AACA Museum – The Art of Lightness

MUSEUM REVIEW: Forthcoming Exhibition: “Lotus –The Art of Lightness”

161 Museum Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717.566.7100
Fax: 717.566.7300

Email: info@AACAMuseum.org


Recently the A&R reviewed the exhibition entitled “The Amazing Bugattis” and questioned why there had been no significant museum exhibition devoted to Colin Chapman and Lotus.

We are now pleased to acknowledge that the AACA Museum is holding a substantial exhibition this year.

The editors have examined the proposal [see below] and this exhibition contains the seeds of great potential and it’s highly recommended. We hope to obtain early visitor feedback.

The AACA Museum: Origin and Objectives

The AACA museum is the product of the Antique Automobile Club of America. It’s believed that this club was formed by enthusiasts in 1935.Its members include active collectors.

Their museum is based in Pennsylvania, USA.The museum seems a repository of vehicles members have donated loaned or the museum acquired. In addition the museum houses an extensive library. It’s believed that the museum is run as a non for profit organization.

The museum charts the evolution of transport in America with especial reference to American marques.Exhibits extend over a period of eight decades; and each example is set in a visual background context[ check out website]

Although possibly little known in Europe the museum has an excellent permanent collection and holds possibly two or more themed exhibitions per year

Declared Mission [from website]

The AACA Museum is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of motor vehicle history in a manner that provides for the education and entertainment of our guests.

Our goal is to deliver a world class automotive experience through innovative and interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages and illustrate the historical evolution and potential future impacts of one of the most culturally defining innovations of modern times.

As noted the museum as an extensive, deep and through integrated library of reference works. [See website/ on line catalogue]

Lotus: The Art of Lightness

January 24 – April 26, 2015


Image courtesy of Michael Furman.

Lotus and the genius of Colin Chapman have been at the forefront of racing technology and automotive design since 1948.  Colin Chapman’s philosophy of light weight and efficiency of design resulted in  7 Formula 1 World Championships as well as wins at Le Mans, and Indianapolis, saloon car racing and the World Rally Championship.  Chapman’s mantras of simplification, light weight and the least amount of parts effectively deployed that went into his racing car design were directly translated into Lotus’ road cars and produced iconic machines such as the Seven, Elan, Esprit, and Elise. The rest of the automotive world is finally realizing that horsepower makes you fast in the straights, but light weight makes you faster everywhere – and more fuel efficient to boot!

For over 60 years Lotus has continued to produce class-leading  sports cars and are a globally respected automotive engineering consultancy, working with many of the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers.

This exhibit will feature a variety of Lotus models both road and race throughout that 60 year history.

Exhibits: Proposed Content:

1956 Mark VI – Kyle, Irena and Colin Kaulback – Bethel, PA

1958 Lotus Eleven (Series II), Brainard Parker – Annapolis, MD

1959 Elite (Type 14) – Joe Marchione – Absecon, NJ
1959 Type 18 – Jerry Morici -Clifton, NJ
1962 Type 22 – Jerry Morici – Clifton, NJ
1962 Seven S2 – Gary and Sandy David – Macedonia, OH
1963 Type 23
1964 Elan S1 (Type 26) – Greg Moore  – Merchantville, NJ

1965 Lotus 23 Twin Cam – Brainard Parker – Annapolis, MD
1966 Lotus Cortina (Type 28) – Gary and Sandy David –  Macedonia, OH
1967 Europa S1B (Type46) – Bob Fogle – Woodbury, CT
1969 Elan S4 Coupe Rolling Chassis (Type 36) – Clark Lance – Long Valley, NJ
1970 Type 61MX – Kyle, Irena and Colin Kaulback – Bethel, PA
1971 Type 69 – Kyle, Irena and Colin Kaulback – Bethel, PA
1972 Europa Twin Cam (Type74) – Kyle, Irena and Colin Kaulback – Bethel, PA
1972 Elan Sprint (Type 45) – Dee and Kenny Mance – New York, NY
1979 Esprit S2 (World Championship Commemorative Edition) – Art Mason – Macungie, PA
1984 Type 95T – Barber Museum – Birmingham, AL
1987 Esprit Turbo (Type 82) – Gordon M. Biehl, Jr
1991 Elan (Type 100) – Ted Taylor – Haddon Heights, NJ

1992 Type 108 – Barber Museum – Birmingham, AL
1996 Type 110 – Kyle, Irena and Colin Kaulback – Bethel, PA

1997 Esprit V8 CART-PPG Indycar World Series Pace Car (Type 82) – Dale Murray – Mt Joy PA
2009 Exige S260 (Type 117) – Jon Walton – Newark, DE
2014 Evora S (Type 122)- Lotus Cars USA

Lotus engineered:
1981 DeLorean DMC12 – Justin and Rachel Mettee – Glen Rock, PA
1985 Sinclair C5 – Barber Museum – Birmingham, AL
1993 Corvette ZR1 – Dave Nagler – Chester, NY
Lotus Ultralight Aircraft Engine -Barber Museum  -Birmingham, AL
Type 23 spaceframe chassis -Barber Museum – Birmingham, AL
Lotus Wobbly Web Wheel

Exhibition Potential

The A&R editors having studied the background of the AACA Museum and proposed consent of the forthcoming exhibition .They consider it to be exciting ambitious courageous and inspiring. It’s inspired that a wide selection of cars are being assembled and displayed under a serious intellectual focus.

The exhibition is evidently well supported and organized as evidenced by the span and quality of proposed exhibits and examples of Chapman’s industrial Design.

The editors believe this exhibition has the potential to interpret and indeed illustrate to visitors that the “Art and Lightness” of Chapman design contained many of the following aspects:-

  • Art of the aesthetic and sculptural excellence of his designs
  • The art and conceptual creativity of Chapman and his design/engineering colleagues
  • That art and lightness are the primary functions of mechanical efficiency and sustainability
  • Art and lightness contributed to the competition success
  • Art and lightness forge connectivity with flight and aerodynamics
  • The Art and aesthetic of Chapman’s designs have been enshrined in Fine Art and Film
  • Lightness remains a core competency of Lotus platforms

We are particularly pleased that an American Museum is hosting this innovative exhibition as it also celebrates the bond of cultures and shares common interest with American motorsport Indianapolis, Can-Am and Ford along with famous American racing drivers that have made Lotus famous internationally.

Conclusion and Legacy

The editors believe this exhibition is overdue and commend the curator, trustees and supports for mounting this exhibition.In it we see conviction, integrity and foresight. We sincerely hope the exhibition will receive international publicity and resultant attendance. Further we hope there will be thorough publcity through various media not least internet, TV and magazine. The organizers might like to produce a CD or TV documentary as spin off .It deserves it not often for various reasons, not least that such groupings cannot be easily assembled in one place.

The editors believe this will be significant event and possibly the watershed that might provoke the reassessment, revision of Chapman’s and Lotus achievement. We wish the museum and its exhibition every success along with attendance. We look forward to reviews ad would hope to publish them.

In the meanwhile we pledge all our support.

“Lotus: The Art of Lightness” has all the potential to be the Light Fantastic and possibly more important Light and the end of the tunnel!!