September 27, 2018

The hunt is on for the long-lost Lotus

Have you seen the Lotus Mark I? Have another check under those dustsheets in your garage because if you do have it hidden away somewhere, Lotus wants to talk to you.

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, the British marque is trying to track down the very first Lotus ever made by launching an ambitious world-wide hunt for the classic vehicle.

Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, built the car back in 1948, but the iconic motor hasn’t been seen for over 60 years — and now Lotus wants to find it.

Hand built

Chapman hand-built the Mark I in a small London garage owned by his then girlfriend’s parents, using donor parts from an Austin Seven and his own engineering nous.

With his girlfriend Hazel, as co-pilot, he entered the vehicle in a number of events during 1948, winning class awards in his first two trial competitions.

His early successes in these races soon propelled him towards developing the Mark II, leading to the original Mark I being sold in November 1950.

Despite several attempts at tracking the car down over the past 60 years, the Mark I has never been seen since, but Lotus bosses are now hoping that the global power of social media can help the search.

Holy grail

Clive Chapman, Colin’s son and director of Classic Team Lotus, called on every dealer and classic enthusiast across the world to help him with his search.

He said: “The Mark I is the holy grail of Lotus’ history. It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car.

“To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement. We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to.

“It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.”

So, if you’ve got a lock-up full of classics, take a look and see if you can help Lotus track down this long-lost piece of British motoring heritage.