Colin Chapman Archive and Resource March 2016

Newsletter – Number 56

  1. Badge Engineering: The significance of Colin Chapman’s Marque Identity
  2. Cam Followers of the Lotus Twin Cam Engine
  3. The Fine Art of Motor Sport
  4. Lotus: Flower Power in Carnaby Street: An Elan in Carnaby Street c 1967/1969
  5. A&R Library/Book Review
  6. Lotus collectables

All previous articles relating to these are held on the website.


1. Badge Engineering: The significance of Colin Chapman’s Marque Identity

Definition microcosm from the net

“A community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger”



This article is devoted to the Lotus badge /logo that Colin Chapman created for his marque in the early 1950’s. Lotus is one of the world’s most influential automobile marques.Its products and marque image are renown and indelible because of the ease in which they are recognized and represented.These qualities are born of  :-

  1. Track performance and success in virtually every branch of international motor sport
  2. Engineering innovation, and application of art, science and first principles relating to weight etc.
  3. Performance and handling
  4. The aesthetic articulating form and function and Chapmans dedication to engineering elegance
  5. The Lotus badge insignia celebrating the creativity , rational and determination of the marque instigator – Colin Chapman ;bearing in mind only a small proportion of marques could so identify with their creators

The Lotus badge has been in existence for approximately 65 years .This is a remarkable achievement for a relatively low volume specialist car manufacturer operating in a difficult environment.

This longevity and continuity is a function of the factors stated above and that successive engineers have retained the Chapman design mantra and methodology.

A Lotus owner acquires with his/her car:-

  • Significant heritage, continuity undiluted uncompromised dedication to engineering theoretical pure principles
  • Evolving technology materials and assembly consistent with the core values extended and advanced consistent with new research but serving the primary objective
  • A badge which in miniature is the microcosm and manifesto –a declaration of absolute engineering integrity and the adherence to absolute purity of concept and execution
  • It remains a talisman for engineering designers in the pursuit of solutions in their purest form

It is an important concept and design that extends beyond Chapman /Lotus enthusiasts.

Company logos are of enormous commercial value and are defended.

When Colin Chapman created his he had ambition and considerable responsibility for something he expected to be enduring. It was not an easy task seeing that he entered automobile manufacture quite late on.

In this article we will explore the background and context to this iconic image, the sources of imagery and assess its significance.

Since the Lotus badge/logo is of such aesthetic and commercial value we have treated the subject in some depth. We hope in the process it will help others conceive and develop an equally important brand image of their own whatever their business interest.

This article is of interest to:-

  • Commercial artists and designers
  • Entrepreneurs forming and marketing their business
  • Brand managers &PR, sales professionals
  • Automobile historians

Quoted from the net:-

“It’s nice to believe that cars are purely about performance — that what matters is track times and vehicle specs, not superfluous details like the assembly of letters that make a name. But it’s not. The automotive world works on many levels, even those that can be the most superficial. Every car bears a name and every brand has a badge. And that name and badge make a difference.

Behind the creation and evolution of automotive emblems there’s often tradition, folklore and mystery. So we’ve compiled a bit of history on the most famous automotive emblems — from Alfa Romeo to Volvo. We can’t cover every car brand, but we can give you the skinny on the major names. True identification in the sea of cars on the road is what every automaker wants, so let’s shed some light on how identification is best achieved.”

Sketch 1

Figure 1.The Lotus badge on a Lotus Mk.VI. Editor’s sketch

Nicholson writing in “Car Badges of the world” offers an interpretation:-

“the motor car has always carried its distingtive identity where the feudal knight bore his , proudly and prominently in front , where it could give friends comfort and rivals warning .if the focal point of the car has always been its radiator or grille , the centre of that is the badge……….this is the knight’s blazon where men look first………..the feudal analogies not as fanciful as it seems , real or bogus , is a fertile source of badge design [ Nicholson gives several examples ]…………the sources are legion .There are references to the makers other products [examples given] there is mythology for the deities  ………symbolism ……….play on words , very personal allusion  like Carlo Abarth’s scorpion which is his zodiacal sign , obvious sources like the ubiquitous wings or arrows ,symbolizing speed , or the makers initials ; and the very far from obvious –things which simply caught the manufacturers eye  as an attractive emblem and those wrapped in mystery ………..Some sources are cruelly mixed in one badge , producing  a horrible confusion ……….”

Nicholson wrote this about the Lotus badge:-

“Lotus Britain

The Lotus sports and racing cars grew out of a “special” built for trials by Colin Chapman. From 1952 it appeared as an Austin –engined racing car and began to be offered for sale in kit form with Ford and other engines.the Lotus was also sold complete thereafter it progressed to the most sophisticated modern sports and racing car designs, though still offering kit cars as well. The derivation of the name has not been revealed, and the three –sided lozenge that surrounds it and the monogram may have been chosen simply as a convenient shape. The monogram is of Colin Chapman’s initials –A.C.B.C; for Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman.”

Historical Conventions of Logo’s Badge imagery

Car marques have adopted badges as branding and as means of establishing identity.

This of course is function of communication. As the requirement for accurate and unambiguous communication and identity has existed since the dawn of mankind but particularly from the middle ages; this is a natural source of inspiration and provides many of the conventions adopted in badge design.

Some of the most important sources are:-

From the net:-


“A flag is a piece of fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design that is used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or as decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is similarly challenging (such as the maritime environment where semaphore is used). National flags are potent patriotic symbols with varied wide-ranging interpretations, often including strong military associations due to their original and ongoing military uses. Flags are also used in messaging, advertising, or for other decorative purposes. The study of flags is known as vexillology, from the Latin word vexillum, meaning flag or banner.”

Monograms [from the net]

“Monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a cypher (e.g. a royal cypher) and is not a monogram.[1]

Monograms first appeared on coins, as early as 350BC. The earliest known examples are of the names of Greek cities who issued the coins, often the first two letters of the city’s name. For example, the monogram of Achaea consisted of the letters alpha (Α) and chi (Χ) joined together.[2]

Monograms have been used as signatures by artists and craftsmen on paintings, sculptures and pieces of furniture, especially when guilds enforced measures against unauthorized participation in the trade. A famous example of a monogram serving as an artist’s signature is the “AD” used by Albrecht Dürer.

Heraldry [from the net]

The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets.[5] Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.

Though the practice of heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies exist to promote education and understanding about the subject.

Badge [from the net]

A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath (e.g., police and fire), a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple means of identification. They are also used in advertising, publicity, and for branding purposes. Police badges date back to medieval times when knights wore a coat of arms representing their allegiances and loyalty.

Badges can be made from metal, plastic, leather, textile, rubber, etc., and they are commonly attached to clothing, bags, footwear, vehicles, home electrical equipment, etc. Textile badges or patches can be either woven or embroidered, and can be attached by gluing, ironing-on, sewing or applique. Badges have become highly collectable: in the UK, for example, the Badge Collectors’ Circle has been in existence since 1980.[1] In the military, badges are used to denote the unit or arm to which the wearer belongs, and also qualifications received through military training, rank, etc. Similarly, youth organizations such as scouting and guiding use them to show group membership, awards and rank.”

Some definitions / associations of badges:-

  • Logo
  • Mark
  • Sign
  • Brand
  • Crest
  • Stamp
  • Device
  • Emblem
  • Ensign
  • Roundel
  • Shield
  • Symbol
  • Episemon
  • Insignia
  • Indicator
  • Trademark
  • Cognizance
  • Escutcheon
  • Identification

Trade Marks as Patents

It’s important to note that Chapman became a motor manufacturer fairly late on in the 20 century. Therefore there were established brands, logos and reputations.

The editors feel fairly certain that Colin Chapman knew of his conceptual and inventive prowess and that a brand name was important to commercialise these ideas.

The selection of his brand image therefore would take on a greater significance.

In registering a patent trademark it’s important to:-

  • Not copy something in existence
  • Achieve a recognizable distinction
  • Create an image more indelible than competitors

As we note this was not easy for Chapman coming fairly late onto the scene.

  • Most of the classical images were taken
  • He had little by way /or did not desire medieval or heraldic reference
  • The comparative field is restricted when we consider similar names / functions included :trucks/commercial vehicles, motorcycles, aeroplanes
  • The desire to export meant a name must compete internationally and be universally acceptable to many cultures not causing offence

Two of the authors mentioned in the references give us a clue to the statistics and competition.

Nicholson describes 130 designs and Wendel provides images of neatly 800 examples from 400 automobile and truck manufacturers.

He makes this observation from his research:-

“one point stands out above all others in regard to this project  the vast majority of automobile and truck makers never bothered to register their trademarks ………..we estimate less than 10% afforded themselves this protection”

We know that Chapman held patents and the editors contend that the name Lotus might have been a significant consideration for Chapman in this context.

