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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If you guys have not seen my thread about my fun visit in Belgium, take some time to look and comment. Great Lotus dealer owned by Thierry!:up: Well worth the time.
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/must-see-lotus-dream-vacation-pics-70318/

On to Hethel!:D Thought I would make a good day of the trip by also visiting University of Cambridge which is about halfway between London and Norfolk (Norwich, Hethel...same place as far as I can tell). Cambridge celebrating 800 years of education?:eek: Holy cow!
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Discussion Starter #2
Beautiful drive into the British countryside

The first sign we might be close
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A cool cottage along the way
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You sure there is a car factory out here?-poke-
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Just past the cows on the right side of the road, take a left.:D
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The extended driveway toward the factory
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Good place to go get a bite...Bird in Hand Pub

Back out toward the cows and take a left...
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Signs of something more!

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Now, unfortunately these are the ONLY pics you will see of the factory itself.:( Seems that some "bloke" took the liberty of publishing something that should not have been seen and for that we all must suffer.:thwack:

The building in the second pic are offices and immediately behind that is the Lotus Sport building and the 2.2 mile Hethel test track. Looking out toward the track I could see a couple 2-Eleven's and a couple Evora's as well. The assembly facility is directly left of that building. What I saw was nothing short of heaven. A couple new 2-Eleven's as you walk in. Walking through there are MANY Teslas in production. I saw 3 Evora's being wrapped up as part of the 20+ "press cars" to be made.

A number of the Cup 265 cars. A beautiful Europa. Asking away about many things...the subframe (seen neatly stacked), the paint booth, degreasing of the clams (sounds like a movie). The kids are able to hold parts in their hands that look heavy (Elise door hinge with door re-enforcement) and the parts are amazingly lightweight. If only I could have taken pics...

BUT!!!!!!!:cool:
 

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After the factory tour, Richard, our tour guide (Richard Parramint [[email protected]] takes me over and introduces me to the head of Lotus Sport. Any questions I have concerning race set up, technology, etc...I can call or e-mail him direct.;) Richard talks to Caroline, Editor of the Lotus Club International Magazine...she would like to talk to me about doing something for the magazine (details to come) :D.

Richard has something extraordinary planned for us. He says that Clive Chapman (Colin Chapman's son) is over at Team Lotus. He offers to take us over to introduce us and take a look around.:eek:
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We park right behind the new Lotus transporter and enter the building through a simple green door.



On the other side of that door is where the fun of our visit to Hethel really begins. Richard walks through and introduces us to the first person we meet...Clive Chapman.
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Discussion Starter #7
What's that car behind Clive and the kids?

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That is the Type 79...Circa 1978
1st - World Driver's Championship - Mario Andretti
1st - World Manufacturer's Championship (seventh title for Lotus)

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This was THAT car!
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*Unfortunately, Ronnie Peterson...Mario's teammate... died at Monza earlier in that season after going 1st and 2nd the previous race.
 

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Into the next room sits perhaps the most important Lotus of all

The Type 25...Circa 1963
Driver: Jim Clark
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1st - World Driver's Championship - Jim Clark
1st - World Manufacturer's Championship (first title)
Jim Clark & Team Lotus came 2nd in the Indianapolis 500 at their first attempt in the race
 

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Discussion Starter #10

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To the right of the Type 25 is a Lotus Eleven found to be a mess in a barn. With no real racing history behind it, it was decided the car would make a good candidate for restoration.
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To the left was a one off car...Sammy picks up the original Lotus badge from inside the car and says, "cool".;)
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And off to the left...

Circa1972/Driver:Emerson Fittipaldi
1st - World Driver's Championship
1st - World Manufacturer's Championship (fifth title for Lotus)
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Fittipaldi achieved Formula One success at a very young age - he was just 25 when he won his first title in 1972, the youngest ever champion until Fernando Alonso in 2005.
 

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And I thought the pedals were too close in the '05 Elise?

Take a look at this. This is what Emerson had to deal with!:huh:
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More Fittipaldi...
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Heck, even the small scale cars go for quite a bit!
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How cool is it to see a model of an F1 car...while sitting next to the nose cone of one!:crazyeyes
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It looks like you're having the time of your life! Thanks for sharing the pics.
Yet another reason why I love these cars-the way we share our enthusiasm for them!

Tom
 

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Very Cool I am jealous as well but only for a little while longer. My wife and I are planning a trip to the UK in May/June and are planning a visit to the factory. How did you get in contact with the people needed to make it happen? As I understand it the tours only happen on Wednesday and their web site says to check to tee if they are doing the tour on the day that you want to visit. I tried the link on the site and it did not work. I haven't tried calling yet still have almost 2 months till we leave.
 
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