Colin Chapman Archive and Resource January 2016

Newsletter – Number 55

  1. Lotus Type 63: The Four wheel drive: Four Square
  2. Scalextric: Slot on the Landscape: Electric Car Racing from the National Grid
  3. Scale Model Car Reviews
  4. Newest Acquisitions to A&R Library / Book Review
  5. Pursuit of Perfection: Lotus 108 Recycled
  6. Questions from our readers

1. Lotus Type 63: The Four wheel drive: Four Square


This article in part was prompted by our piece on Lotus consultancy and the potential for a Lotus SUV.We see the possibility that Lotus cold use their heritage connection with 4×4 racing cars as marketing device.

This article offers no new significant information but the editor’s analysis challenges the epitaph that the Lotus 63 was a white elephant and or an expensive failure. This is an over easy simplification and does not demonstrate an appreciation of Chapman and Lotus.

We take an opportunity to examine the context peers and the form and function of the Lotus 63. We benchmark. In doing so we concur with Crombac when he observed:
“This project was the most extensive ever launched by Team Lotus and the two new cars –the Type 63 for F1 and the 64 for Indy were the most complicated and expensive they ever built”

We borrow information from the net in order to concentrate our focus on a wider assessment and appreciation of the Lotus 63.

4 wheel drive from the net

Four wheel drive (4WD) refers to vehicles with two or more axles providing power to four wheel ends. Four-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case, not a differential, between the front and rear axles, meaning that the front and rear drive shafts will be locked together when engaged. This provides maximum torque transfer to the axle with the most traction, but can cause binding in high traction turning situations. These include full-time and selectable part-time 4WD. 4WD is not intended for high speeds without a limited-slip mechanism.”

4 Wheel drive in Motor Racing

There has been 4×4 racing cars in the past and examples include:
From the net

“Road racing

Spyker is credited with building and racing the first ever four-wheel racing car, the Spyker 60 HP in 1903.

Bugatti created a total of three four-wheel-drive racers, the Type 53, in 1932, but the cars were notorious for having poor handling.

Miller produced the first 4WD car to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, the 1938 Miller Gulf Special.

Ferguson Research Ltd. built the front-engine P99 Formula One car that actually won a non-World Championship race with Stirling Moss in 1961. In 1968, Team Lotus raced cars in the Indy 500 and three years later in Formula 1 with the Lotus 56, that had both turbine engines and 4WD, as well as the 1969 4WD-Lotus 63 that had the standard 3-litre V8 Ford Cosworth engine. Matra also raced a similar MS84, and McLaren entered their M9A in the British Grand Prix, while engine manufacturers Ford-Cosworth produced their own version which was tested but never raced. All these F1 cars were considered inferior to their RWD counterparts, as the advent of aerodynamic downforce meant that adequate traction could be obtained in a lighter and more mechanically efficient manner, and the idea was discontinued, even though Lotus tried repeatedly.

Nissan and Audi had success with all-wheel drive in road racing with the former’s advent of the Nissan Skyline GT-R in 1989. So successful was the car that it dominated the Japanese circuit for the first years of production, going on to bigger and more impressive wins in Australia before weight penalties eventually levied a de facto ban on the car. Most controversially was the win pulled off at the 1990 Macau Grand Prix where the car led from start to finish. Audi’s dominance in the Trans-Am Series in 1988 was equally controversial as it led to a weight penalty mid season and to a rule revision banning all-AWD cars, its dominance in Super Touring eventually led to a FIA ban on AWD system in 1998.

New 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans regulations may revive AWD/4WD in road racing, though such systems are only allowed in new hybrid-powered Le Mans Prototypes. One example is the Audi R18 e-tron quattro (winner of 2012 race, the first ever hybrid/4WD to win Le Mans), utilizing an electric motor in the front axle while combining the engine motor in the rear.”

Advantages/Disadvantages 4 wheel drive


  • Transmission of power
  • Safety in wet


  • Heavier
  • More complicated
  • Power absorption through drive
  • Handling characteristics
  • Expense …. Pertains to Lotus 63.It is suggested it cost upwards of £30,000 and this ought to be factored in relation to Chapman and the Lotus 63.

[Subscribers might like to see costing /budget for Lotus 49 –see A&R article].This figure seems excessive and we question where figures were drawn from. They do not seem to take into account the previous attempts and resources in existence.


Burr writing in the Duckworth biography commented that:-

“Because the DFV was so much more powerful than earlier engines it opened up a mismatch between power and output and the ability of tyres and aerodynamics to transmit it to the tarmac [especially wet tarmac].As a result in the late 1960’s designers started revisiting the idea of 4 wheel drive”

Twite observed:-

“Racing car designers are always searching for new ways to steal a march on their rivals, but several teams had the same idea for the 1969 season. Lotus along with Matra and Cosworth all decided to build four wheel drive cars in the hope added traction from driving the front wheels would aid acceleration and improve grip on corners. This did not work out in practice because tyre development had moved so fast that the rear wheel drive cars cornered and accelerated better than the 4-w-d cars, while the additional adhesion offered by aerofoils made the 2-w-d cars very much faster than the 4-w-d cars”

Crombac quotes a conversation between Chapman and Doug Nye for his reasons to adopt 4-w-d.

  1. “Our Indy experience with four wheel drive was good, we had all the sophisticated and complicated lumps of stuff laid in …………
  2. Tyres were poor
  3. Problem handling the 3 litre power “so putting it down through all four wheels seemed the way forward”

The Contemporaries c [1969]

 Crombac notes:

“At the time every FI engineer and constructor turned to Colin for inspiration .The moment he embarked on the four wheel drive project, they started thinking that they should do the same and the 1969 season saw such cars built by McLaren and Matra.Even Cosworth, who commissioned a design from Robin Herd, built a car but never raced it”

The 4×4 marques of the era:

  • Matra MS84
  • McLaren M9A
  • Cosworth “CA” 4WD
  • Lotus 63

Matra MS84 

Matra MS84

From the net:

“1969: Jackie Stewart pictured with the MS84 at the Nürburgring
Leading French constructor Matra based their 4WD car on the MS80 with which they won the 1969 Constructors’ Championship, and from the rear of the cockpit forward the cars looked virtually identical, save for the driveshaft to the front wheels. At the back the engine was mounted back-to-front with the gearbox directly behind the driver, but tellingly the Ferguson transmission and other necessary additions left the car 10% heavier than the two-wheel drive sister cars. Like the Lotus 63, the MS84 made its first appearance at the Dutch Grand Prix, where Jackie Stewart tried the car out but opted to use his MS80, as he would for the rest of the season.

The car was still present at all the remaining races as a spare, and at Silverstone Jean-Pierre Beltoise gave the car its first race and came home ninth, six laps behind Stewart’s two-wheel drive Matra (but three laps ahead of Miles’s Lotus 63). By the next time the car raced, the front differential had been disconnected and the car effectively ran as an over-weight MS80 with inboard front brakes, memorably giving the lie to Johnny Servoz-Gavin’s protestations about the 4WD car being “undriveable” after he finished the Canadian Grand Prix six laps down in sixth place. Servoz-Gavin also drove the car at Watkins Glen, finishing 16 laps down and unclassified, and finally in Mexico, crossing the line “just” two laps down in eighth place.”

Twite comments that:

“Although Matra built a brand new two wheel drive car for 1969.They also hedged their bet by building a 4-w-d like several other manufactures.”