Colin Chapman’s Lotus Logo

When considering the design of the Lotus marque badge subscribers ought to be aware that Chapman was placing this on his cars in the early 1950’s not long after the Second World War and when austerity was still inexistence. Demand for cars and competition were high .Chapman would have been aware of his main rivals brand image –these would include many prewar marques including Morgan ,Frazer Nash, Aston Martin, Bristol ,Bentley and exotic European marquees like Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati.

As in all periods of history there were cultural and etiquette norms in place .This era would have been more staid.

Chapman writing in the Lotus Story part 1 [Motor Racing, Nov .1954] commented

“The first car was basically an Austin Seven chassis and engine it was called Lotus too, but I am not going to tell you why………..I have been asked many times the origin of the name on my cars but that cannot be divulged for several years.”

Chapman was active in the 750 Motor Club whose badge we illustrate. His early entry and driving was in trials [see dedicated A&R articles to absorb the times]


In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s many owners built/designed their own cars for amateur competition. These cars were often listed as “Specials” prefaced by the owners surname. In the motorcycle world the term “Bitza” applied. Of course this was not ideal because:-

  1. By coincidence two competitors might share same name at same event causing confusion
  2. If Chapman sold cars and owners named them he would be robbed of credit and publicity
  3. A recognized name would garner publicity and generate sales and commence a beneficial spiral. The name Lotus rolled of the tongue and became a bye word easily identified and recognized.

If we take the word Lotus and look at definitions and proverbs involving this beautiful plant we might discover some of Chapman’s motivation in its selection. The Lotus is particularly symbolic in Eastern culture from Egypt to China and Japan. The editors list some of the qualities and proverbs associated:-

  • An Eastern proverb alludes to the fact that the deeper the mud in which it’s rooted the better it grows. Obviously an appropriate association for the post was off road trials machine
  • The Lotus is generally known for its purity
  • The ancient Egyptians used the Lotus plant as a stimulant and for medicine .It was associated with a zest for life , imagination and an irrepressible life force
  • Other definitions of the Lotus make reference to it inducing luxurious dream state of indolent  enjoyment and meditation

These qualities are readily identified with Chapman particularly the conceptual element and imagination and sense of making possible.


Figure 2.These are variations of the badge. Note the geometry of the layout and Siamese formation of Chapman monogram

The Badge

The Lotus marque badge has several small interpretations. The editors provide a drawing on some known examples.

The badge might be summarized as being:-

  • Circular traditional brass construction with two fixing studs –BA threads
  • The badge is slightly radiused and is therefore functional and sits better on curved surface –typical of front bonnet location
  • The diameter is approximately 56mmmm and its only approx. 4mm high. It was therefore acceptably aerodynamic for the era
  • The badge incorporates the monogram of Chapman including all the initials ACBC.
  • The cam shape is adopted which has powerful engineering connotations
  • The badge is enameled in contrasting colours of green and yellow. These reflect the national racing colours in force at the time. These two colours makes the most of contrast and distinction

The Lotus marque badge is aesthetically pleasing at various levels. It works well on unpainted aluminium bodies as was often the case with these built by Williams and Pritchard. It also works with painted surfaces as to owner specification and later standard production colours.

In his badge design Chapman communicated:-

  • His name as expressed in initials /monogram this was alike a work of art or sculpture
  • The name Lotus was given equal emphasis. This of course would engender publicity and distinguish his cars
  • The totality of combined expression/message gave the brand iconography and stated in microcosm unequivocally and indelibly the values and DNA of the marque.
  • This iconography is the equivalent of an emblem of authority. The declaration of confidence and timeless classicism augured for continuity and longevity.

The Lotus marque badge also remains attractive on Lotus derived cars and the modern generation. The timelessness is significant lending continuity and heritage and an essential correctness of the first conception.

On a Plate

Secondary to the marque badge, Chapman had the opportunity of marketing the brand with chassis plates. These were possibly informal in the early days for a variety of reasons. It was probably not thought cost effective in the early days to commission what probably required a minimum order.

Later of course as production increased and became mainstream both internal records for general accounting, servicing, warranties, insurance, taxation, exports, registration would demand more formal identification.

Lotus adopted a variety of styles and there was possibly variations .It’s easy to imagine that orders for chassis plates did not coincide with production demands and possibly difficulty in predicting demand .Changes of production location and separation of build i.e. between competent, customer race cars and production road cars possibly added to confusion and distribution.

Chassis plate

Figure 3.Editors sketch of one type of Lotus chassis plate namely Tottenham Lane era

The chassis plate drawn by the editor is typically simple and direct. It would have been appropriate and adequate. Later plates contained more information and possibly became necessary when:-

  1. Customers ordered a car with specified features
  2. A wider range of engines were available having differing needs i.e. lubrication
  3. When more cars were exported and owners / service centres needed printed information

Enamel Techniques [from the net]

“Cloisonné is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects, in recent centuries using vitreous enamel, and in older periods also inlays of cut gemstones, glass, and other materials. The resulting objects can also be called cloisonné. The decoration is formed by first adding compartments (cloisons in French) to the metal object by soldering or adhering silver or gold wires or thin strips placed on their edges. These remain visible in the finished piece, separating the different compartments of the enamel or inlays, which are often of several colors. Cloisonné enamel objects are worked on with enamel powder made into a paste, which then needs to be fired in a kiln.

Modern Process

First the object to be decorated is made or obtained; this will normally be made by different craftspeople. The metal usually used for making the body is copper, since it is cheap, light and easily hammered and stretched, but gold, silver or other metals may be used. Cloisonné wire is made from fine silver or fine gold and is usually about .010 x .040 inches in cross section. It is bent into shapes that define the colored areas. The bends are all done at right angles, so that the wire does not curve up. This is done with small pliers, tweezers, and custom-made jigs. The cloisonné wire pattern may consist of several intricately constructed wire patterns that fit together into a larger design. Solder can be used to join the wires, but this causes the enamel to discolour and form bubbles later on. Most existing Byzantine enamels have soldered cloisons, however the use of solder to adhere the cloison wires has fallen out of favor due to its difficulty, with the exception of some “purist contemporary enamellists” who create fine watch faces and high quality very expensive jewelry. Instead of soldering the cloisons to the base metal, the base metal is fired with a thin layer of clear enamel. The cloisonné wire is glued to the enamel surface with gum tragacanth. When the gum has dried, the piece is fired again to fuse the cloisonné wire to the clear enamel. The gum burns off, leaving no residue.

Vitreous enamels in the different colors are ground to fine powders in an agate or porcelain mortar and pestle, then washed to remove the impurities that would discolor the fired enamel. Each color of enamel is prepared this way before it is used and then mixed with a very dilute solution of gum tragacanth. The vitreous compound consists of silica nitre and lead oxide to which metallic oxide is added for coloring. Using fine spatulas, brushes or droppers, the enameler places the fine colored powder into each cloison. The piece is left to dry completely before firing, which is done by putting the article, with its enamel fillings, in a kiln. The enamel in the cloisons will sink down a lot after firing, due to melting and shrinkage of the granular nature of the glass powder, much as sugar melting in an oven. This process is repeated until all cloisons are filled to the top of the wire edge.

Three styles of cloisonné are most often seen: concave, convex, and flat. The finishing method determines this final appearance.[24] With concave cloisonné the cloisons are not completely filled. Capillary action causes the enamel surface to curve up against the cloisonné wire when the enamel is molten, producing a concave appearance. Convex cloissoné is produced by overfilling each cloison, at the last firing. This gives each color area the appearance of slightly rounded mounds. Flat cloisonné is the most common. After all the cloisons are filled the enamel is ground down to a smooth surface with lapidary equipment, using the same techniques as are used for polishing cabochon stones. The top of the cloisonné wire is polished so it is flush with the enamel and has a bright lustre. Some cloisonné wire is electroplated with a thin film of gold, which will not tarnish as silver does.”

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 [note the net images and logo listing are particularly helpful for these exercises]:-

  • Off the top of your head draw your most memorable automobile badge, emblem or script
  • Enumerate how many British specialist car marques have come into existence since Lotus. Draw their marque badge etc.
  • Enumerate the places on Lotus cars and derivatives where badge has been placed
  • List the merchandising opportunities that the Lotus badge has created
  • Study modern Lotus sales brochure and relate the distinctive badge
  • Identify some of the world’s most famous automobile marques and explain inspiration of the badge/logo
  • Consider which imagery quickly dates , which is timeless
  • Design an alternative Lotus badge compare with Chapman’s
  • Study font style for image message and visual clarity and suitability for various functions

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.

