Colin Chapman Archive and Resource December 2016

Newsletter – Number 58

  1. White Elan Man meets Chapman’s Workmate
  2. Lotus Provides an Oil Platform
  3. Chapman’s Catalogue: Car Sales Brochures, Advertisements and Promotional Photography

1.0  White Elan Man meets Chapman’s Workmate


The editors have enjoyed some very positive coincidences and it’s often these events that influence our articles.

The editors have long admired the design and production engineering of the late Ron Hickman [see obituaries on net]. The editor actually spoke to Ron shortly before he died.
This prompted a search for an early “Workmate”.
Within the last couple of weeks the “Workmate” was acquired.

Within the same space of time the editor was privileged to study and photograph the exceptionally beautiful Lotus Elan owned by Alan Morgan of Club Lotus.

These two events turned over in the editor’s mind and there was a reoccurrence of the thoughts about design, fitness for purpose and of course form and function.

The ability to explore and use the “Workmate” and a detailed study of Alan’s Elan enabled the editors to see parallels of what constitutes excellent design and examples of problem solving.

This article is not about originality or specification. Rather it’s about design principles, the nature of fitness for purpose and empathy with materials used. Here using, comparing and contrasting two industrial products designed with input from Ron Hickman. The editors consider it’s the greatest complement we can pay the late Ron Hickman.

Along the way we introduce the Mazda MX-5 and provide opportunities for subscribers to compare and contrast these two exceptional automobiles and the industrial design.

Subscribers might like to see related articles on the various Elan models, marketing the model and The Avengers. Of interest too is our piece of the Lotus 25 and the role of patents.

The Lotus Elan: Form and Function
Ron Hickman had an input into the Elan design greater than has been credited. We tease this out in greater detail in our related articles.
Much of the greatness of the Elan design can be attributed to Ron Hickman’s careful, thoughtful and homogenous design approach.

The editor has drawn and photographed the Elan on many occasions but somehow failed to register just how exceptional it is. The editors were aware of Gordon Murray’s endorsement but for some reason a blind spot existed.

On further analysis the editor believes this is because previous study of the Elan failed to see it as a holistic totality and not to appreciate how homogenous it really is, compact and sculptural.

What opened the editors eyes was the fact that Alan’s Elan possesses all the design mantra of Chapman undiluted, uncorrupted in its purest form. This design heavily influenced by Ron Hickman is a case study in packaging, practicality without sacrificing aesthetic.

In particular what Alan’s car radiates is minutiae of detail and an associated tactile quality. The editor was able to explore these quietly and this was rewarding.

What emerged was Hickman’s care and empathy with the subject and the dignity he conferred on this miracle of design and performance.

Many Elan’s were sold as component cars .this possibly allowed owner constructors to personalize and even customize their car. Other Elans have possibly suffered performance upgrades .Somewhere along the way the elegance and understated refinement gets compromised.

What Alan’s car offered was an authenticity of simplicity where there is no need to guild the lily.
The absolute perfection of simplicity in Alan’s car is so powerful, it’s a visual symphony of carefully resolved objectives. The more you look the more you’re rewarded.

Alan’s car has done the A&R a great service and it will be a benchmark for the future. We can only express our admiration and natural covertness of an example that deserves an exhibition in the Design Museum.

Credit is extended to Alan for the taste and design appreciation he exercised in the deliberate selection of this example.

The following set of photographs are self-evident. They confirm a design approach of concentrated discipline harnessed to production realities .The materials are understood and despite budget constraints utility is not allowed to compromise aesthetic.

The editors invite subscribers to study the Elan in elevation and note the three main compartments. There is nothing remarkable.
However when the 3D image is explored the Elan gains a beauty of forms that all relate and flow one to another. There is balance, grace and purpose.

For the first time when the editor was able to absorb the simplicity of Alan’s car it came home that the shape of the Elan is more sophisticated than perceived. There is far more articulation and this is extremely subtle.

In fact there is a hierarchy too. The genius of the Elan is the unspoken understatement and refinement.


Figure 1.Editors sketches exploring the elevation of the Elan in relation to 3D sculptural perspective 3/4 view front.


Figure 2.Study ergonomics of the Elan and relate to overall body packaging and aesthetics.


Figure 3.Front end is clean and has personality note contrasting materials, surface finishes and how they co-exist and complement each other


Figure 4.The rear end is also clean, functional and practical. See editors sketch to further appreciate minutiae of detailing.