McLaren M9A

From the net:

McLaren M9A

“The McLaren M9A.

Bruce McLaren’s team was the last front-running team to produce a 4WD car in 1969, a brand new chassis designed by Jo Marquart and designated the M9A. The car, complete with distinctive “tea tray” rear wing, was completed in time for Derek Bell to use in the British Grand Prix alongside the standard M7s, where he retired with suspension failure. After McLaren himself tested the car he compared driving it to “trying to write your signature with someone constantly jogging your elbow” and the car was never raced again.”


From the net:


The Cosworth Formula One car.

With Keith Duckworth’s DFV engine being the root of the grip problem, it was perhaps to be expected that Cosworth were the first to attempt a 4WD solution. Ford’s Walter Hayes, who had backed the DFV, gave the project his blessing and former McLaren designer Robin Herd joined Duckworth in designing the car, which was a pretty radical departure from the normal late-60s cars. The Cosworth featured a very angular shape, with sponsons between the wheels either side of the aluminium monocoque to house the fuel tanks and improve the car’s aerodynamics, and the cockpit was quite visibly off-set to the driver’s left. Unlike all the other 4WD F1 cars, instead of using the Ferguson transmission Cosworth built their own version from scratch, and even went as far as producing a new gearbox and a bespoke magnesium-cast DFV, perhaps anticipating a future market for their technology.

Trevor Taylor and Cosworth co-founder Mike Costin tested the car extensively, the first problem being the positioning of the oil tank, which for weight distribution had been placed directly behind the driver’s backside, causing considerable discomfort. With the oil tank moved back behind the engine and a redesign of the front driveshafts the only major remaining problem was the excessive understeer which dogged all the 4WD cars. A limited-slip front differential was tried with some slight success, but after Jackie Stewart briefly sampled the car reporting that “the car’s so heavy on the front, you turn into a corner and whole thing starts driving you”, confirming what Taylor and Costin already felt, Hayes withdrew his support and the Cosworth 4WD project was axed shortly before the British Grand Prix.
This remains the only Formula One car Cosworth have ever built, and like the Lotus 63 the car is now on display as part of the Donington Grand Prix Collection. There was a second Cosworth FWD built out of factory parts by Crosthwaite and Gardner, it was on display at the now closed Fremantle motor museum and now in a private collection in Melbourne Australia.”

Burr informs us that the Cosworth “CA” was designed and developed by Robin Herd and a group of engineers at Cosworth including Thompson, Lyle and Hall.

The 4-w-d was conceived in July 1967 and completed in March 1969.Burr suggests that Keith Duckworth might have liked Jim Clark to drive the car .Other sources suggest that perhaps there was a possibility of sponsorship for the car [possibly subject to driver and performance??]

There were good engineering, strategic and commercial reasons to design and build the car; not least the wide spread adoption of the DFV. Cosworth might have felt that:-

  • They were in tune with other marque thinking
  • Their own in-house design incorporated with own DFV could extract advantage
  • If 4-w-d was to become the “must have”,  they might have wanted to be market leaders
  • They certainly had the engineering resources and staff to make it work
  • There may have be further unspoken and unrecorded motivation

Keith Duckworth commenting in “Cosworth”:

“I think I allowed the Cosworth car project to go on too long. In fact , we really should not have started it.This was one of those cases  where you build something ,but which with  a bit more thought before starting , we would have been able to see where the problems were.

Generally speaking I think I have saved more money for the company by analyzing on paper, and not starting things than in any other way. The car was a mistake, of a failure to analyse the problem”

The Lotus 63: Four wheel drive Goes Forth

Taylor comments:

“Drawing heavily on the experiments learned through the Type 56 and 64 projects both of which had used all wheel drive chassis with turbine powered racers. Recognizing the Type 49 had only a limited lifespan remaining .Chapman was keen to produce an entirely new kind of car with which Team Lotus could win its fourth F1 Championship – a feat which had never yet been accomplished.

The result was the Type 63 , a vehicle which once again took GP car design to the very limits and one whose unconventional layout pointed up the shape of things to come…  Even Chapman eventually admitted it was too weighty to succeed”. See also Crombac below in Critical Assessment.

From the net
The four wheel drive technology returned into F1 with the Lotus 56B in 1971.
Like the Lotus 88, the 4WD cars proved to be huge white elephants for Lotus, but it paved the way for better models to follow…

The Lotus 63 was an experimental Formula One car, designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1969 season. Chapman’s reasoning behind the car was that the 3 litre engines introduced in 1966 would be better served by building a car that could take full advantage of its power while retaining the Lotus 49’s simplicity.

Like the Lotus 56 for the Indy 500 (and later F1), the 63 chassis was designed around a four wheel drive system. This was not totally revolutionary at the time, as four wheel drive had been used on the Ferguson P99 F1 car that won at Oulton Park as early as 1961, but with little development thereafter. However, it was not a successful design. In fact, the Matra MS84 was the only 4WD F1 which scored points (driven by Johnny Servoz-Gavin, at the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix) something neither Lotus nor McLaren managed, while Cosworth did not even race their 4WD design. The 63 was an evolution of the 49, but featured wedge shaped rear bodywork and integrated wings, which would be used to great effect in the Lotus 72.

Lotus 63
From the net

Lotus 63

“Lotus 63 4WD driven by Mario Andretti at the Nürburgring

Of the four 4WD projects, the Lotus team were undoubtedly the most committed. The design of the car was influenced by the all-conquering Lotus 49 and the two 4WD gas turbine cars Lotus had entered in the Indy 500, and as well as its wedge shape the later Lotus 72 would also inherit its inboard front brakes. As with the Matra and McLaren cars, the 63 featured a back-to-front DFV with a bespoke Hewland gearbox and a Ferguson 4WD transmission with provision to adjust the front-rear torque distribution between 50–50 and 30–70.

With a ban on high-mounted wings following Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt’s accidents in the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix meaning low grip was more of a problem than ever the 63s were pressed into service two races later at Zandvoort. Hill tried the car in the first qualifying session, but after going nearly four seconds quicker in his regular 49B, and declaring the 63 a “death trap”, it was left to Lotus test driver John Miles to give the car its debut at the French GP, retiring after a single lap with a fuel pump failure. At the British Grand Prix both chassis were available, but after Hill again tried the car in practice, and again refused to drive it, Jo Bonnier drove the car with Hill in Bonnier’s 49B, while Miles again drove the other 63. Bonnier retired with an engine problem while Miles finished tenth, some nine laps down.

Mario Andretti drove in place of Miles in the next race at the Nürburgring, but crashed heavily on the first lap, badly damaging the chassis. At the International Gold Cup Jochen Rindt was forced to drive the 63, despite protesting furiously to Chapman, and in an under-strength field of F1 and F5000 cars came second, some way behind Jacky Ickx’s Brabham. In the remaining races of the season Miles drove the car in the Italian, Canadian and Mexican races, retiring from all three with engine, gearbox and fuel pump failures, with Andretti retiring at Watkins Glen with broken suspension. After losing both championships to Jackie Stewart’s Matra, Chapman finally decided that it was time to abandon the 4WD car and concentrate on the designs for the Lotus 72.

One 63 chassis is currently on display as part of the Donington Grand Prix Collection, the other is believed to be in Australia.”

Form and Function: Four wheel drive Fusion

To aid comprehension of the design and layout subscribers are directed to a very attractive and informative cutaway drawing by Hatton and other visual materials on the net.

