Lotus: Ready to make the super cars of the eighties

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MOTOR SPORT interviews the managing director of Lotus Cars. Michael Kimberley will celebrate ten years with Lotus in August of this year, ten years that have seen him climb from development engineer to responsibility for all aspects of Lotus road car production. As an engineer he has some forthright comments to make about the future of Britain’s manufacturing industry, but as a manager his skills have contributed to profits that have seen even the Economist happy to recommend Lotus Cars shares to investors.

Naturally our discussion ranged over new model engineering as well as recent company developments like the establishment of a wholly-owned US sales subsidiary in Costa Mesa, California (address 3530 Cadillac Avenue) A separate cell of engineers under the direction of Tony Rudd look after complete new model development and there was much of interest – as ever! – to talk about, though it should be stressed that any brand new models are 7-8 years away and engine developments like the V8 are not “just around the corner.”

Lotus engineering skills, especially their chassis reputation, have drawn in a lot of outside work in recent years. At Luddum, just along the road from the main factory at Hethel, they are beginning to build the first Chrysler Lotus-Sunbeams with Lotus engine, suspension and braking modifications. A separate building houses the DeLorean development group, grappling with the problems of making a pure rear-engine, V6 grand tourer handle in a manner worthy of a contract that specifies Colin Chapman’s personal services.

As Tony Rudd said after a hectic run in the country with the latest S2 Esprit, “That’s the thing about this place . . . it’s never boring!”

MICHAEL J. KIMBERLEY, C.Eng., M.I.Mech.E., was born 40 years ago last August. He is one of the very rarest breed in British industry, a creative thinker with an acclaimed product to sell and improve wherever possible. An engineer who has knuckled down to the job of globe-trotting (the cliche is deserved) salesman, but one who has paid attention to that notorious weakness of many sales-orientated personnel: after-sales service.

This would be enough to account for Kimberley’s rise to command, but his unique advantage is that he thrives on working for Colin Chapman!

Kimberley frequently refers to “our Chairman,” and you realise that Colin Chapman has found somebody who revels in interpreting the wishes of the founder without becoming servile. As one of the Jaguar engineering apprentices who worked on projects as diverse as the abandoned XJ13 sports-racer and the V12 installation for the E-type Jaguar, Kimberley was and still is very conscious of the role Lotus play in the British motor industry.

At 28 years of age Lotus is still growing up. Given Chapman’s talents and those of the people he has picked it will be very difficult to establish a point at which one could say the company has come of age, for it looks as though the best is still to come. There is extreme company awareness that the fuel supply situation could still make it expedient for them to stay with four cylinder derivatives enlarged capacity, turbocharging and other permutations upon the basic 16-valve theme but the engineers’ brief for the planned Lotus V8 is a tremendously exciting one. It could well be one of the last chances automotive engineers get to create such a multi-cylinder high performance road car engine. Everyone from Chapman down seems determined that a 4-litre jewel is required to take Lotus firmly into Ferrari and Porsche’s multi-cylinder territory. We shall see, the Great Fuel Baron in the sky willing …

Kimberley’s introduction to the motor industry was the gradual assimilation of an upbringing in the Coventry area. He joined Jaguar as an apprentice in 1954 when it was, “a little bit like Lotus in the racing office. I did about five years on that side and finished up working on Special Projects for Bill Haynes. During the sixties I worked more on the production side, my last project before leaving for Lotus being the V12 E-type.

“Lord Stokes banned the competition thinking and development within Jaguar of course but it was the fact that Jaguar were being absorbed within a bigger organisation that I found frustrating. I think Jaguar have a very bright future indeed, if they are allowed autonomy and their pride.

“You know, General Motors in the States are very good at this kind of thing. Each company has a separate identity and competes against others within the group just as hard, if not harder, than against Ford,” Kimberley concluded, echoing many enthusiast opinions of Jaguar’s destiny.

So in August 1969, due for his thirty-first birthday, Mike Kimberley arrived in Norfolk. He has lived at Forncett St Major for some years, but will move his wife and three sons to East Carleton while this issue of Motor Sport is weaving through the production processes.

