This particular model – Chapman’s ‘company car’ – was recently bought back by the Lotus company itself to form part of their heritage collection.
It comes with the most idiosyncratic of modifications: a pollen filter to alleviate the great man’s hay fever; blood orange leather interior, roof-mounted Panasonic stereo and a dry sump engine – not to mention prototype power steering.
As highlighted by our man in Ketteringham, various bits from less glamorous Blighty vehicles were used to build this most British of sportscars, but it doesn’t detract from what is a unique car – perhaps it even adds to it.
Whilst Frankel is unable to use the pollen filter to its full capacity (it being February), the other features contribute to what he says is purely and simply a “fun” driving experience.
Described as ‘Union Jack underpants on wheels’, this very vehicle was tested by none other than Margaret Thatcher herself who, as detailed in the magazine, thought rather highly of Chapman’s ‘runaround’.
Thatcher drove the car at Norwich Airport (officially a ‘visit’ to Lotus) as an endorsement of British industry and ingenuity, but as she did so, dark clouds were gathering over the company and its founder Chapman.