 Design features: Four wheel drive –finesse:

  • 18 swg aluminum monococque chassis light, strong structure
  • Ford Cosworth DFV engine installed reverse to previous
  • Drive coming forward to gearbox mounted centrally in car
  • Transfer gears supplied drive to lhs of car marrying with driveshaft’s of front and rear axles sitting alongside driver
  • Complex but neat
  • Weight and mass well concentrated assisting the suspension and traction
  • Not particularly ergonomic driving position [ see axle line vis body shape]
  • More than normal internal spaces between mechanical elements could be utilized conveniently
  • Suspension on sub frames
  • Note detail design of drive components and use of external expertise
  • Girling ventilated discs provided enormous stopping power
  • Note cab forward layout
  • It’s been said that “in the components such as the fabricated suspension it was a substantial car by Lotus standards”
  • The Lotus 63 was considered sleeker than other 4-w-d FI cars

Lotus 63 sketch

Technical Specifications Compared


Engine /Cyli Ford V8, water cooled
Bore /Stroke 85.6mm x 64.8mm
CC 2,995
Valve Gear Twin ohc
Comp Ratio 11:01
Carburettors Lucas fuel injection
Max.Power 430 bhp at 10,000 rpm
Trans/Gears Lotus/Hewland 4 wheel drive,5 speed non synchromesh, ratios to choice as final drive
Front Brakes Girling disc dia.10.5 inches
Rear Brakes Girling disc dia.10.5 inches
Steering Rack and pinion
Front Susp’ One piece upper wishbone, inboard csdampers,lower wishbone
Rear Susp’ One piece upper wishbone, inboard csdampers,lower wishbone
Chassis Aluminium monocoque
Wheel base 8ft-2 inches
Front Track 4ft-11 inches
Rear Track 4ft-11 inches
O’length 12 feet-8 inches
O’width.body N/a
Kerb weight 1,200 lbs
Front Tyres 13 inch
Rear Tyres 13 inch


Model Type 63, Formula 1
Year 1969
Volume 2
Engine Ford Cosworth DFV
C.C. 2993 cc
Carburation Lucas fuel injection
Power Output 430 bhp
Transmission Lotus/Hewland 5 speed,ZF transfer drive,4WD and torque split diff
Chassis 18 swg aluminium monocoque, tubular front and rear subframes
Body Glass cloth reinforced plastic
Front Suspension Fabricated double wishbone ,inboard cs/damper, anti roll bar
Rear Suspension Fabricated double wishbone ,inboard cs/damper, anti roll bar
Brakes F/R Inboard Girling 10 .1/2 x 1.1/8 inch discs
Wheels F/R 11.00 x 13
Tyres F/R 12,50 x 13
Length 152 inches
Width 74 inches
Height 34 inches
Wheelbase 98 inches
Track F/R 59 inches
Weight 1170 lb

Weight Comparisons

From Twite

Marque          Model             Drive               Weight [lbs.]

McLaren        M9A                4-w-d              1250

McLaren        7MA                                        1230

Matra              MS84              4-w-d              1340

Matra              MS80                                      1220

Lotus              49B                                         1125

Lotus              63                    4-w-d              1200

The 1969 FI Championship and Marques


Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Driver Rounds
Gold Leaf Team Lotus LotusFord 49B
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F Graham Hill 1–10
Jochen Rindt 1–2, 4–11
Mario Andretti 1, 7, 10
Richard Attwood 3
John Miles 5–6, 8–9, 11
Rob Walker/Jack Durlacher Racing Team LotusFord 49B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F Jo Siffert All
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLarenFord M7A
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G Denny Hulme All
Bruce McLaren All
Derek Bell 6
Matra International MatraFord MS10
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 D Jackie Stewart All
Jean-Pierre Beltoise All
Johnny Servoz-Gavin 9–11
MS7 Ford Cosworth FVA 1.6 L4 D Johnny Servoz-Gavin 7
Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC
North American Racing Team
Ferrari 312 Ferrari 255C 3.0 V12 F Chris Amon 1–6
Pedro Rodríguez 6, 8–11
Tino Brambilla 8
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P138
BRM P142 3.0 V12 D John Surtees 1–4, 6–11
Jackie Oliver 1–4, 6–11
Bill Brack 9
George Eaton 10–11
Reg Parnell Racing BRM P126 BRM P142 3.0 V12 G Pedro Rodríguez 1–3
Motor Racing Developments Ltd BrabhamFord BT26A
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G Jack Brabham 1–4, 8–11
Jacky Ickx All
Team Gunston LotusFord 49 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 D John Love 1
BrabhamRepco BT24 Repco 620 3.0 V8 F Sam Tingle 1
Team Lawson McLarenFord M7A Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 D Basil van Rooyen 1
Jack Holme BrabhamRepco BT20 Repco 620 3.0 V8 G Peter de Klerk 1
Frank Williams Racing Cars BrabhamFord BT26A Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 D Piers Courage 2–11
BT30 Ford Cosworth FVA 1.6 L4 D Richard Attwood 7
Antique Automobiles CooperMaserati T86B Maserati 10/F1 3.0 V12 G Vic Elford 3
McLarenFord M7B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 4–7
Silvio Moser Racing Team BrabhamFord BT24 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G Silvio Moser 3–5, 8–11
Ecurie Bonnier LotusFord 63
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F Joakim Bonnier 6–7

Manufacturers  Championship

Pos. Manufacturer RSA
1 MatraFord 1 1 Ret 1 1 1 2 1 4 NC 4 66
2 BrabhamFord Ret 6 2 5 3 2 1 (5) 1 2 2 49 (51)
3 LotusFord 2 Ret 1 2 6 4 4 2 3 1 9 47
4 McLarenFord 3 2 (5) 4 4 3 3 4 5 Ret 1 38 (40)
5 BRM 7 5 Ret 9 Ret DNS NC NC 3 6 7
6 Ferrari Ret Ret Ret 3 Ret Ret 6 Ret 5 7 7
CooperMaserati 7 0
BrabhamRepco 8 0
BrabhamClimax Ret 0
Eagle-Climax DSQ 0
Pos. Manufacturer RSA

 Learning Opportunities

These might include:-

  • An examination of the 1969 FI season apportioning the contribution of tyres and aerodynamic aids to success
  • Examination of the contribution of the Ford Cosworth DFV in both 2 and 4 wheel drive cars and its impact on sport –fast word comparison current generation and spectator opinion
  • Trace development of 4-w-d in motor sport F1 & rallying to present day
  • Draw up suggested marketing strategy for Lotus to connect heritage with proposed SUV
  • Examine 4-w-d in British context in road and track vehicles e.g. Ferguson.Jensen,Land Rover
  • Consider how Chapman and Lotus were never discouraged by disappointments list examples and how they went forward.
  • Outline nature of learning curve use Chapman and Lotus as benchmark
  • A difficult but important line of enquiry – consider what might be an accepted cost to win a FI championship and what might be the income from exploiting the publicity etc. Related what is the importance of strategy in FI? Think and set down examples.Possible examine figures for Tyrell and Walter Wolf who is believed to allocated a budget of £1m for the 1977 season.Each racing engine costing an estimated £12,000 to buy and each gearbox £1,600 and the precision light weight wheels /rims cost £100.[Wolf WR1 Ford ]

Economics, Education, Exhibitions

The editors believe in a museum context that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular there is scope for:-

  • The use of simulators to compare driving experience of 4 v 2 wheel drive FI cars
  • An opportunity to compare and contrast 4-w-d in British motor sport noting differences in GP, sprints and hill climbs
  • Compare and contrast British 4 w-d in  off road, utility  and sports vehicles
  • Set out exhibition of proposed Lotus SUV and sporting 4 –w-d heritage and connections
  • Examine some of the mathematics, physics and mechanical principles of 4 v 2 w-d test validity

Conclusion and Critical Assessment: The 63 four wheel drive: forgotten, forlorn, fractious, frustrated but Failure?