Figure 5.Note engine bay packaging and use of powerful twin cam engine to endow light sports car with sparking performance.


Figure 6.An exercise in understatement and a lesson in how not to guild the lily.


Figure 7.Editors sketch; rejoicing in attractive minor design details.

This sketch made by the author was as a result of the powerful impact of Alan’s Elan.In a small area it’s possible to find a selection of gems. Each are small but the Elan is an example of the adage “The Whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The Elan in fact is studded with these design details that risk being overlooked.

One car has made the editors totally review their assessment of the Elan. 

Ron Hickman: Lotus Elan and Industrial Product Design

Ron Hickman’s contribution to the Elan is recorded in most of the Lotus text books. We note the main factors in A&R articles.

The editors now feel that the greatest appreciation of Ron Hickman can be given by simply giving credit and illustrating the minutiae of his design detailing. Many designers want to make statements leave their signature all over the product. The editors have come to appreciate the greatness of Hickman is that through attention to detail and resolving problems with elegance he conferred on a relatively modest car a great dignity whose beauty is not deliberately obvious.

Ron Hickman also designed at patented the Workmate. In this he showed that similar design approach.

We think it important to suggest what some of the background might have been. Not much has been recorded on this subject other than the well-worn statements about Ron’s DIY activities that inspired it.

The editors believe that the light bulb moment would have triggered in Ron not just a one-off tool to aid DIY. We believe the consummate designer would have examined the market, costs and production issues just like the Elan. It’s very possibly that Ron appreciated there were few equivalents namely saw-horse, trestles etc. both of which had issues.

He might have thought about use, applications and hence size of the potential market. He might have identified the following:-

  • Home DIY. In the 1960’s home improvements and modernization was a growing market
  • Tradesmen whose work required mobility
  • Utility companies , i.e. those working in remote locations
  • Craftsmen –possibly seeing advantage and flexibility/maneuverability of 2nd bench/vice
  • People living in flats without shed for bench etc.
  • An international audience and appeal to third world as piece of intermediate technology
  • Model makers
  • Possibly farmers needing equipment they can take into field
  • Various building trades like plasters, plumbers etc.

Having perhaps estimated demand Ron is likely to have feed this into:-

  1. The investment needed
  2. The product design
  3. Marketing
  4. The potential market indicated a need for patent protection
  5. The alternatives
  6. Brand name an important factor to capture imagination but also to easily identify product [this is very significant and the Workmate does what is says on the tin
  7. The realistic cost of multi-tool that was potentially unique

Having established the extremely large potential audience Ron might have proceeded to consider how the product might best meet the identified requirements.

What emerged in the Workmate was a tool that was:-

  • Flexible
  • Compact
  • Robust
  • User friendly
  • Multi-functional
  • Easily stored, not much bigger than suitcase see below
  • Easily carried

The work mate 1970’s version folded measured:-

Depth             10”

Width              29”

Length           31”

When it came to pricing Ron possibly fed into the equation production costs, an acceptable cost to user [and this in turn might have touched the costs of equivalents, the return on investment i.e. reuse and life expectancy of this capital tool.


Figure 8.The editor has acquired a Workmate like this model

The design features that Ron built in along with Benefits include:-

  • Dual working heights for use as a workbench, bench tool stand, vice, or sawhorse
  • Durable steel frame construction
  • Designed for easy set-up and clean-up
  • Rubber feet are anti-slip
  • Folds flat for compact storage and easy transport
  • Adjustable swivel pegs and jaw retention grooves provide clamping versatility and reliable material hold
  • Heavyweight steel construction allows support of 250kg
  • Dual clamping cranks increase clamping force and versatility
  • General safety of safe holding
  • One operative can use equipment pushing up productivity in many situations

Ron was absolutely right to patent his idea.

When he sought manufacturing backing he was dismissed. It’s possibly that major tool makers attempted to dissuade him seeing the potential that existed.

The Workmate made Ron a multi-millionaire from the roylaties.These were richly deserved.

Ron also designed other products and owned a design consultancy. It’s worth briefly looking at one idea although excellent failed and the reasons.

Ron designed the child’s training toilet or “potty”. This again had a huge market worldwide. Its design consciously increased stability and hence hygiene saving cleaning etc.

The design was close to a standard moulded plastic container but Ron vested it with a small extension on which a child could rest their feet. This simple cost effective addition reduced the possibility of spilling and hence improved hygiene.