“The job was to take the existing range of Elan, Elan +2 and Renault-engined Europa and improve them. The first engineering project for me was the Twin Cam engine and five-speed gearbox installation upon the Europa. In fact that was a big job because we lowered the floor, changed the backbone chassis front and rear as we met both the crash testing demands and the changes needed to accommodate the Twin Cam motor.” Kimberley went on to highlight the way in which Lotus have been involved in crash testing for both the US and European markets for many years before the current crop, for he is naturally proud that such a small company as Lotus should have managed to stay in the American market where others, especially from Britain, had to withdraw because they could not face US Federal requirements, either in terms of cost, or technically, or even through lack of enthusiasm. After all we are still talking about the World’s largest car market, and it certainly is not Chapman style to duck out of the largest potential source of profits for technical reasons!

Kimberley moved on in the early seventies to the development of the current Elite/Eclat front-engine machines. So far as the engine was concerned that project dated back to 1967, but received fresh impetus when Tony Rudd left BRM for Lotus and arrived within months of Kimberley’s joining in 1969: that was also the year Lotus stopped making kit Elans, though the Seven was available until 1973.

The four valve, 1,973 c.c. engine emerged from Jensen in 1971 and was rated at 140 b.h.p. on an 8.7:1 c.r. It was another three years before the Elite four-seat model was announced to bring together the 160 b.h.p. version of the Lotus engine, five-speed gearbox and the new body.

Looking back at landmarks in the company history today Kimberley comments, “We got to the state where production was OK and the Chairman said to me: you made them, now sell them.” This refers to Mike’s gradual assimilation of further responsibilities within the Lotus group from December 1975, when he was made Director and Chief Engineer, to October 1976 when he became Managing Director.

Kimberley continued, “The oil crisis hit us in 1975, but we were able to reduce down to a level necessary to survive. I am not giving you flannel when I say that it was thanks to our far-sighted Chairman’s investment during that period, even though he was under financial restraint, that made Lotus Cars today.

“The money put in at that time enabled us to bring out the Eclat and that helped spread the marque’s appeal again (remember they had a very broad range from Seven to Elan +2 and mid-engine Europa before J.W.) which was obviously vitally important at the time.

“Another landmark was the Esprit (October 1975, Paris Show debut), not so much its announcement as the date, January 1 1977. That’s when we got our Federal USA version, an achievement that meant we were properly represented in the USA. Elsewhere the Esprit meant that we could offer a range from four-seater to the 2+2 Eclat and pure two-seater sports.

“From 1973 onward we spent £6 million investing in the future and that meant that by 1976-77 we were stepping up output, and sales. We were restricted on the cash front and there was some borrowing to be done, but output was hitting 20-22 a week and that compared very well with the 13-14 cars produced on average in 1975.

“All our then current borrowing was replaced by the £2 million from American Express with £600,000 overdraft facility. Because of that company’s attitude as an entrepreneurial investor we are now in a situation where we can take advantage of any new opportunities for profit. They, like Colin, believe in investment for the future.

“American Express are exceptionally good for us and I think we are for them. The joint advertising where Colin endorses their card has apparently brought the biggest response the agency has encountered in this type of campaign. It is not all about money, they have tremendous business experience: they produced our car sales floor planning scheme. This is the kind of expertise which it is nice to have on your side!

“Quite honestly you can quote me as saying that my ambition is to see their name appearing on our Grand Prix cars too.”

The morning of my call to Lotus was uncharacteristically sunny for the Spring of 1979. It was not long before Mike Kimberley wanted to jope around the factory and show me what was going on, rather than sitting in the modest wood-panelled chamber that serves as the MD’s office.

Incidentally office decoration is confined to colour framed photographs of the current Lotus range; the Chairman and, tucked modestly away as is their present desire, a very nice colour picture of the DMC car amongst the hills of Western America. There are four telephones tucked away to Kimberley’s right, but he swept away the amusing “decision maker” device under the threat of a camera lens. This comprises a magnetic swinging ball above a black plastic dish that carries around the periphery messages such as “perhaps”, “maybe” and so on. There is a simple “yes” in the middle, and impossible to obtain according to insiders, unless you can cheat while Mike is not looking!

Before we swept off to canter around the factory – well, Mike cantered his wiry 6 ft. plus while your correspondent’s small legs whirred frantically behind – I asked what sort of routine use he made of his office day?

“I make a point of coming in 15 minutes or so before the official start-up time of 8.45 cm. At the other end of the day I will usually leave between 8 and 9 having eaten at midday in the staff canteen. That occupies about half an hour and I try and hold some sort of meeting over lunch. I take my post, or most of it, home and dictate the replies around 10 p.m. for my secretary to reply the next morning.