Many exhibition opportunities exist. The subject is extremely graphic and artistic. It blends history and iconography, tradition geography and science. Through these there are many learning opportunities accompanied by hands on learning /participation opportunities.

Britain has a wide selection of car marques including the specialist sector, there is the chance of comparison and evaluation. We consider some exhibition titles might include:-

  • Badge Engineering
  • History, Heritage and Heraldry
  • Badge on the Bonnet
  • Motto’s and Monograms: Modern mission’s statements?
  • Brands ,Badges and Banners


The editors summarize five significant aspects and commercial value associated with Chapman’s brand image. These are:-

  1. It has defined the brand for over half a century and helped commercial success. Directly and indirectly it has probably also helped the Lotus consultancy
  2. It has made the British specialist marque known throughout the world ;promoted British engineering interests and been emblazoned in the world’s media for its success and achievements
  3. It has provided heritage, continuity, status through enduring originality and most senses of the word Lotus have been sustainable.
  4. The Lotus brand image can be seen on its own as an aesthetic expression of successful communication. So correct in its conception it gains greater association with time. Many corporations live or die based on their corporate logo, some don’t get it right
  5. The Lotus logo conceived by Chapman is a true microcosm of engineering ideals and integrity. The editors believe this imagery was not conceived in a hurry or haphazardly. We believe that Chapman went to considerably trouble to ensure it was right. History does not inform us if he had others for comparison but it’s very likely he considered the sources we mention.

The Chapman legacy is profound. It is very much enshrined in is marque image.

We believe its inspiration will be value to all designers and those undertaking the responsibility of visually representing their organization.

Whether on the bonnet or in the lapel those that wear the Lotus badge can do so with pride. With profound understatement it expresses some of the greatest ideas and ideals achieved in automobile engineering. 


Car badges

Car badges of the world

Car Badges of the World.Nicholson.Cassell.1970.

SBN: 304933430

American Automobile Trademarks1900-1960.Wendel.Motorbooks.1995

ISBN: 0760300054

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. Cam Followers of the Lotus Twin Cam Engine

Where a Lotus manufactured part is not essential to meet use a mass produced part from the motor industry”

Tony Rudd’s “Definitions and Philosophy of Lotus’s Engineering Policy” 17.4.1975


This article is not a technical dissertation on the Lotus Twin Cam engine.Subscribers can find that elsewhere; particularly in Wilkins [see references below].In order to grasp some of the economics of the Twin cam engine its necessary to make reference to the Lotus Elan and the Lotus Cortina.

In this article we debate the importance of:-

  • Chapman the entrepeneurial facilitator
  • The significance of the Twin cam engine
  • Its flexibility and fitting within Lotus models and other marques
  • Related to above the form and function of the twin cam engine

The editors consider it helpful in evaluating  the Lotus Twin Cam and Chapman’s entrepreneurial sprit to refer to A&R Lotus engine themed articles:-

  • Lotus –Power Plants
  • The Ford Cosworth DFV
  • Austin-Austin Powers
  • MG-“T” Total
  • Ford side valve-A bit on the side
  • Cosworth-‘CosI’s Worth It
  • A Holbay in the Engine Bay
  • Coventry Climax and Lady Godiva-The naked truth
  • Ford Lotus Cortina


Figure 1.These item really reinforces the connections that Chapman made and converted to both a mass produced saloon, competition model and income stream

Background and Context

By the late 1950’s Colin chapman and his Lotus marque were automobile manufacturers and it’s probable that Chapman saw this as both complementary and a subsidy towards his Motor Racing ambitions.

However in his first significant venture the Elite launched in 1957. We are told by Crombac that it’s probable that Lotus were losing about £100 on each of these. A rethink was required, lessons needed to be learnt and significantly a replacement needed to be easier and cheaper to make and to be sold at a profit at a more acceptable price.

Therefore through 1962 Colin and his colleagues particularly Ron Hickman set about what would become the Elan [launched at Earls Court Motor show, 1962].They identified that a small open sports car [the most traditional type sold in volume] and the American market particularly California would be shape the product/ concept. If the car was to be small, compact, economical to own and run yet with distinctive Lotus performance a careful package would have to be sourced.

Taylor reinforcing this point explains in the context of the Elan:-

“Whatever can be said of the Elite it had been a salutary experience for Lotus. The monocoque body shell was an ambitious move and the Elite lost Lotus a lot of money. There was a better way, and Chapman saw it in the backbone chassis which would become a Lotus hallmark for years to come. It made its debut in the Elite’s replacement, the Elan, a model which was crucial to Lotus’ future.

Initially the idea had been to create  a low-cost  updated replacement for the Seven  , but by 1961 it was clear that in order for Lotus to remain profitable , it was the Elite which had to be supplanted …………overall its design had less of the Elite’s uncompromised feel and far more regard for production viability and costings”

Crombac explains the critical factor:-

“the crux of the matter was , of course the engine, and bearing in mind the success  he had achieved in the early days , using what was basically mass produced engines, Colin decided he should look to see what some of the big manufacturers were able to offer………. Ford had also recently introduced a new short stroke 1000cc engine , which on paper seemed attractive but was really not sufficiently powerful .so Colin took the decision to build a special twin cam overhead camshaft cylinder head to fit the block of this engine , entrusting the actual design to Harry Munday……..chapman discovered that Ford were about to introduce a brand new 1,500 cc engine , with a crankshaft running in five main bearings and therefore very much stronger .it was just what he wanted and the new cylinder head was quickly adapted to suit it”

Crombac also notes the very significant coincidence:-

“Colin went to see Wally Hayes to talk about the twin cam engine project, at just about the time he had been charged with the task of strengthening the image of the Ford range, especially with the object of attracting a younger market. The parent company, Ford of America, had been pursuing, that policy and were just about to launch their world –wide “Total Performance” programme , in which Lotus would soon play an important part.

When Wally Hayes heard about the twin-cam 1,500 cc engine project , he immediately conceived the idea of putting this into the Ford Cortina saloon car which was proving so successful in the family car market…………”

Taylor develops the concept details:-

“preliminary work was on the 3 bearing 109 E block until the Ford 116 E , 5 bearing block became available…………the head , pushrods, timing cover and water pump of the original ohv engine were discarded and then Lotus fitted its own aluminium DOHC head……..however the 100bhp [ i.e. 1499cc] was quickly superseded by the definitive 1558 cc 15 bhp version ……….

Initially launched …at the 1962 Earls Court Motor show , the price was £1495 fully built or £1095 in kit form………..the Elan attracted over 2000 customers in its first three years and its success almost certainly saved lotus from early demise””

Complementary to the Elan and sharing the Twin Cam engine was the Ford Lotus Cortina.

Taylor places the Cortina in context when he explains it was:-

“the forerunner of all this success was the true homologation specials, the Lotus Cortina…….the initial plan called for Lotus to assemble 1000 cars so that it could be homologated for Group 2 racing……the right power plant had already been devised in the form of Harry Munday’s twin cam head on the unburstable Ford 1500 Kent bottom end………production started in February 1963, the basic price being £910.” [Note significance that purchase tax was £190-2s-11d making at total of £1,100-2s-11d]

Taylor also suggests that 2894 models were produced 1963-1966 and that an Mk.II was built by Ford c 1967 and that an estimated 4032 were built.

“as for the MK.1 not only was it a resounding success on the tracks , providing Ford with the high profile sporting image which it sought so badly but it also gave Lotus greater financial stability”

Cam Profile

Engine design was not Chapman’s forte but he recognized superior /specialist abilities. He motivated, recruited or used consultants when appropriate. It’s important to appreciate the following engineers made significant contributions to the reaalisation of the Twin Cam. This proceeded through stages of outline specification/concept to working drawings, patterns, machining, ancillaries and assembly.

Haskell records the significant contributions of:-

  • Harry Munday
  • Richard Ansdale
  • Steve Sanville

“Colin Chapman’s contribution to the design of engines and gearboxes was relatively small as a designer, his contribution as an entrepreneur however was much greater ………… Chapmans influence inn these early stages was very great and he was as usual a powerful motivating force”

Design [for brevity from the net]

Lotus required a low cost, compact, yet powerful engine for the Elan, as the custom-built all-aluminium Coventry Climax FWE for Elite was very costly.

Colin Chapman initially chose to use the overhead valve (OHV) cast iron block 997 cc (60.8 cu in) Ford 105E inline four used in the Ford Anglia as the basis of this new engine. While the basic engine design was oriented toward performance (being of over square design with individual intake and exhaust ports that are not siamesed), 105E was by no means a performance engine. Soon the 1,339 cc (81.7 cu in) 109E for Ford Consul Classic became available, and most of the development was carried out on this three bearing 109E block.