However despite the obvious market, the benefits to families this concept was not well marketed, possibly undersold and the cost benefits not really explained. It might also have suffered from relative pricing.

In these examples we see many of the issues that apply to much larger, complex and costly products like the Elan.

What is evident is that Ron Hickman carefully thought through his products and each bear his stamp as a considerate empathetic industrial designer.

Benchmark: Mazda MX-5

The Car Book states:-

“the original MX-5 of 1989, called the Miata in north America-was a smart mix of all that was best in the classic 1960’s sports car .the difference was that it used cutting edge technology, from its all –wishbone suspension to its fuel injected, 16 valve, twin cam engine .the MX-5 was the product of a rigorous design process carried out in both North America and Japan.

The result was a car that was delightful to drive and had no obvious failings, and it soon developed an enthusiastic worldwide fan base……………

The MX-5 was brought to production by a small team of car loving engineers and was aimed above all at the US market. Intended to achieve “the ultimate unity of car and driver” the MX-5 was designed around front mounted engine , to give 50/50 weight distribution .the chassis helped give the car crisp response .for an affordable, compact sports car ,out and out performance  was not required , which meant that the car could have a small 1,600cc engine –although an 1,800 unit was later also meant the car could be light in weight ,despite sceptics  within Mazda , the MX-5 went on to become a huge success and in its original form lasted until 1997, by which time over 400,000 had been made. Two subsequent evolutions of the car have stayed true to the character of the original ………….

Although the external details make reference to the past era. the design of the MX-5 was intended to be timeless ……..evoking European sports car heritage without resorting to imitation ……….beyond the aesthetics though lies intelligent engineering that has resulted in a lightweight ,yet strong body…………

In the interior existing Mazda fittings were used wherever possible, and door trims were kept simple and flat ……………

The MX-5 uses the same engine as the contemporary  Mazda 323 but with retro –look cam covers ………the gearbox borrowed from the bigger 929 was tuned ,the flywheel and synchro rings lightened , the ratios changed and throws made shorter


Figure 11.Editors photograph of Mazda.

The MX-5 was built with precision, the ergonomics are excellent along with comfort for a range of body shapes. The overall performance inspires confidence and accentuates driving pleasure. The model has an established reputation of providing what you need and no more .It can be driven hard with safety, confidence, predictability, enjoyment and a lot of fun.

Brief Specification:-

Model             MX-5               1989-1997

Production    433,963

Construction steel monocoque, aluminum bonnet

Engine           1597/1839 cc dohc in-line four

Power output 114 bhp @6,500 rpm[1.6L]

Transmission five speed manual

Suspension  All round coil and wishbone

Brakes            Discs all round

Max.speed     121 mph [195 km/h]

Autocar 2016

Mazda MX-5 Icon

Price from: £20,995

Engine 1.5 litre petrol

Power 129 bhp @7000 rpm

Torque 111lb/ft. @4800 rpm

0-62 mph 8.3 sec

Top speed 127 mph

Fuel economy 47.1 mpg

C0-2 139 g/km

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:-

  • Use our drawing proforma and examine each item for:-
  1. From what material is component formed
  2. Describe its surface quality
  3. How does it relate with its neighbor /adjacent surface
  4. Is the component holistic and homogenous with overall concept of the Elan
  5. Does it fulfill Chapman design code
  6. How does it achieve quality/make value statement
  • Draw other details of the Elan and analyses in similar fashion .Components worthy are :front end treatment, windscreen, side screens, seats, dashboard ,steering wheel, hood
  • What is the significance of colour and the automobile? What are the most popular and what are their associations
  • What distinctive colours ae associated with certain brands/marques?
  • Why does white work so well on the Elan?
  • Study Workmate patent drawings how has it been simplified ,improved
  • Study Ron Hickman’s prototype Workmate what do you think influenced its construction?
  • Study detail Workmate photograph below .What tactile qualities exist? How do these compare with Elan?
  • Evaluate the Elan and Mazda MX5


Figure 9.Editors sketch with numbered details to explore.


Figure 10.Details of WorkMate worthy of product design comparison with Elan.Both designs by Ron Hickman.

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.