Crombac in Chapter 15 of his biography of Chapman heads up a chapter “Failure of Four Wheel Drive” he observes:-

“The 63 was a large and cumbersome car. It was not ready until the middle of the season and it never achieved any of Colin’s hopes”

Later he expands and quotes Chapman:-

“four wheel drive is ideal for conditions where you need to transmit low torque from the wheels to the ground in other words on mud or ice or super speed tracks like Indianapolis ……….the trouble with four wheel drive is that throttle affects both ends of the car and therefore you don’t have the ability to balance the car through a corner on the limits of adhesion, which is necessary to go quickly”

The Lotus 63 was not a success. Neither were its peers. As it more recent examples of motorsport tyres in particular along with aerodynamics can be critical.

However Chapman was always willing to experiment; and move on.

There is a cost to progress and this is often disappointments. However these need not be absolute failures if lessons are learnt and taken forward as experience and resource [material and conceptual].Furthermore lessons might be learnt or adapted by others and the continuum of progress procedes.

The editor’s belief that the figures quoted for the cost of the Type 63 are excessive. They do not seem to correspond with Chapman’s frugality and avoidance of waste. He was not an engineering egotist and the Type 63 was probably conceived as viable machine .Chapman would not accept second best. “If you’re not winning you’re not trying”.

The other major marques embarked on 4×4 and Keith Duckworth was cost conscious and they were partly seduced in their attempt.

Furthermore cost can be seen in long and short term perspectives.Even on the surface failures can actually be seen as investments in the future –reducing cost by eliminating misunderstandings.

The most prestigious of automobile marques use heritage as a marketing strategy. They link their products with continuity and evolving DNA.Lotus have one of the most significant of racing histories embracing success, innovation , technology and aesthetics, sustainability through minimalist design philosophy  to glamour. The editors contend that the Lotus 63 has considerable potential to feed, generate, complement and lend credibility to any new product like the proposed SUV.

When seen in this light, whatever the costs of the Type 63 [ which has considerable aesthetic and technical merits]  might in the long term have provided far greater returns than imagined. Heritage has considerable commercial potential if conceptual you can perceive events in a more holistic context and place emphasis on determination , resilience creativity adaptability and an indomitable spirit that tries against all odds to resolve problems.

The Lotus marque is more than competition success it’s also the driving force and learning curve that motivated it; that did not over-count costs in its determination to win. There was the courage occasionally to lose in order to succeed.

“You are what you drive”


The Lotus Book.Taylor.Coterie.

First Principles. The official biography of Keith Duckworth.Burr.Veloce.2015.

ISBN: 9781845845285

Four-wheel Drives

The 4 wheel drives

Henry, Alan
Published by Macmillan, 1975
ISBN 10: 0333172892 / ISBN 13: 9780333172896
Colin Chapman.Crombac.Patrick Stephens.1986.
ISBN: 0850597331
Colin Chapman.Ludvigsen.Haynes.2010.
ISBN: 9781844254132
History of the Grand Prix Car. Nye
A-Z of Formula Racing Cars. Hodges
Grand Prix.Cimarosti
ISBN: 1859606105

Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.

*Items in italics non A&R library books.

2. Scalextric: Slot on the Landscape: Electric Car Racing from the National Grid


In this article we examine Lotus representation in Scalextric racing car sets. This has an importance. It actively reflects the perception of Lotus to the public and here a significant category; the young and young at heart. Our examination of Lotus through Scalextric is a prism which measures its perception and aura / charisma to the customer.

The editors support the concept of consumer sovereignty [accepting some limitations] with its definition containing:-

“The situation in an economy where the desires and needs of consumers control the output of producers.”

Scalextric is an example of a product bought freely born of a genuine demand and interest.

Scalextric has been an extremely popular toy/game with its high point in the 1960’s.Sadly the editors have been unable to trace information relating to sets sold in the UK, but have found a brief reference for America. .The most recent information available being:-

CityA.M. [9th Dec.2015]

Airfix and Scalextric maker Hornby yesterday unveiled sliding sales ………..Group sales fell to £22.3 Million in the six months to end of September …………..but the company added UK trading has risen 10% year on year ………….the business is performing well in the important Christmas and New Year period”

Good research might reveal the annual sales statistics .The number of clubs and organisations as evidenced by the internet confirm the enduring international popularity, size of the market and participants. Somewhere it might be possible to discover the number of sets that were sold on the back of Lotus imagery/ content. The editors believe that the number of Lotus racing cars represented suggests that they were significant touching a nerve with customers thereby reflecting the esteem with which Lotus was held and providing a commercial success for the manufacturers.

Of course the principle of consumer sovereignty is equally important in the motor car manufacture and was an issue that Colin Chapman addressed.

Subscribers might like to see related A&R articles:-

  • Getting Groovy in the 1960’s
  • Product Placement
  • James Bond
  • Sponsorship

Scalextric, Commercialism and Popular Culture

Roger Gillham comments:-

“ to be successful in the toy and model industry it is necessary to continually invent new and interesting ideas which appeal to the public ……….Scalextric definitely comes into the “classic” category having maintained its appeal to the buying public for many years –indeed the word “Scalextric “ has come to be used by many as the generic term for electric slot car racing systems……….this continuing success has not been easily obtained : throughout its existence the product range has been the subject of constant improvement in order to stay ahead of competitors………”

The evidence suggests that Scalextric remained successful and relevant because it was contemporary and was able to embrace and encompass the achievements of Lotus and other manufactures and create a link or bridge with the aspiration of its customers.

This act squares the circle of consumer democracy – the provision of what the customer wants and in so doing being economically profitable. Of course this achievement was easier with the success and positive imagery and publicity Chapman and Lotus achieved.

Slotting into Place: Lotus in the Grove

The editors suggest the importance and attractiveness of Lotus in the public’s estimation is due to the following:-

  • Outright success and achievment at highest level of international motorsport
  • The brand had international appeal ; was exported and known throughout the world not least in USA, Europe and Australia
  • That Lotus manufactured road cars and the public could identify with the marque, its owner and racing programme
  • Lotus was British and cultivated national pride it also represented the triumph of innovation over brute force power and money
  • The above was reinforced by the British drivers like Jim Clark and Graham Hill who were World Driver Champions for Lotus
  • The Lotus cars had presence , drama, visual appeal, aesthetic and articulation –important in young minds helping understand form and function
  • The factors mentioned filtered through into aspiration and desire for ownership, for many the Scalextric set was a training , preparation and transition stage
  • All of the above was inseparable from the drama, glamour, danger, technology, glitz and celebrity of motor racing –Lotus seemed to possess it all

Lotus Representation by Scalextric

The editors have deducted that the following list of Lotus cars have been modeled for slot car racing /Scalextric. There may be others; we would be pleased to discover more.

The extent and spread of models suggests the enduring appeal of Lotus and of course their near continuous place in the vanguard of international motor racing.

Lotus were coincidently entering international GP racing with the growing popularity of Scalextric. In the nations mind was the recent success of Vanwall on which Colin Chapman had provided consultancy. Both marques featured in early sets.

