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Discussion Starter #1
I was on holiday for the past two weeks and included a visit to Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norwich, UK. It was a fantastic experience, the Lotus folk were very kind and accommodating, and it was a very positive memorable experience.

I got to see a handful of very famous Formula 1 cars while I was at Classic Team Lotus; namely Jim Clark's Type 25 % Ayrton Senna's Type 98T. The mechanics were working on a Type 102, showing its owner how to properly start and warm-up the big Lamborghini V12 engine. It was amazing sounding, and I got it on my iPhone and uploaded it to YouTube.

Enjoy!



All the original drawings for all the race cars :eek:

IMG_0520.jpg by Ryephile, on Flickr

Type 102 with Lamborghini V12

IMG_0525.jpg by Ryephile, on Flickr

Ronnie Peterson's Type 72 [?]

IMG_0518.jpg by Ryephile, on Flickr

The cockpit of Senna's Type 98T, this car was being restored and you could see the carbon tub. Note the Boost knob on the right, and the right gauge reads boost in Bar, going up to 5! :bow:

IMG_0535.jpg by Ryephile, on Flickr

Clark's Type 25, which was flawlessly clean and had just come back from winning a historic GP race:

IMG_0531.jpg by Ryephile, on Flickr

An incredible visit!
 

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Doing the factory tour July 4th. Heritage won't be available as I expect most of those cars will be at Goodwood just a few days before.
 

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Wow, thank you for sharing this incredible post!the green number 25 car was the first Matchbox car my father bought me... Fantastic to see Lotus HQ
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Factory Tour was also great to see. The "new" factory building isn't big [by production car standards] but is reasonably clean and well organized. Richard, the tour guide, was a barrel of laughs and also very informative. He said they're building about 250 cars a month right now, which is one shift of workers. He also said that the USA is still the biggest market for Lotus, which surprised me given only the Evora is for sale at the moment.

Right now the line is building all three models; the Elise, Exige S [the new one the USA doesn't get], and the Evora. They're all built on the same line, which is setup to be very modular. The only divergence between models on the assembly line is when the Elise/Exige S split off onto a tangent spur to have their body panels and glazing added, whereas the Evora stays on the same line. Photography was strictly disallowed, understandably. The production schedule is setup in small batches of like paint color to be more efficient in the paint booth, which makes sense. The new Exige S looks fantastic and very much "the business" in the flesh. The chassis is basically the same as the old Exige S, the big differences being the stretched rear subframe, 5-bolt hubs w/big-brakes, TVS-blown V-6, and big bulging bodywork. I did express my disappointment that the Exige S wasn't offered in the 'states and suggested they look into making it happen. Personally I think it would be a good shot in the arm for the brand here until the Esprit arrives. Speaking of the Esprit, Richard also said the development of that car is in full swing, and they're still aiming for a 2014 release.

Out on the test track and cruising about the facility was a prototype Evora GTE, boy does that thing look significantly more aggressive than the standard Evora!

In all, a fantastic experience. Massively recommended.
 

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The Ronnie Petersen car is a Type 76, one of the worst Lotus F1 cars ever made! They went back to the Type 72, this one was that bad, it was worse than a car that was designed 6 plus years earlier! I'd still drive it , though. ;)

I have to do this tour! :drool:
 

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shay2nak
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i'm guessing this tour is only put on a few times a year? THinking I take a Euro vacation and stop here for a few days.
 

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Nope. They do tours every Wednesday. You just need to call ahead and make an appointment.




Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app

Can be made on line as well.
 

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He said they're building about 250 cars a month right now, which is one shift of workers. He also said that the USA is still the biggest market for Lotus, which surprised me given only the Evora is for sale at the moment.

Great pics and narrative. Thanks.

If they're making 250 cars per month (I'm wondering if this is an annualized estimate, since they were making 0 cars per month for 3 months, and this is what the production will be when they've fully ramped back up?), where are they selling them? If the US market is the biggest market, and they're only selling the Evora here, it does seem a trifle optimistic?
 

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Illegal Alien
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He said they're building about 250 cars a month right now, which is one shift of workers. He also said that the USA is still the biggest market for Lotus, which surprised me given only the Evora is for sale at the moment.

Great pics and narrative. Thanks.

If they're making 250 cars per month (I'm wondering if this is an annualized estimate, since they were making 0 cars per month for 3 months, and this is what the production will be when they've fully ramped back up?), where are they selling them? If the US market is the biggest market, and they're only selling the Evora here, it does seem a trifle optimistic?
I call that 250/mo now, not 3000 year.
 

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Thanks for posting the video of the 102 with the V 12 Lambo engine Ryephile. If I could select that a ring tone for my mobile that would be it!

I went to visit both Classic Team Lotus and Group Lotus PLC and it was an amazing experience. PLC was so well organized and clean! If I dropped a doughnut on the floor I wouldn't hesitate to eat it... the place is so clean.

To add... I remember each car being in some sort of a 'rack' for the body panels. They had a work order desiginating country of origin, left/right hand drive, etc. I was not allowed to take pictures either which was a bummer but I understand. Clive was very cool at Classic Team Lotus, take all the pictures you want but he doesn't have any competition.
Also we peeked into those drawers, now that I think about it... I'm sure the 'originals' are locked up safe as these are mock-ups with specs off set... to prevent duplication.

I remember a line from Barbara Bach playing a Russian Agent "In The Spy Who Loved Me" when JB was explaining the Lotus Esprits defense mechanisms she replyed " I stole the plans for that car two years ago". -poke-

Richard Parramint... he is a real hoot! He made the experience a trip of my life which I'll remember until Alzheimer's disease kicks in. He spent the time to get and know everyone in our group which I thought was very nice of him.
 

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PLC was so well organized and clean! If I dropped a doughnut on the floor I wouldn't hesitate to eat it... the place is so clean. /QUOTE]

My wife's words to a T.
 
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