“Incidentally you will remember that we do not differentiate between workers and staff here, and that everyone eats in the one area.

“However I do have to know how many people are actually doing what within the company,” Kimberley recorded with a grin. “Our manpower at the moment is divided into 336 actually in the manufacturing side. Nine months ago we had 500 staff. Now from Colin to the man who mows the grass we have 626 employees. I am delighted to say that they are all in engineering related areas, for I think this is the most neglected area of British industry today.

“Good design, research and development provides our profit opportunities tomorrow for the rest of the company. The day and age when you could sell anything are gone. Prestige customers like ours know what they like, be it china, furniture or cars.

“I am a member of the Design Council and sit on the SMM & T committee. That gives me the opportunity to impress on the Government, teachers, parents and even children how important both artistic and industrial design/engineering jobs are. It is a hobby horse of mine, but I believe strongly that we do have the brains in Britain … it is the lack of opportunity that I would like to alter,” the Lotus MD said in a final reference to the subject over lunch.

Trying to establish a routine for this kind of executive is a waste of time really, for Kimberley reckons to spend two weeks out of every six abroad. When I interviewed him he had recently returned from a visit that took in Japan (“we sold 100 of the 2,000 British cars imported there last year,” Kimberley said with satisfaction), the Antipodes and America.

Even when he is in Britain routine is a foreign word. There are days that encompass a 40 minute trip to Chrysler, Coventry, in one of the two company twin-engined aircraft. An hour’s meeting in the Midlands and then he’ll be off to London which takes about half an hour by air for another briefing. Even then he will be back at his desk by three in the afternoon.  This compares with some six hours plus driving time if he chose to go by road just to Coventry and back. One can see that a business aircraft really comes into its own for a schedule like this, though for business meetings some audio-TV systems must become routine reality … it would save more fuel than all the speed limits of the World put together!

This magazine has been fortunate in having many opportunities to see over the Lotus factory and keep a close eye on developments. So much so, that it is something of a shock to realise that so many visits encompass the period from November 1966 when Lotus moved into Hethel from Cheshunt.

The pace shows no sign of slackening, though it must be said that they must be under-employed on the engine side, even after the latest ChryslerSunbeam contract. Originally Lotus were to make 5,000 of their engines a year for Jensen.

Now the situation is that they will make about 1,500 motors a year for Chrysler. Last year they made 1,206 of their own cars and present plans call only for a 15% expansion on that figure in the coming year. Incidentally it is very important to the Lotus people that output be divided up into three equal segments the USA, UK and Rest of the World. Despite their substantial efforts for the American market they feel that it would be unwise to repeat their 1977 figure of 56% US sales: “too many British manufacturers have gone out of business by depending on the American market,” Kimberley said succinctly.

For comparison I would add that I was told Ferrari sales are now running around 2,000 units all around the World, Porsche nearly 35,000 (including Over 20,000 924s) while BMW recently announced they had made over 320,000 vehicles in 1978. Degrees of exclusivity perhaps, but occasionally I wonder whether BMW will suffer from overkill.

Kimberley feels that the demand for something rarer is bound to climb because: “In the future we are going to have more and more boxes on wheels, all looking much the same to comply with legislation and common objectives such as good fuel economy. We think people will want to exercise their individualism.

As we strode toward the engine production area, Kimberley talked of the engineering areas and philosophy of design that will take Lotus through the early nineteen eighties. Aerodynamics was the number one subject, especially as Kimberley and other key Lotus personnel have already said that some aspects of the ground effect principle will transfer from track to public roads. “The problems are with public roads, not the vehicle,” Kimberley explained. “We have tried out a skirt system on the road and it’s fine where you have smooth roads like a race track. Now imagine what happens to the skirt requirement for close ground contact in the middle of a bumpy left-right bend with our long-travel suspension movement in action. A big twitch!”

Talking about the same subject later Tony Rudd felt: “All the passengers will just have to get used to sitting in a line behind each other!” Presumably that is to allow the largest side-pods to be mounted, but more realistically Kimberley did add that he felt the next great area for road car development would be “to clean up the underneath. That will help just from an aerodynamic drag factor viewpoint, and that has always been one of our key design parameters. When we developed the Esprit we changed both the spoiler and top shape to get the maximum aerodynamic efficiency. I am very proud of that car’s 0.3 factor, which must be one of, if not the, lowest aerodynamic drag figures in the World. The front-engined cars are 0.34, which is not bad. The point is that we get these figures allied to good stability in crosswinds, which is often tricky to get when you have excellent air penetration,” Kimberley said while hopefully eyeing the engine shop for Chrysler components.