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

  • Elan Backbone:Fibre in the Design
  • Elan Fibre:The strength and determination of the design team
  • Elan Chic: Emma Peel and the Avengers
  • Elan Style: Pop style in 1960’s
  • Elan In Vogue
  • Elan Spirit: Chapman and Lotus designs vital force and design attitude
  • Elan –A la mode
  • Hickman at the Bench: Judicial design of Workmate
  • Top Table Design:Hickmans Workmate bench
  • Elan v Mazda


The subject is important and we feel numbered list best express significance:-

  1. That design, invention and patents are important with strong commercial implications. A study of Colin Chapman and Lotus cars is therefore very much about industrial design, products aesthetics and the vagaries of the market. The subject is of interest to product designers as much as automobile engineers
  2. The editors feel that Alan Morgan’s Elan is worthy of a full forensic examination and publication for future reference. Possibly someone like Tony Weale as a qualified engineer with museum level of curatorship skills and proven authorship could assist
  3. The Elan is an exceptional enduring legend of packaging and style. Lauded by Gordon Murray it will remain a benchmark and case study for auto engineer /designers
  4. The Elan was triumph of conceptual thinking .it was a radical ,advanced and ambitious product for its era ;perhaps in advance of its time
  5. The editors believe that in part the Mazda MX-5 is a modern day Austin Healey Sprite /MGB .There is no denying its commercial success and wide democratic appeal. However it rather lacks soul and heritage. It did not move out of a comfort zone or redefine the genre. The original Elan with all is various shortcomings was enormously ambitious , idealistic pushing boundaries; although many might feel that Chapman aspired to a MX5 from a shoe string budget
  6. We have seen the late great Ron Hickman contributed significantly to the Elan.Its success ought be credited to his efforts
  7. Ron payed the same attention –possibly more to the Workmate. It’s a fine piece of industrial design that ought be evaluated like a piece of Bauhaus furniture
  8. Conceptual thinking entrepreneurial spirit and useful /functional products can still fail commercially .they still deserve examination they contain lessons good and bad and teach us timing and fashion play important roles often beyond rationality
  9. The A&R will continue to disseminate design based issues as its thought by using Chapman and Lotus as an example some excellent best practice learning opportunities can be presented. In some small way these might help designer/ inventors of the future


The Car Book-A Definite Visual History. Dorling Kindersley.2011.

ISBN: 9781405361750


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.

2.0 Lotus Provides an Oil Platform


In this article we examine a very significant piece of advertising that has adopted Lotus iconography to help sell a product.

The Duckhams advertisement is very redolent of 1960’s and takes the student into that cultural epoch and its icons, visual canon and nuisances.

The editors are interested in the indirect adoption of Lotus iconography as it’s a prism to measure brand/marque appeal and reputation. If another international brand adopts Lotus for its advertisements there is good reason.

The husband and wife team of Gabriel and Mark Konig hold an important place in British and International motorsport; as does the marque they created Nomad.

The study of Lotus is not a subject of study just for motor racing enthusiasts and automobile engineers as it contains considerable social/cultural history.

The advertising and projection/publicity aspect of Lotus is extremely relevant, touching marketing, communication, graphic art etc. As such it has considerable lessons for creative industry professionals today along with museum curators searching for fresh prisms with which to interpret social/cultural/design/technology.

This advertisement also permits a snapshot of the Nomad marque and alongside a comparison with Lotus.

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

* Lotus :Design Decades 1960’s

* Lotus and 1960’s

* Elan and Carnaby Street

* Sales brochures of various Lotus models


Figure 1.The caption below the photograph reads: “the successful husband and wife partnership of Gabriel and Mark Konig share the honours with the Lotus Elan.Duckhams Q20-50 motor oil, their choice both on the circuit and for everyday motoring “.

Nomads: From Platform to Podium

In this advertisement we witness an excellent form of transference and identity by association.

Duckhams have adopted a very clever formula to market a difficult product.

What they have set out to do is:-

Identify their product with excellence

The primary excellence role models are Gabriel and Mark Konig, their marriage, partnership and shared passion for motor racing

Lotus /Lotus Elan, which was raced by Gabriel and was emerging as a fashion icon in its own right. [ note the Elan has been fitted with permanent Perspex headlamp faired in covers]

Connectivity with fashion and culture of Swinging London in the 1960

In order for this advertisement type to work and reach its audience it’s imperative to have the correct “interpreter” elements ie a commodity that comes ready charged with accepted positive reputation and is visually identifiable without ambiguity.

The Konig’s and Lotus give an immediate recognition combined with credibility. They galvanise and accelerate the message.