  • Indianapolis car
  • 16
  • 21
  • 72
  • 72 various liveries
  • 77
  • Indianapolis Type 38
  • Formula Junior
  • 25
  • Lotus Honda /Honda turbo
  • 98 T and Renault 98T
  • F2
  • 99T
  • Indianapolis Turbine [possibly non UK model?]
  • 79
  • Seven
  • 40 [possibly adapted from other kit]

And recent Caterham /Lotus Seven

Lotus GP F1

This image is of the early Lotus GP /F1/2 car and complementary figure set to add scale and realism.

Scalextric, Jim Clark and Lotus: Catalogues of Achievements in the Lap of the Gods

There could be no greater testimonial/ endorsement of the product than by multiple World Champion, Jim Clark. Furthermore with the inclusion of the appropriate Lotus model participants could maximize the realism of their participation.

It’s possibly no coincidence that Scalextric perhaps reached its zenith in the mid/late 1960’s along with Clark’s, Hill’s and Lotus achievement in quick succession.

Both men were greats with charismatic and ambassadors of the sport and the nation.

Jim Clark was perhaps more idolized because of his natural talent, modesty and relaxed driving style. He was hero to many and he deserved their adulation.

Though the Scalextric sets participants could readily identify with their heroes and the sport was brought within the means of the many often operating through organized clubs etc.

The graphic art of the Scalextric sets deserves attention. The editors have not been able to identify the commercial artist but in the era before commercial photography their portrayal helped sell the sets.

The box art touched a nerve and resonated with the participants. The psychology that the artists reached was placing the participants in the driving seat .It increased participation and feelings of realism and direct competition that other more passive models could never achieve.

The box art was an extremely important invitation to the speed drama danger excitement of motor racing and when combined with the identification of Jim Clark exercised powerful attraction, desirability and engagement.

We recommend a full study of the art work used .Some subscribers might like to relate it to our series on the fine Art of Motor Sport.

In the examples mentioned its Lotus that is used as the banner, torch and imagination trigger to identify the product – no mean achievement?

Scalextric 1

The cover to this Scalextric catalogue, features Jim Clark driving a Lotus. It reflects their achievements in World Drivers and Constructors Championship .The catalogue contained a testimonial/ endorsement from Jim Clark. “The only model racing system officially approved by Jim Clark –World champion Racing driver]

Scalextric 2

The 1966 catalogue 7 front cover put the reader behind the wheel of Jim Clark’s Lotus.

Scalextric 3

This is the 16th edition catalogue of 1975 with JPS Lotus on the cover

“Feelin Groovy”-slot car racing in America

In 1966 Simon & Garfunkel released “Feelin Groovy” and the strap line “slow down you move too fast”. The time, mood, popular culture, music and sporting events overlapped. These lyrics could apply to slot car racing in America. As we have noted Scalextric/slot car racing was possible at its zenith during this period. The editors have chosen this published article to reflect the American dimension. Extracts from the following net article explain significance:-

The Short Story – by johnford@2fords.net

Scale Auto Racing News Magazine – http://www.scaleautoracing.com
Reference credits to: Rocky Russo, the late Jose Rodriguez, Phillippe de Lespinay, Dieter Bollinger.
Photo credits to: Heidi Gravius, Jeff Davies, Mark Gussin, and John Ford.

The question is “Where did slot car racing come from”? I’ll try and answer that with this short article.

Slot Car Championship

Slot car racing was so popular in the 1960s that special racing events were televised live nationally on shows hosted by Mike Douglas, Steve Allen and Johnny Carson.

Even Ed Sullivan hosted a nationally televised high-stakes race with slot cars which featured the top racing drivers of the day, including Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, and Dan Gurney. It was a very amusing race. As with most novice slot car racers, the cars  spent as much time off the track as on and the flights the little cars  went on when barreling too fast through a corner were very impressive.


Prior to the “Golden Years”, the foundation of our hobby was already in place. Car Model magazine did a survey of slot racing in 1964. Their results showed that there were some 15 manufacturers that reportedly did 100 million in sales in 1963. At that time, hobby shops rated trains as their number one seller. After that time, they reported that trains were second behind slot car sales. 1966 through 1968 were the “golden” years. There were reportedly some 20,000 commercial tracks in operation involving almost every town in America. Tracks such as AMF’s American and Stan Engleman’s Hi-Speed and Altech were in great abundance. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Slot Car Racing was EVERYWHERE, even on prime time TV!

It may seem like a small thing, but one of the real changes that affected racing was the invention of the Dynamic guide. This is the father of every guide in use today. Until this guide, there was no standard. Braid was cut from strips and screw mounted to the guide. With the new Dynamic guide, braid came with clips that plugged into the front of the guide. The guide itself was secured to the drop-arm by collets or nuts. The modern flag is just a modification of this original idea.

During the 1960’s Lotus were making a big impact through appearances in TV programmes such as the Avengers [ see A&R articles] , through racing , the engagement of American drivers and of course the success and disproportionate publicity attracted to Lotus-Ford winning Indianapolis with Jim Clark.

The 1960’s America also witnessed the greater involvement in GP racing with the likes of Dan Gurney with Eagle and of course the large capacity American manufactured V8 engines used in Can-Am where both American and European marques competed against each other.

Scalextric were quick to respond to these opportunities and soon Indianapolis Lotus were issued along with Chaparral. In doing so they were able to extract commercial advantage in Britain through Lotus and Jim Clark but also in America.

Scalextric model

This Scalextric model represents a Lotus Indianapolis car; image from the net.

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

The editors believe the following exhibitions and competitions might be attractive with educational opportunities:-

  • “Slotting into Place” photographic record of Scalextric with product images and celebrities in period
  • “Lap Counter “historic tracks and races reconstructed with team competitions –special reference Lotus achievements like the Type 25, 72 and Indianapolis
  • “Track Pass”- then and now Lotus on track
  • Lotus – the models and manufacturers

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we can tap directly and borrow from the acknowledged attributes of Scalextric:

Simon Kohler writing in Scalextric 4th edition stated:

“Scalextric has the enviable attribute of being a game which keeps children happy occupied for many hours .Together with this it enjoys a fine reputation for all-round robustness and durability.

Many parents take pride in watching their children develop, and seeing their coordination and abilities improve .Scalextric stimulates quick reactions and good timing: both qualities requiring great concentration and imposing real demands upon skill of each participant. As with any really good game or hobby there is always scope for further self-improvement…………interest in Scalextric does not stop at mastering the ability handle cars well, it reaches beyond that. Youngsters  son become interested in the more technical aspects of their models .Repairs and modifications begin to take on a different meaning becoming , in themselves , a part of the hobby ………..”

We have noted many exhibition opportunities exist around Scalextric .In addition further curriculum learning opportunities exist such as:-

  • Evaluate the importance of Marques like Lotus to toy/model makers inluding the size and nature of the industry
  • List games/ toys with strong learning content – identify skills needed
  • List other toy manufacturers who have portrayed Lotus
  • Identify 5 -10 of the most exploited motorcars used by model makers; what contributed to the selection
  • How and why do marque/manufacturers cooperate with toy makers
  • Study the science of electric cars
  • Suggest ways in which Scalextric can be used to teach science subjects


From pole position to pole to pole Lotus through Scalextric has raced in the hands, minds hearts of a large proportion of the world’s population. Lotus has been represented within Scalextric for four decades and six if we include the more recent entry of the Seven and Caterham.

