During Showtime in London a picture appeared in a respected weekly contemporary journal showing a Lotus Elite coupé parked at the roadside approximately 100 miles north of Rome on the Mediterranean coast road for the porpoises of a picnic lunch. However, further reading prompted the thought that this might have been an enforced picnic, because elsewhere in the same journal the Technical Editor wrote: “Whilst on the Continent recently, I was forced to hire a car because of the breakdown of a prototype test car…” And the following week, in another contemporary weekly, we read of an Alta-converted 918.c.c. Morris Minor which, “just a week after a race-bred grand touring car had failed in an attempt to travel from London to Rome and back in 48 hours,” did this journey in 48 hr. 32 min. in spite of an hour’s delay on Silver City. For the record, the drivers were J. Campbell-Jones and S. Campbell-Jones of the Cornwall Garage, and the Morris was prepared by R. Lane.
As to the car which failed, it appears that H. Mundy and Keith Hall experienced pounding of the rear suspension struts of the Lotus Elite (6 SME) where they find anchorage within the body of this little coupé, which. you will remember, is an experimental car built almost entirely of plastics, which made its debut at Earls Court in 1957. Eventually the struts. it seems, broke up and then the engine lost all its sparks. In a car costing nearly £2,000 this Isn’t Good Enough! No doubt Colin Chapman is working furiously to find a solution and we take this opportunity of stating for the benefit of the many readers of Motor Sport who write and telephone to ask why we have not published one of our honest road-test reports on a car we proclaimed with much enthusiasm on its debut over a year ago, that we shall do so when Lotus Engineering deride that the Elite is sufficiently road-worthy to withstand a proper long-distance test. We are not interested in taking one “round the houses” but we shouldn’t object to a picnic near Rome.