To achieve the power required, Chapman commissioned Harry Mundy (of BRM V16 fame) to design a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) conversion. This comprised an aluminium cylinder head and an aluminium front cover and its back plate assembly containing the water pump and the camshaft drive chain. However, the 5 main bearing 1,498 cc (91.4 cu in) version for Consul Capri became available in time for production, and the design was converted on this 116E block, crankshaft and 125E Type C conrods.

After the initial design was finished, Richard Ansdale, as an outside consultant, provided the detail design and drew the plans needed for production. Steve Sanville, a Lotus employee, headed the production engineering team including Mike Costin, Neil Francis and Bob Dance, which incorporated the port shape modifications suggested by Harry Weslake, who conducted a flow bench analysis on the head. Keith Duckworth had already left Lotus, but was responsible for Special Equipment cam design, as well as the assembly of the first two production-specification engines, one of which powered Lotus 23 on its sensational debut at Nürburgring.[1]

Likely reflecting Chapman’s obsession (as an engineer, he was known to go to the extreme in lightweight designs) to save weight by using one mechanical part for as many purposes as possible, the water pump used the engine front cover as its housing, making water pump replacement difficult. The intake manifold was cast as an integral part of the cylinder head, making the later heads using Stromberg carburetors not interchangeable with those for Weber or Dell’Orto carburetors. These designs were unique then, and very few have followed suit.

Also notable is that the original camshaft was retained as an intermediate shaft driving the DOHC cam sprockets via a front-mounted, single – long – timing chain, having the side-mounted distributor and nearby external oil pump/filter assembly in original locations, requiring few modifications to the mass-produced iron block.

Originally, the engine had a bore of 3-3/16″ (80.9625 mm) and 72.75mm (2.8642 inches) stroke for a capacity of 1,498 cc (91.4 cu in) and produced approximately 100 bhp (75 kW) at 5700rpm. This compares to the original Ford pushrod 116E of about 60 bhp (45 kW) at 4600rpm.

After the initial 50 engines were contracted out and assembled by J.A.Prestwich, the specification was changed to a larger 3-1/4″ (82.5500 mm) bore, increasing the capacity to 1,557 cc (95.0 cu in). Only 22 of the 1.5 Litre engines made their way into road going “Elan 1500”, the rest being used on Lotus 20B, 22, 23, 26R as well as in Elan and Lotus Cortina prototypes and a LHD Ford Anglia mule, which, fit with one of the first prototype engines, had overtaken a fast Jaguar at well over 100 mph in the hands of Jim Clark on his way back from Goodwood to Scotland.[2] The 1,557 cc (95.0 cu in) displacement of the new specification allowed an overbore of 0.040 in (1.0 mm) as permitted by the FIA regulations, while keeping the cubic capacity below the new FIA 1600 cc class limit.

Twin cam

Figure 2.Editor’s photograph of Lotus Twin cam in Lotus Ford Cortina

Twin cam sketch

Figure 3.Editor’s sketch of Twin Cam installed in Seven. Note some plumbing and wiring left out for clarity and to simplify drawing

Form and Function

“Motor” Sports Car Road Tests featured both the Ford Lotus Cortina and the Lotus Elan in their 1965 edition.

They observed about the performance and economy of the Ford Lotus Cortina that:-

“Lotus modifications for the Ford Cortina 1500 engine are extensive ; a small increase in bore raises the capacity to 1,558 cc and a twin  camshaft cylinder head with two double choke Weber carburetors increases power output by more than 75% and torque by 33% in the middle speed is this tremendous surge of mid-range acceleration which makes the performance so vivid……..[they include a photograph of the engine bay with the caption twin ohc head two double choke Weber’s , four branch exhaust system and vacumn servo brake unit completely obscure the Ford origin of the engine….

And on the Elan they comment:-

“The performance is little short of phenomenal, not only through the gears and for tractability in the high gears, but for its complete lack of temperament …..this Lotus conversion of the ford five bearing engine is now well known , but the sight of the twin camboxes with their crackle-blue finish is still an exciting hint of power………”

In order to partly understand the economic dimension of the TwinCam subscribers might like to note that “Motor” in 1965 recorded a price of an assembled car as £1,436.

Twin cam sketch 2

Figure 4.Editors sketch drawing of the Lotus twin cam engine

The versatility of the Twin cam was that it was adopted in both road and competition cars in both front and mid-engine configuration. It excelled in diverse competition that included sports and sports racing through to international rally.

We include a selection of photographs and drawings as examples and we invite subscribers to explore further examples.

Bacon “Lotus” and particularly Ludvigsen “Colin Chapman” have some excellent photographs of Twin Cam installations uncluttered by bodywork. Ludvigsen devotes a chapter on engines entitled “Engine Enterprise” which is really appropriate. Not only does he include useful analysis he provides engineering drawings of engines installed in the chassis. One of the best is that of the Elan and it reinforces the totality and exceptional packaging of the Elan – the twincam engine, the backbone chassis and two seater bodywork.

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:-

  • To which Lotus models was the Twin Cam fitted, which was most successful and why?
  • Enumerate non Lotus adoption of the Twin Cam – what were advantages/disadvantages?
  • List other famous twin cam engines
  • Discover what is the weight of the Lotus twin cam engine and its physical dimensions
  • Who are the current twin cam specialists/ engineers and parts suppliers
  • Establish the production numbers of the Lotus twin cam compare this with peers
  • Compare and contrast the closest equivalent Coventry climax engine and the Lotus twin cam
  • Identify any reliability or design weaknesses / construction, how can these be overcome
  • Discuss the significance of the Lotus Twin cam engine on sales? Can you think of an alternative in period?
  • Debate “Chapman the exponent of added value”
  • Use drawing as template to construct cross section, produce 3 view working type drawing or add ancillaries. Consider how the design was suitable for various installations.
  • What sort of contract did Chapman negotiate to buy engine block as and in what volume?
  • Do you consider that Colin Chapman might have tried to persude Ford to build the twin cam in total and in volume and sell these to him?

Twin Cam in 23

Editors sketch of Twin cam in the Lotus 23 cf installation with that of Lotus Europa

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 Twin Cam engine provides many exhibition opportunities and ready titles include:-

  • Cams,Comaraderie and Consultancy
  • Cams on Camera
  • Block and Tackle
  • The Engine of Change :Chapman and the Lotus Twin Cam
  • Chapman’s Reciprocating Engine
  • Chapman’s Compound Engine
  • Chapman gets the Timing right
  • Mods and Rockers: Chapman and engine conversions
  • Colin Chapman :Engine Driver
  • Lotus and the Input-Output Equation

Many educational opportunities exist from mathematics to marketing. The editors consider those of Industrial Product design the most useful and relevant to emerging designers and entrepreneurs.


The editors refer to Colin Chapman as a polymath. We believe the achievements of this remarkable engineer exist because of his integrating and indivisibility of skills and aptitudes. These include his determination, creativity, resourcefulness, ambition, business acumen and personal charisma.

When these combined they made an indomitable spirit dedicated to finding solutions.

In our study of the Twin Cam engine we see the particular interaction of:-

  • Engineer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Industrial designer [seeking added value]

Because Chapman was without ego it allowed him to be totally pragmatic and the Lotus Engineering Policy quoted above reminds us of this focus on reality and necessity.

There were advantages and disadvantages to Lotus being an engine manufacturer in the early days.

Chapman created a specialist marque with an extreme added value and aesthetic .The fact he used a proprietary engine for many customers was a bonus. To these engines and certainly in the case of the Twin Cam he added value. In many respects the twin cam was a step on the road to outright manufacture. Its inclusion in international competition raised its profile and established a performance reputation and of course assisted sales both for Lotus and Ford.

This unit was fully appropriate, economic, effective etc. for the product, customer and times.

Many other specialist marques from around the world have made their reputations adopting and upgrading mainstream engines. Amongst these are Abarth, Cobra, TVR, Marcos, Caterham and Morgan and of course many of the current generation of kit car makers.

The Lotus Twin Cam was produced in relatively large numbers and powered an array of machinery –road, track, sports, saloon etc.

The Twin Cam is a particularly good example of Industrial Designers in the art and science, economics of creating added value through a product made effective and affordable.

Although with a few engineering weaknesses the Twin Cam was an effective solution and in its own right a significant piece of engineering architecture and aesthetics. In the editors estimation if fulfilled an engineer’s requirement of form and function and the Chapman design philosophy of effectiveness and economy.

The Twin Cam is one of the many occasions when Chapman brought into existence a significant product where he brought together his resolve to:-

  • Conceptualise
  • Optimise
  • Productionise

Subscribers might like to compare the gestation of the Ford Cosworth DFV and the Ford Lotus Twin Cam there are some interesting and powerful overlaps. In both cases Chapman brought forward engines that democratized and strengthened the sport and ownership of iconic vehicles. He simultaneously raised the reputation of Lotus and Ford.