I asked if the company would fit an ugly spoiler to one of their models if it improved efficiency … or would style be more important, this question prompted by the knowledge that a recent owner’s survey had put external appearance as the number one reason people chose to buy Lotus cars.

Kimberley looked a shade discomfited as the engineer battled with the salesman in his mind. “If it detracted from the appeal of the car we would have to think very carefully about that,” he said soberly before smiling the proviso, “but I hope and think we would be clever enough to devise a way around that problem. We had to redesign the front end of the Esprit a little to accommodate a larger radiator for the air condioned Federal version; that meant changing the floor and we took the opportunity of slimming the spoiler down as well as running what I say is an elegant line through from front to back on either side.

“As a matter of interest I think we will probably get down to .026 on the drag factor side, this achieved by new basic shapes and the attention to the underneath we have discussed.”

By now Mike Kimberley had probed the piles of castings and shown me the difference between a Lotus 2-litre engine’s main bearing supporting webs and the Chrysler 2.2. The sump is also totally different, the Chrysler finned alloy casting providing a wet sump reservoir at the front while the Lotus. is disposed in opposite fashion.

I thought cynically that Lotus were very fortunate in obtaining the Chrysler deal because they could not only utilise some of their spare engine capacity, but also have the development costs of any subsequent 2.2-litre version for their own use paid for. “Not true,” said Kimberley decisively. “The two engines will have very little in common. If, and I stress it is if, we do the extra capacity engine, I think it’s likely that only the pistons will carry over. Our car demands very different things of an engine that is to provide good emissions characteristics than their small, light car.”

As we progressed through the engine assembly area it became obvious that a great deal of detail development and research work is going on around the basic four cylinder. There were exhaust manifolds made up ready for turbochargers by Garret AiResearch, rather than the Holset system which is employed on the Chapman boats. The question of sumps also brought a gleam to Michael’s eye and I had the distinct impression that a dry sump system would be part of the 907 engine’s future, and a part of any future V8! Incidentally design work started on an eight cylinder Lotus motor in 1972 “but we first ran a V8 in the form of a Rover-engined Europa. In our experience the car contradicted our basic search for a balance between the factors that go to make up a high performance road car. The handling balance was effected and the fuel consumption was poor,” Kimberley reported.

Still talking engines, as we passed through the development shop and I put my pen away, Kimberley turned to detail. “We do use transistorised ignition by Lumenition on some models and we have done a lot of work on fuel injection systems. We did not find a significant benefit in engine smoothness and there was some throttle lag with mechanical systems. Added to which there was no m.p.g. benefit either, so then we turned to our present research on electronic injection. So far we find that the sheer cost and the lead times needed to put the equipment on our cars make it unlikely that we will adopt such injection. There’s another factor too: with the coming of the microprocessor chip system it takes a long time to work out a programme for your engine, and when you have got it you are virtually stuck with it.”

The engineering development workshop featured a lot of the Chrysler Sunbeams of course, but production had not started at Luddurn when we called. The cars will be built from trimmed bodyshells by Lotus, the contract with Chrysler calling for over 4,000 units. gained the impression that Lotus have become more and more involved as Chrysler got further involved with the practicalities of building special cars under mass production conditions. Loyally, nobody commented to me upon the situation, but it also appeared that Chrysler must have built all the cars for the FIA inspection themselves, for that successful homologation inspection had been announced in the weekly press before my visit to Lotus took place. Michael Kimberley kindly took a great deal of trouble to try to secure permission for us to look at the DMC development taking place at Hethel, but this was vetoed by their executives. All I know is that Lotus have to build a car around a number of fixed points on this unusual design, which is intended to sell in large 25,000-30,000 doses per year to the American Corvette type of owner. The fixed points are that the car should have gullwing doors; brushed stainless steel finish to exterior panels screwing onto Lotus-developed glassfibre understructure; a derivative of the Douvrin Renault/Peugeot/Volvo cooperative’s V6 motor and a Renault transaxle that can offer four-speed, five-speed or automatic transmission. The Lotus job is to develop the car, particularly the suspension, which will not be Renault-Alpine’s A310 system as conjectured in some weeklies, up to the stage where it passes its certification tests for the American, European and British RHD markets.