Here ,if the audience is invited to make association / word play they can be spun the connection with Lotus and lubrication and produce imagery with the connotation of:-

* Polish

* Smooth

* Advance –forward

* Further

* Promote

* Speed up

* Expedite

* Accelerate

* Facilitate

All powerful adjectives helping sell product.

A positive connotation by association is passed to the product i.e. Duckhams oil.

The message is heavily loaded with teamwork. A community and indivisibility of the best.

It’s a technique used in many contexts/products and continues to the present day.

The editors would mention that Duckhams had a HQ in London W6 possibly Hammersmith, and would have been central to London’s 1960’s epicentre of post war motor racing and indeed Swinging London.

An appreciation of the Konigs ought to be noted to reinforce the message above

From the net:-

“The Nomads were built by Mark Konig and Bob Curl to race in national and international sports car races. The MK 1 was a coupe built in 1967 and powered with a twin cam engine.

In 1968 a formula 1 BRM car was purchased and the MK 2 was built from the parts. In 1969 an identical car, the MK 3 was built. No further cars were made. Both cars built with space frames and fibreglass bodies were powered by 2 litre V8 BRM engines.”

From the net:-

“NOMAD 1A 67 with renewed HTP papers gained when fitted with Lotus twin cam.

Currently powered by an all steel 1700cc crossflow giving 185 bhp and 135 ft/lbs torque built and maintained by Rawlson Racing, the car runs with this engine in HSCC Guards Trophy races.

Hewland Mk 9 5 speed with LSD.

Fitted with brand new Girling AR front calipers and 10 1/2″ discs.

Much raced in UK, very successful in South Africa and recently raced with HSCC, Attracts attention where ever it is.

The Nomad mk1 was designed and built by Bob Curl and raced internationally in period by Mark Konig and Tony Lanfranchi with the mk1a being built at a later date by Bob Curl.”

From Twite:-

“The Nomad is one man’s dream come true. That man is Mark Konig who had the ambition to drive his own car in the world’s classic long –distance sports car races .the result was the Nomad Mk.1 which appeared in mid-1967.acoupe of fairly large proportions ,it used a 1600cc Ford twin cam engine .several successes were scored…….c1968 a 1500cc BRM V8 engine was fitted …….for 1969 designer Bob Curl built up the Nomad Mk.2,an open design making use of the new FIA weight saving etc. regulations .power came from BRM’s latest 2 litre V8 engine , the P123.

first race was the Targa Florio in which Mark’s wife Gabriel suffered a puncture which damaged the suspension.

Konig and Lanfranchi drove at Le Mans –Mark’s greatest dream had come true……

For 1970 replicas of theMk.2 have been built for determined onslaught on the new FIA 2 litre sports car championship.”

Marque Nomad-BRM

Model Mk.2

Year c1968

Engine /Cyli BRM V8,water cooled

Bore /Stroke 72.28/59.18mm

CC 1998cc

Valve Gear 4 ohc

Comp Ratio 10.8 to 1

Carburettors Lucas fuel injection

Max.Power 250 bhp @ 9,000 rpm

Trans/Gears 5 speed Hewland gearbox

Front Brakes Girling discs

Rear Brakes Girling discs

Steering rack&pinion

Front Susp’ wishbones,coilsprings

Rear Susp’ lower wishbones, top links, twin radius rods and coil springs

Chassis multi-tubular space frame

Wheel base 7′-7in approx.

Front Track 4′-7in

Rear Track 4′-7in

O’length 13ft-7in

O’width.body 5′-10in

Kerb weight 1635lbs.

Front Tyres 15in dia [wheels 10in]front and 13in [rear] rims

Rear Tyres

Extract from Obituary for Gabriel Konig [from the net]

“But it was as Gabriel Konig that she drew her personal fame.

As a racing driver there were few who could match her, never mind catch her, man or woman.

Under her racing name, Gabriel Konig, she began competing on the British track circuit in the early 1960s and continued for over four decades, and was recognized as the best female racer in the UK.

She actually began driving a tractor at the age of 10 and got her driving licence seven years later.

‘When I was younger my mother used to take us to the races in the Curragh, the Phoenix Park and Dundrod,’ she said once. ‘I remember those days so well because the smells, the noise and the excitement of the day had such an impact on me and from that time on I was hooked.’