Scalextric is an internationally respected product within which Lotus has been very much a strong sales and identification feature being the standard bearer and personification of motor racing greatness. It has resonated with purchasers and is a reflection of aspiration and identification that has captured the imagination with its youth, idealism, ideas, ambition and achievement.

We have noted that Scalextric has become a generic word and Lotus has underpinned this fine reputation and helped provide the association on which its drama and success has been based.

It’s a measure of the Lotus reputation that it was been as wholly adopted as totem of the best. Furthermore its sponsors have enjoyed a further dimension of exposure as result offering and extending the value for money.

As mentioned the A&R has several Lotus orientated Scalextric pieces and we are proud of these.

Scalextric has a proud international reputation as brand, toy, game, hobby and sport. It has entered the annals and its widespread acceptance seen it abbreviated into generic acceptance. This reputation is partly due to Lotus that imparted much of the identification required to be successful and we perhaps ought not to overlook that in many respects Lotus is near household name brand and it too has generic association. Both in their own fields have made a mark on the popular cultural landscape.

We see Scalextric has having great potential for competition and learning opportunities in the event the proposed CCM&EC be established. Furthermore the nature of the product is that it is accessible to many disabled people and we support it for its facilitating, enabling role.



Scalextric 4

Scalextric: The Ultimate Guide. [8th Edition]Norman & Gilham]

ISBN: 9780955449918

Over 700 pages providing a complete catalogue, full history and fresh photography.
Limited Edition of 3000 with each book uniquely numbered

Originally published in 1981, Roger Gillham’s classic guide to the world of Scalextric has become known as the essential aid to all Scalextric enthusiasts, This New Book supersedes all 7 previous editions, with a brand new classification listing and a massive gallery of cars, sets and accessories produced. Special effort has been taken to document and photograph items seldom seen, limited and unique cars, bound in to one large volume with a limited edition print run of only 3000. This New Limited Edition, will without doubt, continue the book’s reputation as the gold standard of the story, history and product reference work of Scalextric. Interested in racing or collecting Scalextric? Then, you should not be without this reference work.

Scalextric: The definitive Guide.Gillham.Foulis.1981

ISBN: 1844250342

Scalextric.Green.Harper Collins.2001

ISBN: 0007134315

Scalextric-4th Edition.Haynes.1998.

ISBN: 1859604323

The A&R has a Scalextric set, Lotus cars and trackside buildings

Lotus Collectables.Taylor&Glasius.Coterie.2000.

ISBN: 1902351010

3. Scale Model Car Reviews

SUBJECT: Caterham Seven [Tamiya Kit # 10202]

Caterham 7 Tamiya

SCALE: 1:12


This is an alert as sadly the A&R has not been able yet to acquire one of these fabulous models. We are therefore unable to provide the comprehensive analysis as usual. However there is information on the net and we have incorporated details here.

We believe this Tamiya kit to be extremely attractive and saw merit it in bringing it to subscribers attention.

Our interest has been stimulated by the quality and leaning opportunities provided by other Tamiya Lotus subjects in the A&R including the Seven, 72 and 79 in large 1/ 12 scale.

The editors place considerable importance on education and have a high regard for models such as these that permit skills to be acquired across the board. No one can really handle such a detailed model without marvelling at Chapman’s concept, its packaging and form and function.

We know that Tamiya share these values and they have invested these pieces with extraordinary detail and realism. We really recommend that every prospective designer explore this design and model first hand as there can be few better examples of problem resolution form and function , ergonomics and direct self-expressed articulation.The Seven mustbe one of the finest minimalist vechicles ever ceated

Details of Tamiya Caterham

The following pictures and information are from the net.

Caterham 7 Tamiya 2

This photograph helps explain the parts and the whole and why it is such an educational piece to assemble

Nose cone, cycle fender and rear cowling finished with carbon pattern. Comes with mini-light type die-cast wheels, aluminium air funnel and pre-painted front and rear springs.


It’s believed that both fully assembled and kit are available.

This Masterworks series fully assembled Caterham Super Seven BDR is one of the most superb 1/12 scale models available!


  • Separate bare aluminum bonnet with louvers
  • Royal blue cloth seat belts with foam pads, metal clips and buckles
  • Ultra-detailed engine compartment with vinyl tubing
  • Bare aluminum muffler and chrome exhaust pipes
  • Chrome roll bar
  • Metal see-through grille
  • Steerable front wheels
  • Accurately treaded Goodyear tires with alloy-looking Super 7 wheels
  • Realistic black bucket seats with headrests
  • Accurate headlights, tailights and emblems
  • Black velour-like carpet
  • Black rubber-like tonneau cover
  • Realistic dashboard and wipers
  • Authentic spare tire mounted to the rear
  • Windshield with bare aluminum frame
  • Includes high quality display case with photo etched nameplate
  • Includes toolkit: dust cloth, wrench, and screwdriver

The lightweight, sporty Caterham Super Seven has drawn fans from all over the world. Among a rich variety of Super Sevens, the BDR model made its debut in 1993 and became the flagship of the Seven series. This assembly model kit authentically recreates that winning car right down to the finest details. 1/12 scale; overall length 265mm; overall width 132mm; overall height 84mm.

Wide Variety of Materials Captures Realism
The hood, side-panelling, etc. are made of aluminium, just like the real vehicle. Featuring a carbon fiber patterned nose cowl and fenders, metal front grille, roll-bar and muffler and a six-point seat belt made of cloth, the materials have been kept as close as possible to that of the actual BDR.

Screws Abundant in Assembly

Aluminium body panels are screwed on to the space frame one by one. The construction features the attaching of the suspension arm, the mounting of the engine and the screwing on of the wheels with four hexagonal nuts. Since almost all of the parts use screws for assembly, you can experience the production process of an authentic BDR.

Moveable Front and Rear Suspension
Suspension arms and deDion tubing are die-cast metal. Coil springs are attached to dampers by metal brackets and screws, permitting mobility. Also, just like the real vehicle, the rack and pinion mechanism interlocks with the steering wheel, enabling the front wheels to turn.

Authentically Recreated Cosworth BDR Engine
Rubber timing belt, sponge air-cleaner and metal exhaust pipe all heighten feeling of authenticity. Piping and wiring such as the oil line and ignition cable have been recreated with precision.

Caterham 7 Tamiya 3

This photograph from the net gives some idea of quality, attention to detail, realism and varying textures, finish of materials and components


The editors believe that any of our subscribers wishing to assemble the Tamiya Caterham might like to study some background information that may assist and inform them. Although its highly likely that both history and specification will be known additional reading can increase appreciation .The editors suggest a range of items held within the A&R which includes:

Caterham 7 Tamiya 4

This contains a 10 page article along with detailed elevation pictures and attractive cutaway drawing. See also below references.


At the other end of the scale the A&R holds a couple of Tamiya plastic models of the Lotus Seven in 1:24 scale. Please see previous review of this piece.

Lotus 7 model

This nice quality but small scale 1:24th is worthy of building. Note other good photographs available on the net.

Purpose and Function of Scale Models.

They permit the following with relative ease.