In automobile history there are few that achieved or exercised so much improvisation at the affordable end of the market.


Lotus Twin Cam Engine.Wilkins.Brooklands.1988.

ISBN: 9781855209688

Legendary Car Engines.Simister.Motorbooks.2004.

ISBN: 0760319413

Classic Cars.September.2013.

Motor Sports Car Road Tests. Temple Press.1965


Colin Chapman.Ludvigsen.Haynes.2010.

ISBN: 9781844254132

Lotus .Bacon.Sunburst.1995.

ISBN: 1857781473

Subscribers might like to note we hold an extensive range of books specific to the Elan and Europa. Please ask for details.

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.

3. The Fine Art of Motorsport


At the A&R we are committed to examining Lotus and motor sport in the widest possible context.

We feel that all the nuances and indeed the passion and beauty cannot be understood otherwise.

In particular we like to discuss and analyse the work of artists that have embraced Lotus.

The machines are beautiful in their own right but the drama of the race and its associated activities are natural subjects for artists.

Furthermore there needs to be a more critical appreciation of applied beauty and representation. Convention and price has perhaps given some braches of the fine arts a place at the top of the hierarchy; Impressionism is a prime example but some motoring artists have been equally impressionistic possibly more so as they had to capture images that passed in a split second.

For some motor sport and representative art is considered inferior but we will hope to challenge this and perhaps place the art in a wider social context of our times. For some the motorcar has defined the 20C

In the 20C most of the arts have in some way deferred to engineering, many like the Futurists and Constructivists glorified the combination of speed and technology. In architecture and the Art Deco movement there was a desire to represent the modern and its associated power and speed.

The Bauhaus School was committed to the improvement of industrial and commercial   unification of technology with craft design and manufacture.

Through the representation of the car in fine art we hope to explore new perspectives and offer new interpretations and understandings. Along the way it will be appropriate to touch on marketing. Equally there may be scope to cross reference with some of the more creative writing related to the motorcar. Although perhaps seen by some as travel writing HV.Moton set out to convey word pictures of his driving exploits.

In this regular series we will look critically at a range of artists and their styles and indeed include some technical drawing .we will look at artists from the dawn of motoring to the present day. A brief article will also touch on the techniques and materials used by those artists we are considering.

The A&R have had support from the guild of Motoring Artists and in due course will cover their work.

The Internet has an almost exhaustive source of imagery and we fully commend that our readers use this in conjunction with our articles to gain maximum enjoyment and interpretation.

We appreciate that art is subjective and welcome suggestions from our readers as to artists they might like to see reviewed.

Two Art Cards by W.Sharp

The editor picked up a set of cards by W.Sharp [illustrated] Research on the net has not thrown up any details but we rather liked these monochrome works featuring Lotus GP cars.

JPS sketch

The full set includes:-

  • Jim Clark [illustrated includes portait]
  • JPS GP car possibly of the turbo era
  • Moss and single seat  Mercedes Benz GP car
  • Nigel Mansell

Word Pictures

All the drawings are in monochrome printed in post card size. No information has been included on the back.

The sketches are attractive and appear to be executed in pencil or fibre tip with wash? With these limited resources the artist has achieved considerable tonal contrast and succeeds in conveying mood.

Jim Clark

The depiction of Clark has a portrait of Clark wearing a helmet gazing slightly to the right. This is complemented with a sence of Clark racing a Lotus GP car [race number five].  Sharp has been able to communicate a considerable amount of atmosphere , the speed and movement and tension within the car as it corners is achieved with relatively few strokes .Detail is kept to a minimum.

Sharp uses shading effectively and captures the elliptical body contour of the car in perspective which is not easy. Equally the tyres and wheels have received little detailing but still provide an authenticity which sits with the whole composition and rendering.

Both images capture the moment and are deeply redolent.


The editors would suggest Sharp is quite accomplished .His rendering of the JPS possesses the same quality and technique present in Jim Clark.

The same techniques have been used .Depicting a glass black car body, tyres and suspension components is not easy. There is risk form is lost and shape colour risks bleeding into each other and getting either lost or confused.

However Sharp has used high lights [e.g. on suspension] and generally captured the foreshortening that perspective creates.

The car s captured in the wet and Sharp picks up the reflections on the track .Again the tyres are minimal but achieve the right elliptical profile.

The drivers head and helmet are correct to scale and the eyes and bridge of nose are just suggested. This requires confidence skill and dexterity especially when only suggested but gaining maximum affect.

Possibly the nicest touch in this work is how the water spray/splash /spray from the rear wheels has been rendered ; the intense white of the paper has been deployed to great affect again minimalism gaining maximum visual drama.

Moss and the Mercedes

In this image Sharp has sketched a portrait of Moss [wearing helmet] face on accompanied by a secondary view of him cornering the Mercedes.

The editors like the artists disciplined and simple approach [simple does not equate with easy] heavily reliant on tonal values to convey shape, form and function and speed!

In this work Sharp does not rely on the convention of air trails off the tyres but still succeeds in capturing the correct tension in Moss’s right arm as he corners at speed and fights centrifugal forces. Trying to represent spoke wheels especially at speed is not easy. They blur. However Sharp has excellent tonal control [variations] and these are portrayed in an impressionable split second manner.

The portrait of Moss is accurate .The eyes possibly the most difficult facial feature to capture are well executed with minimal strokes, tone or possibly pencil shading. Sharp captures the cheek bones and all the nuances and renders Moss immediately and characteristically, instantly recognisable as he smiles out.

Equally the rendering of the helmet with its delicate shading captures realistically the correct radius and double curvature. Note on a light background these requires considerable dexterity in handling and sensitivity.

Nigel Mansell

This image is in extreme close up and depicits Mansell at the wheel during a race and deeply ensconced with a modern racing car with only his head/helmet readily visible.

The composition is strong bold and strikingly diagonal; taking up about 75% of the frame.

The artist has caught all the main brand logos emblazed over the body. This is not easy when moulded over double curvatures, complex contours and perspective.

Although only using washes Sharp has captured the colour contrasts.

Mansell is not self-evident as his full face helmet masks his face.

The editors wonder if in order to paint in such minute detail the original might have been much larger and reduced for reproduction.

The rather unconventional composition has frozen out any background reference or context .it neither publicises  the driver or the car but it does illustrate all the modern sponsors [mainly Camel in this instance].In some small way it picks up on the ideas contained in Pop Art [ see A&R dedicated article]

Despite the detached restricted focus composition the editors rather like the extreme close up which makes the surfaces look tactile.

Exhibitions, Education, Economics

In the museum context 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.

We have noted that in general the automobile, motor racing and specifically Lotus has been the subject of artists and they have embraced the envelope which includes speed drama, glamour, excitement and equal danger of the subject matter. The automobile/racing has been represented in various branches of art from the commercial [including graphic poster] to fine art and sculpture.

The editors believe there is considerable opportunity for a variety of art exhibitions primarily focused on Lotus but also inclusive .It might be possible to feature Sharp.

Such exhibitions have both attractive merchandising and learning opportunities attached. Educational exercises extend through appreciation and application of technique to art history and technology. Art also plays an important part in school curricula and various exercises and materials can be developed possibly overlapping with arts crafts and technology.

Such exhibitions and education experiences can be fully integrated with film and related archive to ensure visitors of a totality of memorable experience; inbuilt with opportunities to learn and experiment with art on the spot.

In particular a range of Motor Racing prints, posters post cards, greeting cards, calendars and related imagery by various artists is planned. If possible it would be hoped to recruit an artist in residence who might conduct drawing classes and help student/ visitors increase their visual observations and aesthetic sensitivities


There can be no doubt that Colin Chapman and the designers he recruited were men of profound aesthetic awareness. This they incorporated in a succession of road and racing cars.

For this reason some of the greatest motoring and technical illustrators have selected to represent their work.

Therefore the A&R feel it incumbent to interpret his designs through the visual medium. Not only is this a highly cultured art form it presents unique learning opportunities inherent in observation and analysis. Not merely visual representation but also the development of the inner eye that sees potential within. This was one of the great gifts of Chapman.

If any of our subscribers have more information about Sharp we would be happy to print details.

Social History Series: Lotus Cars and Popular Culture.

4. Lotus: Flower Power in Carnaby Street: An Elan in Carnaby Street c 1967/ 69


The Social History series has been created specifically by the A&R to explore how wider social and cultural events and design interacted. In particular it seeks to demonstrate the extent that Lotus designs influenced taste, fashion, identity and impacted on the world stage.

The editor watched the BBC series the “High Street” and recently read the book.