Within four years of getting her licence she was on the racing circuit out of her then home in Hammersmith, where she was married to Mark Konig, himself a noted competitor.

Her early cars were a Lotus Elite and an Elan, before moving to an Imp in 1966, when she was the first woman to win a race at Lydden in England.

But it was at Brands Hatch and later in Spa in Belgium where she was something of a real celebrity, one of the few top women racers, matching the men week after week.

She said at the time: ‘I have never experienced any animosity from the men. I think they enjoy competing with women. I am just treated like everyone else’.

She never had any fears when racing but got” keyed up’ before the start, keen to always do well. Gabriel also raced at Thruxton, Oulton Park and the Nurburging in an illustrious career.

She spent some years in South America before coming home and running Beaulieu, along with another great racer in his day, Malcolm Clarke.

She found it hard to give the time to competing in more recent years but did manage the odd trip out in her vintage cars.

She opened a superb racing museum in Beaulieu House and there was nothing better than getting the rundown from Gabriel on her amazing career.

Gabriel is sadly missed by her family and all at Beaulieu. Her funeral was on Tuesday, January 15, at Beaulieu Church, amid her little piece of heaven.”

Gabriel Konig: An appreciation –from the net:

“Gabriel Konig, the name she always used when referring to her motor sporting activities, was a reminder of the privileged days of the sport. She was indeed a privileged person as the ‘lady of the manor’ of magnificent Beaulieu House, Ireland’s oldest unfortified house which overlooks the River Boyne on the coastal side of Drogheda. Quite extraordinarily the Beaulieu Estate, which has been in her family since 1650, has been handed down for all those years through the female line of the family, which probably had a lot to do with Gabriel’s confident, decisive and strong personality. Her assessments of her fellow competitors were blunt and entertaining, Gabriel did not suffer fools gladly, but she truly loved her motorsport and liked to be taken seriously as a very competitive driver in a male dominated sport, which indeed she was. My first

acquaintance with Gabriel and her then husband Mark Konig was in South Kensington mews. While working as a trainee architect in the big smoke, I passed an entrance and to my amazement I spied a racing Lotus Elan being pushed out onto the cobbled

courtyard by a young and well-attired couple. My obsession with the sport overtook my inhibitions and I introduced myself to Mr. and Mrs. Konig, while admiring Mrs. Konig’s beauty as much as her husband’s gleaming racer. Gabriel had already been racing an Elite and the Elan for a number of years when I bumped into them in 1964. The Lotus, which she shared with her husband, was by then in full race trim and they had driven it in the 1000km at the daunting Nurburgring in Germany. By 1966 Gabriel had won her first race in a Roger Nathan prepared Hillman Imp, but her big successes came in Mod Sports, where she was spotted by the late John Britton and installed in one of his very swift MG Midgets in 1968. Racing in Ireland was confined to Kirkistown, the annual road races at Phoenix Park and Dunboyne at that time. Gabriel’s ambitions were more international, so she had never raced at home. Her 1968 season was sensational, 15 class wins and nine lap records and when the Britton Midget was further modified in 1969 with a 1340cc engine, Gabriel had an outright win at Fasborough in

Germany and she took the little MG into 18th place overall out of 80 starters on the famed Italian road circuit at Mugello. She also experienced another road racing classic that year, the Targa Floria in Sicily, where she shared the drive with her husband Mark in his self-designed Nomad BRM, but a puncture put paid to a result on that occasion. There was a major setback in 1970 when a front upright broke on the Formula Ford that she was driving at Interlagos near San Paulo in Brazil, but by the following year she was sharing a Chevrolet Camero with another famous female driver, Marie Claude Beaumont, at the Spa 24 hour race.”

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:-

* Why was black and white photography used in 1960’s magazines?

* How does B&W compare with colour in advertisement media

* Analysis advertisement; what is composition and structure /message?

* To what extent does advertisement conform to 1960 canon and iconography? [See A&R pieces on 1960’s, Carnaby Street etc.]

* Study image –which other iconic Lotus photoshoot does it resemble

* Should this advertisement be a success? Attempt to interpret in 1960’s cultural context

* Identify other brands [in history] through present day that use celebrity and association to sell products with either less glamouious identity or those products which can’t be converted to visual image………..think perfume to petrol!!

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.