As most readers probably know the DMC is the brainchild of former GM executive John DeLorean and is to be made in Ulster with the aid of millions of pounds from the UK taxpayer’s purse in the form of development aid grants for that unhappy area. No time for the car’s appearance could be quoted to the reporter and I left a little surprised that there has not been a little more TV and national newspaper coverage of the situation perhaps because it could be such good news and because, after the official first announcements, there has been little to photograph or say?

We arrived in the sheet metal working area having briefly admired a brand new mould going into action for the Elite after 2,400 bodies had been made by the previous heart to the Lotus VARI (Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection) body production system.

While the £130,000 Trumpf of Stuttgart Trumatic 180 machine tool chuntered through complicated outlines in seconds under computer tape control, Kimberley talked to us of the way in which engineering effort is applied these days. “Approximately 70% of all our effort is directed on work that is necessary to sell our vehicles legally. No, it’s not the USA all to blame. Just now we are working very hard on UK Type Approval and the tragedy of it is that the work is similar to, but not the same as, that required for other countries. By pressure on the DOI we have achieved six common clauses, but there are all the detail differences like seat belts for Switzerland: lights in Italy; Sweden’s own emission laws and the Japanese, who are tougher than the Americans. We can use some previous experience. For Sweden we use the 1974-US Federal specification engine without all the emission control equipment, while the Japanese get our current American motor with full Californian specification and a catalyst device.

“In fact I think that many of the requirements are good things. The consumer should have protection, but there are circumstances where a little flexibility is needed and I am one of those involved, through the SMM & T, in talks with the Government on granting temporary exemptions to small volume manufacturers. By that I mean those who make under 3,000 ears a year, where I think the Americans who like many other overseas countries do allow this procedure talk of 20,000 units a year. “The big problem manufacturers such as ourselves, Aston Martin and Panther face is where a proprietary component is changed without warning.”

This might apply to something like a tail-lamp glass or door lock, and strictly speaking could mean the car had to be retested. Kimberley comments, “Sometimes the first we know of a specification change is when it reaches our Goods Inward Quality Inspection area! Obviously a components manufacturer will change with the needs of somebody making hundreds of thousands of cars a year rather than hundreds.

“Now MIRA could well be all booked up and you can’t get in anywhere to carry out a Government-certified test. Lotus are in quite a good position because the “in-house” content of cars is up to 70%, but even we could still have the worst decision in the World to make. Do you order production to STOP? Or take the risk of producing a number of uncertified cars until approval can be completed?

“There is no flexibility in the procedure in Britain at present, and that is why I am asking the department to grant up to two years’ exemption where proof is supplied that a car must undergo re-crash testing or other major work.” Kimberley dismissed the subject and turned onto the related question of safety.

“As I have said we are professionals. So I think it’s is right that we should be asked to build protection in for our customers, but I think there should be some primary safety legislation. This is just as important we think the ability to change direction swiftly and safely, coupled to rapid overtaking abilities, are positive safety attributes.”

Michael Kimberley’s comments on the proposed 1982 introduction of inflateable air bag crash protection in the USA market were strong and highlighted an amazing anomaly in bureaucratic thinking. “The bags are the worst thing that could happen. Mathematically the highest risk of being killed in an accident is through ejecting from the car: the regulations cover only bag protection with no seat belts. There is also the point that the bag provides only one-impact action: what happens when you hit somebody and then bounce across the road? Maybe you hit a barrier with a deflated bag, or are struck from the side by another car at the back of the pile up?

“I have been in an accident where a car went end-over-end six times, testing the crash-worthiness of my former employer’s products! The lap and diagonal belt saved me from any injury whatsoever,” Kimberley’s unusual testimonial finished.

We spent the afternoon discussing with Kimberley, Rudd and sales manager Roger Putnam who has been with the company 13 years and is also on the board of the American subsidiary some of the realities of selling individual and expensive cars today.