In the book there is an extremely redolent black and white photograph * of Carnaby Street at the height of the “Swinging Sixties”. Physically to the foreground and in popular culture it self is an Elan. [ Reg No. NMY 97E]  [Goggle Carnaby Street and discover this image and explore many related period photographs and details.]

In this article we will examine and evaluate why the Elan had such an impact within the context of the era, the designers and fashions.


Figure 1.Photography by Henry Grant,”Carnaby Street Scene” c 1968 The Museum of London -see book refrence below Swinging Sixties.

Brief description of the Published Photograph.

To help set the scene/ context for article and for those perhaps unable to examine the photograph a brief thumbnail sketch might assist. The picture contains:

  • The deduction is that this black and white photograph was taken between 1967- 1969. Based on evidence of the Elan and known history of Carnaby Street. It’s possibly spring or summer. The hood is down on the sports car and the people are in light clothes .Its a daytime photo. The photograph seems to be looking south from the Oxford Circus end.
  • This is not an “art” contrived or composed photograph but rather authentic.
  • Identified boutiques include John Stephen [34] His’N’Hers, Ravel, Lord John Lady Jane and Irvine Sellars [see details above]
  • Part of the “character is that family business and mixed use still remains i.e. La Carretta [restaurant] Carnaby Signs, Ranjit Travel and Tom Cat
  • The street retains some of the earliest buildings but there is evidence of bomb or fire damage not rebuilt [no.37]
  • The narrow street seems one way and there are double yellow lines
  • There are cars in front of the Elan including a taxi [Reg.No 135 BGJ {4773}] a delivery van and part obscured Mini parked outside John Stephen.
  • There is milieu of people many walking in the road. Its not self evident if it’s a weekday or Saturday.
  • The Granada office building closes of the view to the south end [Beak Street]
  • Union Jack flags are draped across the street
  • At first floor level some properties have window boxes. These may be offices and there may be small flats above.
  • London would be smoke free but the tall houses retain chimneystacks and pots silhouetted against clear sky. The original gas lamps have been up graded.

British Design

Subscribers are invited to view the A&R article on this subject. Its very relevant covering the period 1948-2012.It also contains a detailed bibliography.

Subscribers might also like to see A&R article Lotus Design Decade where we explore in detail a social history of the decade and look at some comparative costs and wages.

Britain and specifically London in 1960’s

Britain experienced a post war baby boom. Children born in 1946 would be tennagers at the start of the decade and in their twenties by the middle period. This was a large demographic consumer base. Furthermore the full employment and relatively high standard of living particularly in London and the south gave youth spending power. Youth had their own values and perhaps the era ushered in “retail therapy”. The TV, media, film and pop music culture had a very strong British connection and emphasis. Much of the industry had its connections/ roots within London. Therefore by combinations London had a metropolis of a high youth population, easy accessible transport, a music industry of original musicians, and the production side, all bound together with a spending power.

In addition many of the most famous Designers emerged from the best London schools of fashion and design.  Retailers responded to the markets.

The decade of the 1960’s was something of a cultural Renaissance. Twenty years after the war the nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. It was also possibly inherently democratic as in the majority could buy in and participate. London was increasingly cosmopolitan and world financial centre. There was a revolution in fashion, music, literature and the arts. The opening up of mass communication allied to the arts movement magnified this explosion. The era was also slightly more hedonistic and permissive in the widest sense. Significantly from a sociological perspective there was the development of feminism and a higher profile male “peacock revolution”

Across Carnaby Street hung a sign that read, “Carnaby Street Welcomes the World”.

In the late 1960’s it’s suggested that Carnaby Street was the second most visited tourist destination after Buckingham Palace.

Simply expressed there was a youth market, youth spend and youth fashion.

It catered in turn for the mods and hippies.

This was the essence of the “Swinging Sixties”


Gear Guide

In this article we are looking in detail at Carnaby Street and fashion. The designers of this era competed to outdo each other with original and outrageous ideas increasingly flamboyant and innovative garments and accessories etc. The designers most identified with and directly involved are:

Carnaby 2

Carnaby 3

Figure 2. from the net:Carnaby Street c 1967 [ see ref below :”The British Invasion]

Street Name No. Boutique Name
Carnaby Street 5 to 7 The Village store
9 Topper
23 Donis
25 Mates
27 Irvine Sellars
28 Tomcat
29 Lady Jane
35 Gear
38 Male W1
39 Paul’s Male Boutique
41 His Clothes
43 Lord John
45 Topper
46 Trecamp
49 John Stephen’s Man’s Shop
52 to 55 John Stephen
Marlborough Court 1 Foale & Tuffin
5 The Button Queen
Marlborough Street 27 to 28 Carnaby Hall
Great Marlborough Street 34 Take Six
Newburgh Street 15 Vince
Ganton Street 12 Hat Gear
26 Palisades
Fouberts Place 15 I was Lord Kitcheners Valet
Kings Road 36 Men
84 Fifth Avenue
97 John Stephen
106 John Michael
122 Michael’s Man Boutique
135A Top Gear & Countdown
138 Bazaar
161 Dandie Fashions
170 Guy
201 His clothes
253 Chelsea Antiques market
341 Simon Shop
342 Gloryhole Boutique
414 Susan Locke
430 4.3
488 Granny Takes a Trip
Tryon Street 9 Just Men
Radnor Walk 47 The Shop

Foal &Tuffin                         Marion Foal & Sally Tuffin] both women were Royal College of Art trained. Designed “fun clothes” and had a shop in Carnaby Street. David Bailey might have featured designs that appeared in Vogue c 1962?

John Stephen                     [John Stephen] possibly one of the most significant figures of the 60’s.considered the “King of Carnaby Street”. He introduced young menswear and a high turnover of disposable fashion. Carnaby is My creation” was his claim. Its believed he may have had [remises in Carnaby Street from 1957/58 possibly starting with “His Clothes” The A-Z of London suggests he owned 10 shops in the street and 14 John Stephen boutiques for men too.

Jean Muir                              Started at Liberty and Jaeger c 1956.Between 1962-66 she developed her own brand known as Jane & Jane. Her designs were fluid timeless often-made in jersey or sued.

John Bates                          Started with Jean Varon in early 60’s. He is considered one of the decade’s most audacious designers. Attributed to him are brief mini skirts, trouser suits, cat suits, broderie-anglaise eveningwear etc. In the 70’s he moved onto long maxi coats and fluid evening dresses. Perhaps his greatest achievement is associated with the fashion he created for Diana Rigg in the “Avengers”. [See A&R article.]

Peter Blake                          Designed the Sergeant Pepper sleeve in 1967 and it’s believed that inspiration might have partly come from “I was Lord Kitcheners Valet” shop in Portobello Road whilst visiting with Paul McCartney.

Detailed Case Histories

Ossie Clark

Ossie Clark and Cecelia Birtwell are considered to have produced some of the most innovative styles of the sixties. They were at their peak 1965-74.They were based in a Boutique named Quorum in the Kings Road. It’s believed they may have had clients such as Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, the Beatles and Liza Minnelli. They new David Hockney who famously painted the couple.

Their designs included hot pants, maxi coats, gypsy style dresses, short zipped leather motor cycle jackets with wide collars and through the 1970’s long dresses with wrap round deep necklines and small waist.

Zandra Rhodes

Royal College of Art trained. Her designs from 1960 included chiffon scarves, caftans dresses with handkerchief hems, hand printed fabric and floating garments in silk or chiffon. In the 70’s she reintroduced a crinoline look referred to as “Conceptual Chic” she is also renown for clothes in Art Deco style with zigzag motifs in pale delicate colours.

Mary Quant

Mary Quant is an icon and very much an epitome of the 60’s along with her husband Alexander Plunkett-Greene. She trained at Goldsmiths College.

She is believed to have said “ good taste is death; vulgarity is life”

She was both influential and a visionary. She could vary between novelty and experimentation. Giving youth culture the trendiest, fun and fantasy it craved through its disposable income. She very much established the “London Look” associated with and instrumental in the creation of the pop culture of the Swinging Sixties. It was a mixture of arrogance, aggression and sexiness. She catered for young hip customers. Her designs revolutionized the youth/ teenage market in that they were inexpensive, and classless.

Although London based she was developing an International following.

She was a wonderful advertisement for her own designs.