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

o Couples and Cars

o Celebrities and Cars

o Cars &Fashion

o 1960’s London :Photoshoot Locations

o The Joy of Six: Group Six

o Nomad v Lotus 62

o “Elan”

o Nomad No Rolling Stone

o 1960’s Swinging London

o Elan and Carnaby Street


What this advertisement demonstrates is that success sells

One brand borrows from another to make connectivity.

Oil was not the most romantic or glamorous of products to shift. Here we see the advertisers overcoming the limitations by prime connectivity.

The advertisement appeals to both sexes in the liberated 1960’s.It calls attention to famous couples at the forefront of the design world like the Day’s, Eames and Mary Quant.

It also appears to be London based and as such connects with the city as post was epicenter of motor sports and at the time Swinging London fashion and pop culture.

The advertisement makes the Lotus Elan very prominent. It is used for visual impact and connectivity.

However first the object has to have achieved its own reputation and visual vocabulary to be used in translation situation.

The advertisement emphasizes team work throughout success on success.

Lotus in many respects with at their most glamorous during the 1960’s and this advertisement also provides a prism through to “The Avengers”.

The editors maintain that a thorough study of Lotus takes the student significantly into social and cultural history; to fashion and advertising.

It’s very evident that Lotus both directly and indirectly were style leaders.

It’s very much a reflected glory and complement that a significant brand like Duckhams sought a Lotus connection to promote its products.


The Worlds Racing Cars.Twite.Macdonald.1971

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.

3.0 Chapman’s Catalogue: Car Sales Brochures, Advertisements and Promotional Photography.


This is a new series that will examine car sales material and potential promotional photography used by Colin Chapman. Chapman commissioned sales literature from the Mk.VI onwards. In the 1950’s and 60’s off-set printing became reasonably affordable and almost immediately we see Chapman respond along with his marketing colleagues.

The A&R has a good cross section of these brochures in various forms adopted from the earliest to the present.

In each of our studies we will examine:-

  1. Visual imagery , content and message / marketing of the brochure
  2. Examine briefly the social/historical context where appropriate
  3. Examine the model in context [ note technical information invariably contained +within brochure itself]

The editors believe these will appeal to a wide audience .Increasingly sales material is down loaded but there remains a significant incentive to retain crisp, clear, graphic, professional, well designed and presented printed brochures on quality paper as a reflection of the products /brands inherent attributes.

It will be interesting to observe through brochures how Chapman’s car products evolved, became more sophisticated and how this was expressed through changing times, markets ,technologies and of course presentation.

Brochures will not be offered in chronological order but will explore subjects and topics relevant to our main articles and themes. The editors will be very pleased to hear from our subscribers should they have any priorities or preferences.

Subscribers are directed to our related articles:-

* Sales and marketing see individual models and categories

* In this instance our Design Decades series and the Elan and the 1960’s are particularly instructive

Brochure Definition and Content

A brochure or sales literature might take the form of [or combination of]:

o Flyer

o Leaflet

o Pamphlet

o Booklet

o Catalogue

o Manuals

o Data /technical data sheets

o Price lists

o Press clippings/ release

o Testimonials

Their purpose is primarily to:-

* Pass on information and effectively communicate often subtle messages

* Introduce the company or organization to products and services

* Generate sales through broad strategy and promotion

* Impress and generate interest , enquiry about company beyond immediate product

* To present favorably against rivals

Brochures are produced to reach target audiences. These are reached through display and distribution in dealer’s showrooms, at exhibitions, through postal enquiries, and possibly dissemination to selected organizations and individual such as authors and researchers.

In the case of the car it might be hoped that the customer having gathered intelligence short lists the product and proceeds to test drive. Thereby through a process of design and content [product] to persuasion [brochure] and demonstration a sale is generated. [Subject to realities of price, service trade in and other individual considerations]

In one respect the brochure might be seen as an equation in another a bridge. Its success measured by the extent it can influence, reach and persuade the customer. We will examine this in each case.

A good brochure might be considered aspirational.

Marketing: Visual and Literary Symbolism

Marketing will attempt to identify the prospective purchaser with the product. There is an element of providing the customer with a reflection of their desired self-image. This subtle persuasion often relies on messaging and tie-in between the two elements. Visual and written information is likely to endeavor to exploit affinities and use allegory, metaphor, analogy extensively and be aspirational.

Often the cars will be posed consciously with intentional lyrical atmosphere or ambience to establish connectivity between the customers his/her values and of course significantly romance .This is often achieved with reference to occupation, status, hobbies and the customer’s cultured aesthetic sensitivity. Some of the principle backdrops adopted are:-

> Aircraft, aviation, runways, gliding etc.