From remarks I hear amongst those who could buy a Lotus, but do not, I felt I should ask how the company felt it was doing in improving reliability. There have been some appalling incidents in the past but Kimberley felt the past couple of years had seen real progress. “Warranty costs have shown a downward trend ever since we instituted the procedure of paying dealers the full retail market labour rate for guarantee rectification work. I thought, but no dealer would publically agree, that they were not so keen on doing warranty work at a rate less than the one they charge public. Now I think the mechanic is encouraged to look after not only the immediate problem, but any potential problems … As I say, the proof is in the reduction in overall warranty costs since we adopted this higher payment scheme.”

I then asked Kimberley when Lotus intended to do something about the harshness and noise levels on the Esprit which have been remarked upon both in Motor Sport for March 1979 and elsewhere?

Kimberley replied, “We are investing heavily in that at present with different engine mountings under study and a number of test-instrumentated cars running around to analyse their effect. Unfortunately we cannot move overnight. There is the durability factor to prove, but the big factor is that new engine mounts would require a USA front, rear and 20 m.p.h. side crash tests. You would also have to pass tests for fuel spillage as a new engine mount might result in extra flexibility, the loss of a fuel line under impact and consequent spillage.”

So a simple engineering modification would occupy 6-9 months of expensive engineering time. Madness!

Another specific beef I had encountered on the product of late was in trying the automatic Lotus 504 Elite. This version loses a surprising amount of performance, can drink fuel well under the 20 m.p.g. barrier and is noisy at a constant motorway pace because of the lowered gearing inserted to try to compensate for the auto 3-speed in place of the slick 5-speed. I asked Kimberley if he did not feel this was too high a price to pay? Did it not run contrary to the dictum for efficiency? Was it not about time Lotus did their own automatic in the light of Chapman’s interest in the subject on the racing front? Kimberley took all this very well, for he was the engineer who mated the BW box to the Elite engine! However it was not the matching of revs, or ratios, or even the durability that bothered us.

In short Kimberley felt that the economies of scale would preclude Lotus making their own automatic for the road. They had looked at the most prestigious automatic in the World but had decided that it was not worth the £1,500-£2,000 extra cost on each car. “A four-speed auto would be nice,” he agreed, “but I would say …” his eyes twinkled as his tongue lodged in cheek … “I would say that the undue noise levels only occurred at illegal speeds, and therefore they did not worry our responsible clientele! One great benefit of our mating the engine and auto gearbox was the development of the E-camshaft. This is now standard equipment: it may knock off 5 b.h.p. from the peak output figure, but it makes the engine a lot better to drive providing 35% more power at 2,000 r.p.m., right where you need some flexibility,” Kimberley concluded.

I turned to Roger Putnam and asked what sort of customers were buying their cars and why?

Roger replied, “We benefited from a Government sponsored survey of 400 owners 18 months ago. I must point out that the cars were then under £10,000 so the owners today might be slightly further upmarket.

“The reasons they bought our cars were: 1, looks; 2, handling, by which we mean the general road manners as much as the sheer roadholding; 3, performance; 4, the exclusivity and prestige of the cars.

“Over 65% are company purchases and many go on 1-2 years high rate leasing schemes as people try to buy British for their executives. Only 17% show up as self-employed, but of course many of those company buys may be from the owner of a business.

“The average owner is 32 years old and has two children and he will keep the car about 18 months. To trade in against the Lotus he or the company will usually bring a Jaguar, Mercedes or Porsche.” I asked if the American customer was a bit older, or different in any way? The answer was,

“Not really, but the car tends to be sold in more fully equipped state with air conditioning and all the bits on.

“The models are sold in different proportions too. In the USA we sell 8o% Esprit; 15% Eclat and 5% Elite. Everywhere else we sell about 40% for Elite and Eclat and 20% Esprit.”

Before I left I asked the assembled expertise of Lotus what car they would make if they were adding to the range? The consensus was: “A larger car with a multi-cylinder (six or eight) engine. It would be part of the growing up process as the new Elite was to the previous Europa/Elan range.”

Michael Kimberley’s eyes glowed at the thought of competing fair and square in the top class bracket. I think Chapman chose the right man to make sure that dream came true. I remember a German Porsche PR telling me at the time of the Porsche 928 launch, that Porsche represented the entire future of sports car motoring! I did splutter a bit, but he reminded me that Jaguar made big saloon cars before moving on to discuss other things. I look forward to the efforts of Mr. Chapman’s team under Michael Kimberley meriting a little more serious boardroom discussion in Stuttgart during the 1980s! J.W.

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