She is identified with the designs of miniskirts, hot pants, and white lace up plastic boots. PVC plastic wet look rain coats, and the “Lolita” look slip dress, short pinafore dresses, skinny rib sweaters, coloured tights, hipster belts, sleeveless crochet tops and hats. Quant produced a makeup set known as  “Paint box”. [Smokey eyes and bob haircuts]. Later in her career she found further success with “Daisy” logo for cosmetics, shoes and footwear, household furnishings and men’s ties

From the early / mid 1950’s she opened Markham House as boutique and restaurant later followed by Bazaar in 1955? In the Kings Road. She started to create the Chelsea Set. This was followed in the early 60’s with a range of household goods

In c 1963 she was involved with the Ginger Group

[* see A&R review of Mary Quant’s autobiography]

Barbara Hulanicki

With Stephen Fitz –Simon founded Biba

The couple started with mail order and progressed to a boutique. Barbara had worked as an illustrator, having studied at the Brighton School of Art. With the fashion industry booming she started designing clothes for teenagers but would be in their price range too.she st up mail order which was successful .This resulted in her opening Biba in Abingdon Road in 1963.Later she opened her famous department store in Kensington High Street in 1969.

The Biba shop’s ambience was part inspired by Art Nouveau and the 1930’s. Overall decadent, stylish and lavish. It had an  all-black décor.It also became a tourist attraction.They are noted for their clothes range that included velvet trousers suits, mini skirts, unisex tee-shirts, floppy hats and feather boa’s.

Terrance Conran:

In his early career traveled in France picking up ideas. Back in London he helped establish the restaurant “Soup Kitchen” in 1955 assisted Mary Quant with her Bazaar boutique.

Its believed he opened Habitat in 1964.Expansion followed and branches were opened in Paris and New York.

Early habitat is remembered for its glossy mail order catalogue targeting young relatively high income couples. The formulae involved quality products immediately available and self-assembly. Habitat suffered a crisis in the 80’s.However Sir Terrence Conran has sponsored good British design and contributed to the establishment of the Design Museum.

Entrepreneurs and Related of the Era

Harry Fox and Henry Moss: “Lady Jane”

C 1966 First ladies boutique and equivalent of Lord John. Based in Carnaby Street sold kaftans with bells sown in. Harry fox was president of the Carnaby Street Trading Association and is attributed with getting the sign erected which read, “Carnaby Street Welcomes the World”

David and Warren Gold: ”Lord John”

Opened in 1964 and famous for the pyscadellic mural painted on their Carnaby street premises in 1967.

Ian Fisk, Robert Orbach & John Paul:” I was Lord Kitcheners Valet”

Based in period at 293 Portobello Road, selling antique military uniforms. It has been suggested the premises were inspiration to Peter Blake and Paul McCartney for the Sergeant Pepper album cover.

Tommy Roberts and Trevor Myles: “Kleptomania”

c 1966 shop in Kingly Street that runs parallel with Carnaby Street and Wardour Street. Specialized in Victoriana and Military wear.


Established in Carnaby Street c 1967 catered for the mod look. Characterized by razor sharp cur, attention to detail and immaculate finish.

Irvine Sellars:”Mates”

Typically flower power flares.


Shoe shop

Sidney Brent:” Take Six”

Based in Carnaby Street c 1964-72. Supplied showbiz clientele. Typically long frock coats with “Highwayman” collar.

Tom Slater: “Gear”

C1964 specialized in Victorian bric-a-brac.

Carnaby Street and Boutiques.

Boutique is French for shop. It was adopted in Britain in the 1960’s significantly in London. Its association is with elite, fashionable clothing and jewelry.

In 1960’s London the greatest concentrations of boutiques were in Carnaby Street, Kings Road and possibly Portobello Road. Some of the earliest might date from the late 1950’s. E.g. “His Clothes” by John Stephen.

Carnaby Street is situated behind the London Palladium. It is also close to Oxford [Oxford Circus] and Regent Street. There are a gaggle of similar roads adjacent like Great Marlborough Street and Beak Street.

This western end of Soho was developed around the late 1600’s and comprised tall terraced houses of London stock in the Georgian style. [And it was the ground floors predominantly that formed the boutiques in the 1960’s] local shops [some continuing into the 1960’s workshops and restaurants. The upper floors make have been living quarters for the shop owners .Its believed there was a small market in the street around 1820. The street is narrow originality just sufficient for a horse and cart.

It offered run down cheaply rented accommodation.

Certainly Soho had an established entertainment industry and in streets surrounding Carnaby Street there was The Florence Mills Social Club [jazz] from the 1930’s and Marquee Club in Wardour Street and the Roaring Twenties Night club nearby.

The street also saw the introduction of one of the cities earliest health food shop’s “Cranks”

Boutiques success was based on:

  • Small young businesses
  • Adaptability and speed response; close to or making trends
  • Operating costs low.” Up back streets” with low rents, and other overheads. Ambience suited to small more intimate interior that did not require large fronts or display windows.
  • The proprietor likely to be owner, designer, manufacturer buyer and sales assistant. Perhaps making fashion on the premises.
  • Publicity and sales by word of mouth
  • Place to be seen. Total experience and possibility of rubbing shoulders with celebrities [see below]
  • Informality and relationship between owner and customers; sharing so much in common i.e. age, taste, music, cultural values etc.
  • Pop music played within
  • The London “phenomena” sheer concentration, the crucible and engine. The physical proximity. A culture of for and by youth.
  • Impact of TV programs such as Top of the Pops and radio etc.
  • Low tech slightly improved version of market stall?

It’s an inevitable socio-economic phenomenon that Carnaby Street should blaze onto the world seen briefly. The landlords caught up, rents were increased. It was pedestrianised in 1973 and many other buildings nearly three hundred years old would be unsympathetically demolished and redeveloped. The boutiques relocated as is the constant economic migration and Carnaby Street would lose much of its ambience as only the “chains” that moved in could afford the rents. Today it trades on its historical connections and the modern equivalents moved to parts of East London typically Brick Lane.

Relative and Comparative  location and Costs

B’Name St.No Address Item Price Proprietor
Count Down 137 Kings Road 2-60gns J.Wedge &
/ Pat Booth
Quorum 52 Radnor Walk Underwear £1-3 Alice Pollock
/ clothes £3-30
Susan Locke 414 Kings Road Shirts £3 Susan Locke
Trouser Suits £20
Unique 56B Kings Road Dresses 3-15gns Eric Shemilt
VanessaFrye 6F Sloan Street £2-10-£35 V.Denza
Source “King’s Road” by Max Decharne c 1967
Same source quotes 1 once of hash costing £8
Comparative costs c.1975
House £11,700
Chelsea, London Bed/br £9.75 per week
New LP record £2 average
T shirt £1.50-£2
Pair of Jeans £6
Ticket to Hammersmith
Oden £2 average
show at Marquee,London £0.75p
Mary Quant rain shoes
“Quant afoot” £8 Acrme Attractions
As quoted in King’s Road by Max Decharne

The Names and Celebrities of the 1960’s associated with Carnaby Street

  • Sly and Family Stone
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Julie Christie
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Sammy Davis
  • The Animals
  • George Fame
  • Cat Stevens
  • Martha and the Vandellia’s
  • Peter Noone and Herman and the Hermits
  • Donavan
  • Joan Collins
  • Jane Mansfield
  • Roger Daltry /The Who
  • Twiggy
  • Cathy McCowan
  • John Lennon /Paul McCartney, The Beatles
  • Eric Clapton
  • The Kinks
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The New Faces

Cars of the Decade

Italian Super cars of the 1960’s were particularly aesthetically beautiful combining power, form and function in near prefect articulation. British hand made cars of the era were well engineered and beautifully crafted like:

  • C.
  • Bristol
  • Aston Martin
  • Alvis
  • Frazer Nash
  • Lagonda
  • Morgan

Other mass-produced British road cars tended to be rather bland. However the list below highlights the most significant models. Each in its way was democratic [their affordability meant they could be sold in mass market and to younger audience] they also were radical and possessed high levels of design ingenuity and complex engineering problem solving. Possibly for the first time they were unisex and genuine fun. This might be overlooked but was extremely important to the era .It contributed to equality. In the case of the Elan it decisively removed the exclusive male identification with the sports car. The smaller cars were also green and economical and are iconic and a bench mark. Sixty years on they have not been improved upon in many respects and continue to provide inspiration.

All of the cars mentioned entered the public psyche as they featured in TV programmes and therefore had worldwide exposure. They were cosmopolitan and sold to international markets. They became part of the cultural landmark and near obligatory backdrops at the highest level of fashion. They were British and directly helped sell Britain abroad.

Lotus and the Mini [through Rally] were also known on the World Competition stage.

  • The Elan
  • The Seven
  • The Europa
  • Jaguar E Type
  • The Mini and Mini Moke
  • Jensen FF

The Significance of the Elan and the Avengers.

There are not many drama programmes that are so redolent, representative, quintessential or emphatic of an era as “The Avengers”

It stuck a very precise note and sociological observation of the time. It exactly counterpoised and juxtaposed tradition and modernism. In particular it reflected the feminism and emergence of capable women like the designers mentioned.  The symbolism was heightened and accentuated by the casting and roles. The character John Steed represented the old school English Gentleman and Mrs. Peel the very emancipated and thoroughly modern woman.

