel Chapman with the special edition Lotus Evora GT410 Sport, comissioned in memory of the late Jim Clarke. Photo: LotusHazel Chapman with the special edition Lotus Evora GT410 Sport, comissioned in memory of the late Jim Clarke. Photo: Lotus

As the business began to attract national fame for its stylish designs and innovative engineering, Mrs Chapman continued to be instrumental to its growth.

In 1966 Mr Chapman bought Lotus’ now famous Hethel site, a move which was made possible by his wife’s design work on the ambitious new layout.

A former air base, the company transformed the space to house a custom built factory and old runways were developed into a 2.5-mile test track to be used for testing the up-coming production cars and famous formula one cars.

The Chapmans continued to grow the Lotus group, turning the initial £50 investment into a multi-million pound Goliath of British engineering and motor racing.

In 1984 Mr Chapman died of a heart attack aged just 54, leaving widow Mrs Chapman, their three children and a legacy which continues today.

To launch their 100,000th car, Lotus are running a competition to win the new Lotus Evora GT410 Sport, in support of the Jim Clark Trust.

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