  • Affordable and collectable in relative volume
  • Easily and attractively stored or displayed
  • Provide near infinite groupings by theme or function etc. including benchmarking and peer comparison
  • Relative scale permits realism and reliable body shape contour
  • The evolution of the marque to be studied and traced
  • Value to artist and draftsmen / designers – opportunity for tactile analysis of form and function.
  • Value to students of coachwork design
  • General value to the automobile enthusiast
  • They provide inspiration to child and adult increasing their appreciation of design.
  • They offer meaningful learning opportunities integrating design, construction, and attention to detail, patience and timetabling.
  • They are examples of a branch of design and model engineering worthy of study in their own right.

Exhibitions, Economics and Education

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular it’s intended to have a range of scale models and books/publications supporting model making / detailing for various age groups ranging in complexity and price.  These will be consistent/ complementary with exhibitions and permanent displays. Furthermore they might serve to encourage students and visitors to examine exhibits for minute detail that they can incorporate in the construction/ customisation of their models. There are many models and manufactures to choose from and the proposed museum can retail collector’s items alongside contemporary subjects.

The education opportunities present within this Tamiya piece invite competitions to build and detail and it’s to be hoped that examples might be on display.Futhermore the model might be used positively to analyse form and function and be the basis of educational study and exercises.

If any of our subscribers have completed the assembly of this kit we invite them to share their experience and photographs where possible.


Lotus Caterham Seven R300.R500.Unique Motorbooks.

ISBN: 1841553778

The Encyclopaedia of Super Cars.No.87.Orbis .1992.

See A&R articles on the Seven with their extensive bibliographies.

Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.

*Items in italics non A&R library books.

4. Newest Acquisitions to A&R Library / Book Review

Date: 08/12/2015
Author: Compiled Olyslager Organisation
Title: The Observer’s Book of Automobiles
Publisher &Date: Frederick Warne.1974
ISBN: 0723215278
A&R library copy: Yes


The editors were prompted to write a brief review on acquiring a 1974 edition of Observers Book of Automobiles. We have about half a dozen mainly from the 1960’s.

This is an alert rather than a full blown review which is really self-explanatory with this book series.

It’s easy to overlook this series but they have a use, are convenient in several ways, inexpensive, reasonably comprehensive and consistent format. The editors use them often in conjunction with price relativities and our social history series and overall context.

Of course Lotus is documented.

The 1970’s were possibly not the best decade for the automobile caught in times of world economic crisis and petrol turmoil. Aesthetics were often dubious and quality was possibly at its lowest.

However these small pocket size volumes can be used to advantage .They are good for:

  • Benchmarking
  • Studying snapshots of society and fashion etc.
  • Examination of manufacturers product range and marketing strategy etc. and responses to world events
  • Studying manufactures history and which models have enduring appeal
  • Students of coachwork are able to make comparisons/study trends etc.
  • Some technical study is possible in an era of transition from front engine rear wheel drive to greater priority of transverse front engine /front wheel drive
  • It’s possible to study a few of the lesser known marques and their continuum

Each model is described consistently with the following statistics/ criteria:-

  • Photograph of vehicle
  • Manufacturers and model name /designation
  • Abbreviated engine detail
  • Brakes
  • Capacities
  • Carburettors
  • Chassis
  • Clutch
  • Dimensions
  • Engine -8 components
  • Final drive
  • Steering
  • Suspension –front /rear
  • Transmission
  • Tyres
  • Weight
  • Notes brief details as appropriate

The editors mention just a brief selection but which show considerable variety and a few models not generally recorded.

Notable entries:

  • AC                  3000
  • BMW              3.0 CSL
  • Citroen           SM
  • Ferrari                        365 GT4 2+2
  • Fiat                 126
  • Fiat                 X1/9
  • Ford                Escort RS2000
  • Ginetta           G21
  • Iso                   Lele
  • Jensen           Healey
  • Jensen           Interceptor III
  • Lamborghini Countach
  • Lotus             Plus2S 130/5
  • Lotus             Europa Special
  • Maserati         Merak
  • Mini                850
  • Monica           590
  • Morgan          Plus 8
  • NSU               Ro80
  • Pontiac          Trans Am
  • Porsche         911 Targa
  • Renault          4
  • Renault          5TL
  • Rover             Range Rover
  • Saab               96
  • Scorpion        K19 Sports Coupe
  • De Tomaso    Pantera
  • TVR                3000M
  • VW                  Porsche 914

It would be a bonus if retail prices could be included but we have other sources for this if required.

Possibly the main advantage of this series is the ease and speed of obtaining data from which further research can proceed.

If subscribers have a research requirement please contact us.

5. Pursuit of Perfection: Lotus 108 Recycled


This article is brief and has been prompted by the Design Museum holding an exhibition on bicycles and their significance.

As the Lotus Pursuit bike is a major exhibit the editors believed it provided an opportunity to revisit the 108 and provide some further interpretation.

Subscribers are invited to attend the exhibition [details below] as it ought to appeal to a wide audience not least engineers, product designers and sports scientists.

The Lotus Pursuit Bike has become iconic and features in many recent books.

The Design Museum Exhibition examines how Design and Performance interface. The Lotus Pursuit bike is a perfect example. Britain has proud record of success with boffins , inventors and cranks seeking advantage through innovation .This has taken various forms from cottage industry through to hard science that Lotus have brought to sport.

The editors believe that the achievement of Burrows, Lotus and Boardman have contributed to the recent colossal success of British cyclists men and women in international competition. It inspired them and offered confidence and pride.

The editors have seen many photographs of the Pursuit bike on the net /in books but no working drawings that  fully explain the layout so we take the opportunity of extrapolating what we believe to be the layout.

Subscribers might like to see our existing article on the Lotus 108/110 that will gear them up.

Modern Bike

Green Machine

For many the bicycle is considered the most efficient form of transport on earth. Its credentials are:

  • Healthy
  • Minimum materials required in construction ,many sustainable , low energy requirement in manufacture
  • High level of recyclability
  • Economical to own and run
  • Non-polluting , no carbon fuel
  • Little surface damage due to low weight
  • Small storage space
  • Reasonable safe [inherently accept for contact with other motor vehicles]
  • Easily personalised / customised and adapted to individual needs
  • Synthesis of body and machine; art/craft, technology and engineering, extraordinary efficiency vis input output

As concerns grow for the environment so do the interest and importance of the bicycle. Some argue that the automobile advantages are being outweighed

The bicycle in comparison is ecological, efficient and more sustainable and generally holistic when fitness and health are factored in.

It is perhaps totally consistent with the Chapman design methodology and mantra of mechanical efficiency delivered through theoretical application of weight reduction enhanced by aerodynamic performance.

 Lotus Contribution

“Burrows filed a patent for a monocoque bike frame in 1982 and by 1984 he had produced his first rideable monocoque………..The inherent strength of carbon fibre allowed him to use a single wing –shaped blade with the front wheel axle bonded into it , the wheel then slid onto this from the side [ same applied at rear]”

The suggestion is that an introduction was brokered that allowed Burrows to meet Lotus who saw an engineering challenge and opportunity to get into the Olympics.

Boardman was invited to be involved as rider and specific wind tunnel testing commenced at MIRA.

The editors believe that the primary Lotus contribution relates to the identfication of the critical component or obstacle. In the case of the racing bike it’s the size and shape of the rider along with the mechanics of cycling and the consequential negative impact on aerodynamics. As in the past having isolated this element they proceed to find a theoretical solution capable of realization. In this they defy convention and explore and test, measure and having established data then proceed to find improvements. Aerodynamics are so critical to FI is worth noting the comparisons of approach.