Their characters were further polarized through the choice of fashion. John Steed deferring to Saville Row and Mrs. Peel, Carnaby Street and the designs of John Bates.

The final visual and technological allegiance was set through their respective cars. John Steed the Bentley and Mr. Peel the Elan.

We might question what other vehicle Mrs. Peel might have adopted to complement her style. The options might include:

  • Elva Courier
  • M.G./ Austin Healey Sprite/Midget
  • M.G.B
  • Sunbeam Alpine
  • Triumph Spitfire
  • Fairthorpe
  • Turner
  • TVR

The editor feels that none of these really matched as perfectly or symbolically as the Elan. The reason are contained in the specification of the Elan:

  • Sleek smooth, compact functional but elegantly integrated body. Compact dimensions. Ideally suited to London roads, traffic and parking but also unbeatable on A roads beyond the city.
  • Attractive rounded streamlined shape with functional/ futuristic but aesthetic pop up headlamps .Low set radiator. Moulded in bumpers adding function, practicality and fine flowing integration of form and function.
  • Overall sculpture and architecture sporting and purposeful, modern but not aggressive or excessively male.
  • Practical disc wheels and 4-wheel disc brake.
  • Wide doors
  • Boot and general internal storage and “packaging”
  • Purposeful hood and convenience [English weather]
  • Mystique and brand identify i.e. British success at F1
  • Technically advanced lightweight car weighing estimated 1500 lbs.
  • Practical and powerful sophisticated 1558cc Ford Lotus twin cam engine.
  • 4 wheel independent suspension.
  • British made at Cheshunt [just outside Greater London boundary]
  • Good comfortable adjustable seating with all-round visibility
  • Dealer network
  • Exceptional ultra responsive balanced, safe predictable handling capable of demolishing more expensive, more powerful and more established marques. Simple a dragon slayer.
  • Launched in 1962/63 [1962 Earls Court Motor Show] by the time adopted in the Avengers it had already established a track record but was fresh and futuristic as they come.
  • Simply stated a unisex sports car in which a woman could enjoy civility, sophistication, practicality, reliability, and safety and compete with men on equal terms. The Elan was a reasonably cost effective option at approximately / average of £1,500 in mid 60’s
  • The Elan was a total success. Its achievements both on off track. The package found willing buyers and it was commercially successful possible saving Lotus from disaster.

The Elan owned / driven by Mrs. Peel in the Avengers created a mutuality and self-reinforcing imagery. It was the ultimate in cool trendy, hip and now.

It caught and expressed the era, it made the era in the best of its idealism, optimism and applied technological thought. The Elan became a deserving icon that has remained until today.

The Proposed CCM&EC.

The proposed museum believes that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with an educational programme.

For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for the promoting products and services that are consistent and complementary with the Chapman methodology of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. We propose merchandising goods that explain the total context of Lotus in “period”, help interpret or articulate its wider cultural significance.

Written into our Business Plan are extensive proposals for associated period fashion, accessories, related memorabilia and items from significant Designers of the respective eras.


The A&R argues the case for the CCM&EC based on Chapman’s and Lotus achievements. We endeavor do this objectively with reasoned argument. In this article we believe we have imparted an evaluation that suggests the impact that was achieved on a global scale. The selection of the Elan for the “Avengers” TV series was not random. It was calculated and justified to promote the best of British design.

As such a car is not merely a machine it takes on greater connotations. The A&R consider that Chapman and Lotus helped create and promote Britain, engineering, design, motor sport competition, drivers and tourism. It did so in a dynamic sense and as such moulded and determined a culture of design , aesthetics and equality. It did so repeatedly over time and in the process entered folklore. The editors believe that such impact in a free market where it competed and defeated the opposition is worthy of greater recognition. Further more the extent of its influence is so pervading, its intellectual and aesthetic content so persuasive we believe that a museum is fully justified in every positive manner to promote  and inspire future generations of British engineering design and manufacture.

London was the birth pace of Lotus and some of its greatest achievements as evidenced by the 1960’s were based here, London is felt to be the natural place for the museum with the additional tourism benefits that would support its self standing commercial existence.


Fashion Sourcebook in the 1960’s and 1970’s by John Peacock

See A&R articles “British Design 1948-2012” &Social History: Lotus and Popular Culture. [The Avengers and The Prisoner]

The High Street by Philip Wilkinson.Quercus.2010

ISBN: 9781849164207

Boutiques by Marnie Fogg.Mitchell Beazley.2008

ISBN: 1840006218

The picture reference is Topfoto/HIP/Museum of London but also se various Internet sites including Les Enfants Terribles

“Revolt into Style” by George Melly

Lotus: The Elite, Elan, and Europa by Chris Harvey. Oxford Illustrated Press.1982


The Lotus Book by William Taylor. Coterie Press.1999

ISBN: 1902351002

Jaguar E Type by Nigel Thorley.Haynes 2001

ISBN: 1859608132

Mary Quant.Autobiography.Headline.2012.


The A-Z of the 1960’s.Ann & Ian Morrison.Breedon.1989


Kings Road.M.Decharne.Phoenix.2006.


Gear Guide.Johnson & Dunkley.Atlas Publishing.[May 1967]

Republished by Osprey.2013.

ISBN: 978190840251

Swinging britain

Swinging Britain.Armstrong.


London in the Sixties.R.Metzger.Thames and Hudson.2012.


The Sixties.L.Jackson.Phaidon.2000.


City of Westminster Carnaby St. W1.David Block. Ed by “Lord Kitchiner”.

Boutique London.Lester.Arts Collectors Club.


Boutique London

*Swinging Sixties.Breward,Gilbert & ListerThe V&A.2006


Sixities Britain.Donnelly.Longman.2005


Fab Gear.Hewitt.ACC.2009

Photographing Fashion:British Style in the Sixties.Lester.ACC.2009



Fifty Fashion looks that changed the 1960’s.Reed.Conran.2012


Day of the Peacock.Ross.GA.Ross.V&A.2011.


Sixties Fashion.Walford.Thames & Hudson.2013.


The British Invasion:the Music, The Times,The Era.B.Miles.Sterling.2009.



Time [The Weekly Newsmagazine] New  York,15th April,1966.



Date: 26/12/2012

Title: Lotus Twin Cam Engine

Author: Miles Wilkins

Publisher &Date: Brookland 2012

ISBN: 9781855209688

A&R library copy: Yes

This is not a review as its felt that the technical nature is not best communicated in writing. This work is of the “Haynes Manual” type and very significant.

The editors are unable to comment on the technical accuracy of the information given by Wilkins.

However we would like to alert our subscribers to the fact that it is available within the A&R library.

The book is officially described as: –

A comprehensive guide to the design, development, restoration and maintenance of the Lotus-Ford Twin cam engine………..

Comprehensive data and “how to” guide to the Lotus –Ford twin cam engine as used in the Elan, Lotus Cortina, Europa and Ford Twin Cam Escorts.”


“Part 1: Concept, design and development, including the Big Valve engines

Part 2: Dismantling, reconditioning and assembly. Includes information on fuel and exhaust systems plus running –in procedure

Part 3: Specifications and technical data.”

The work is of approximately 235pp and also contains two appendixes.

It is very well illustrated as imagined and contains both technical  detail and whole car pictures. There are also diagrams and exploded drawings, graphs, road test reports and information about carburettors and Ignition etc

First published in 1988 this work has been updated in 2011.

The editors respected Wilkins for tacking and devoting chapters to:

“Big valve engines –con or sales gimmick/ and

Exploding the myths.”

Although perhaps not many of our subscribers will wish to dismantle and rebuild a twin cam engine from this manual alone more will probably be interested in the history and development.

It’s well known that Chapman and Lotus used a number of existing engines until they developed their own. This allowed them to concentrate on what they did best. Reading this work will help understand context and perhaps wider issues of economics, competition, external dependency/ vulnerability and status.

For this alone the editors found it valuable.

In a forthcoming article the A&R will examine the use of bought in engines used by the specialist sports car makers past and present.

The Proposed CCM&EC

The proposed museum believes 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. Its suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular it’s suggested that the proposed CCM&EC retains a permanent library. That this is available for research and also as a commercial research service.

Additionally books can be retailed including both new and second hand.

Should any of our subscribers wish for more information on any book reviewed please ask.

The A&R editors are always receptive to suggestions for book reviews again please ask we will endeavour to help.

6. Lotus Collectables

Shell Helix Exclusive James Bond 007 Diecast Limited Edition Toy Car Movie Models (Lotus Esprit The Spy Who Loved Me)


Thank you for your support

John Scott-Davies    Editor

Neil  Duncan            Editor

Jamie Duncan          Webmaster