Lotus like other automobile manufacturers sought to exploit their reputation and connection with a merchandise range of up market racing bikes [see our previous article and below]

From the Design Museum Website. Exhibition Description:

Cycle Revolution at London’s world leading Design Museum celebrates the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every day commuting to Olympic level competition and looks at where design and innovation may take the riders of the future. This will be your last chance to see an exhibition at the Design Museum’s current London Bridge riverside location before the museum moves to its new home in Kensington in 2016. What’s in the exhibition? Highlights of the bikes on display include: Sir Bradley Wiggins’s 2015 Hour Record bike and 2014 World Championship Time Trial bike A number of Team Sky’s Pinarellos from the 2015 Tour de France, as well as kit and equipment from the team’s 2015 Tour de France win Sir Chris Hoy’s Great Britain Cycling Team London 2012 Olympic Track bike The Lotus Type 108 ridden by Chris Boardman at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games Eddy Merckx’s 1972 1984 Hour Record bike Francesco Moser’s 1984 Hour Record bike, loaned for the exhibition from the personal collection of Sir Bradley Wiggins The earliest prototype Brompton in existence A 1978 Breezer Series 1 A 1969 Raleigh Chopper. Bike builder’s workshop – showing the tools, materials and skills that combine to create a bespoke machine. Six independent British bike builders are profiled – Donhou Bicycles, Toad Custom Cycles, Hartley Cycles, Robin Mather Cycles, Mercian Cycles and Shand Cycles. High profile cyclists including Lord Norman Foster and Sir Paul Smith discuss their passion for cycling and hopes for its future in the closing film. – See more at: http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/cycle-revolution#sthash.ngf70VMb.dpuf

The last decade has seen a revolution in cycling, on a scale not witnessed in the UK since the Second World War. Cycle Revolution celebrates the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every day commuting to Olympic level competition. It brings together bicycles, clothing, accessories, equipment, film and photography to explain where cycling is now and where it might take us in the future. The exhibition looks at cycling subcultures through four ‘tribes’ – the High Performers who reach Olympic speeds, the Thrill Seekers who take on all terrains, the Urban Riders who pedal our cities mile by mile, and the Cargo Bikers who work on two wheels. British bespoke bicycle frame building is showcased in the exhibition in a recreation of a bicycle making workshop featuring artisans from across the UK. Cycle Revolution closes with a glimpse into the future of cycling – how it is changing the infrastructure of the city, and how architects, designers and urban planners are responding to the needs of twenty-first century cyclists? Enjoy the ride! Don’t miss the specially-commissioned Ben Wilson bicycle sculpture in the museum’s Atrium, cycling films in the 1.5 Gallery and series of cycling related talks and events. Continue the conversation on social media and feature on the exhibition’s Social Wall @designmuseum #CycleRevolution. – See more at: http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/cycle-revolution#what-s-the-exhibition-about

Bike Sketch

This drawing by the editor seeks to demonstrate the layout of the 108 Pursuit bike. The bike needs to be viewed in several angles in order to appreciate the aerodynamic advantage achieved with the mono sided layout. Head on the bike has an extremely narrow profile. Some observers have likened it to an essentially two-dimensional object. It must have caused a sensation when raced.

In the Frame

The specification of the Pursuit bike included:-

  • Carbon composite monocoque frame with arefoil cross section
  • Mavic full disc rear wheel
  • Mavic tri-spoke front wheel
  • Selle Italia Flite seat
  • Titanium steering column
  • Front chain set aerodynamic profiled


The seat post is nonadjustable and is totally integrated with rider physique. The clipless pedals are biomechanically efficient as are the handlebars. This image is taken from the net and offers one of the best interpretations of the Pursuit bike layout.

Chain Reaction

The achievement of the Lotus Pursuit bike was possibly not just the technology and construction .The editors suggest there were significant multiple and integrated interacting but mutually complementary forces at work. We suggest these were:-

  • Team work and collaboration between parties
  • Mutual trust and respect for complementary contributions , shared beliefs and disciplines
  • British pride , heritage and determination to return to form which includes the history of innovation
  • The significant specific and customized package that enabled Boardman to extract the very best of his mental and physical strengthens in the event. Of these the handlebar layout and result aerodynamic presentation to air resistance cannot be underestimated [see small diagram with working drawing above]
  • The dream and belief in the unproven and essentially untested
  • The maintenance of secrecy and testing in lead up to Olympics
  • It’s difficult to factor in psychological but its possibly that Boardman sensed the potential advantage and this gave him additional confidence and reserves

 Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  1. Identify successful British cycling athletes including men and women and branches of sport in which they excelled include Track, Record, Time Trial and Tour de France etc.
  2. Study famous British and European bike manufactures such as Claud Butler,Viking,Raliegh, Condor,Moulton
  3. Study bike component manufactures and history of technical improvements and weight reduction
  4. Study links particularly use of frame materials in both bikes and FI construction
  5. Consider designing bike in chosen category from mountain bike to city to utility
  6. Consider how manufacturers can harness technology and skills and bring them to focus out of their mainstream – consider role of fabrics for example
  7. Learn how sportsmen/women have capitalized on their success with product ranges –applies from motorsport to tennis , golf and cycling – what are some of the most recent examples
  8. Visit local bike shop and see range of products , performance , function and construction materials
  9. Consider visit to wind tunnel in order to better comprehend aerodynamic testing why are models often used –what are advantages /disadvantages?
  10. Study the mechanism of Critical Path Analysis and the means by which it helps identify isolate/ obstacles and refocuses on alternative strategies /solutions


This image is postcard from the Riverside /Glasgow Transport Museum and depicts the Lotus 110 sports bike. Also see The Lotus Book for pictures. Image reminds readers of commercial opportunities to be exploited from success.

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

Chapman and Lotus designed products from cars to bikes to microlights and boats that shared much in common not least performance enhancement through design. Considerable opportunities exist to present these in education, entertaining learning experiences.

The fundamental design principles adopted by Chapman and Lotus are embedded in the laws of physics and related sciences. What makes them exciting is how he turned them to practical advantage and earned competition success. There are considerable opportunities to demonstrate and interpret this.

A particularly appropriate Exhibition title might be “Chapman: Cycles of Conception; No freewheeling”


Chapman and Lotus have and remain a force in Performance Enhanced Design. They also are at the front of sustainability, both delivered through consultancy and direct product range.

Perhaps the time is right that many of the theoretical, conceptual achievements to given more prominent promotion and visual exhibition. Those privileged to witness the solutions/ designs will be inspired, enlightened and possibly go onto create sustainable wealth.



Author: Moore, Richard
Author: Benson, Daniel
Year: 2014
Interest category: Cars & bikes
Media class: Paperback
Classification: 629.2272
Publisher: Aurum Press, 2014
ISBN: 1781312346 9781781312346
Control number 1781312346
Previous edition: London: Aurum Sport, 2012
‘Bike!’ is a celebration of the racing bikes that have propelled champions to glory and the rest of us towards our own private moment of euphoria. This is the beautifully illustrated story of the artisans and visionary sportsmen who have

Modern Bike. Boardman [see book cover at commencement of article]

Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.

*Items in italics non A&R library books.

6. Questions from our readers

As I am an owner of a Lotus 47 (47GT21) and I’m starting to do a full 
restoration of my car, I’m looking for a copy of the original drawings of the lotus 47 chassis, suspension arms, takes, etc…

So I would like to know if you can help or tell me who can.

Awaiting to hear from you soon


 Editor John Scott Davies

Editor  Neil Duncan

Webmaster Jamie Duncan