> Fashion, clothes

> Architecture

> Landscape, rivers, sailing and seashore etc.

> Distinct British landmarks e.g. London

The editors provide some detailed examples and dates:

Identified Categories

Prime Focus Secondary Focus Tag Line Model Bro or photo

Architecture Seven S 3

Architecture Europa

Architecture Modern Design Europa S1

Architecture “The man in the Elan” Elan

Architecture “Elegance breeds Elegance” Elan +2

Architecture Esprit

Architecture Kettingham Hall Esprit Turbo Pub’ Photo

Architecture Chateau Esprit Turbo Pub’ Photo

Architecture Georgian home frontage Europa Pub’ Photo

Architecture Farmhouse Elan +2 Pub’ Photo

Architecture Windmill Elan Pub’ Photo

Architecture Modern factory/whareh’ Europa [GKN] Pub’ Photo

Architecture Farm/mansion Europa Pub’ Photo

Architecture Country House drive Elite Pub’ Photo

Aviation “Fly Lotus” Elan +2

Aviation Glider Eclat

Aviation Bell Ranger Helicopter Eclat Pub ‘Photo

Colour impact Tints Seven S1-3

Families Elan +2

Fashion Elite

Fashion Elan

Fashion “An even more powerful temptation” Elan +2

Fashion Elan +2

Fashion Architecture Sunbeam Lotus 79

Features Technical specification 15

Features Steering wheels Elan

Hippy era “Groovy” Seven S4

Landscape Elan S 4

Landscape “If you have just bought…..” Europa

Landscape Europa S2

Landscape Seascape Sunbeam Lotus 79

Landscape Riverside Elan

London Houses of Parliament Europa S2

London Harrods Eclat

London Crystal Place old track Esprit Pub ‘Photo

London Gates St. James Palace

London Houses of Parliament Esprit Turbo Pub’ Photo

A visual image carries and is loaded with much greater symbolism than words .It is also more immediate and possibly indelible. Hence photography is a preferred medium of communication being both more effective and economic than the written word. Photography is very powerful in its ability to borrow from and assimilate symbolism from its surroundings.

In our analysis we will examine how this is adopted.

Analysis of Sales Brochure for:

  1. Visual imagery, content and message / marketing of the brochure
  2. Examine briefly the social/historical context where appropriate:

See Lotus Design Decades.

  1. Examine the model in context [note technical information invariably contained within brochure itself]


Figure 1.Lotus advertisement from Motor Sport, March, 1970.

This advertisement contains a strong element of heritage allied with a connectivity to word, image association with refinement and ancestry etc.

We will explore this in more detail.

Automobile manufacturers have used this content from the birth of the motor car to confer a status to their product. There is strong reference to identification between the presented owner and the marque. One giving reference and style to the other. In doing so it presents an opportunity for a new owner to belong or possess a similar status and the car becomes a passport into society.

Study of Lotus cars is more complex than just the engineering. Chapman relied on sales for personnel income to employ his work force and to support his racing programme.

In order to achieve this his company had to:-

* Design and produce cars for the market

* Those cars to enshrine the Lotus brand and its mystique

* They had to survive in changing times and against formidable commercial opposition

* Having defined a market and produced a car for that profile , the product had to be sold

The 1960’s had been a good decade for Chapman, Lotus and the models built. Chapman was style leader.

However society as a whole was becoming more sophisticated with greater expectations.

The enthusiast engineer /mechanic type was dying and owners expected turnkey performance. Other brands had established reputations and imagery commensurate to their customers.

Towards the end of the decade and into the 1970’s Chapman realized he had to change his product and to an extent brand image and go up market in order to survive.

This was not an easy task:-

  1. Lotus by the 1970’s had 20 year history of high performance cars which were very close to out and out competition cars
  2. These had the reputation of needing care ,maintenance and sympathetic ownership
  3. Other more established brands had either commenced on a higher status entry point or had acquired this and developed it. It ought be remembered the intense competition form Italian marques through the era of the 1960’s
  4. During the decade Japanese cars of extremely high reliability were entering the British market
  5. Aerodynamic theory had impacted on the automobile in general and closed sports cars and increasingly high performance saloons from the mainstream manufacturers were offering attractive alternative products with performance, comfort ,safety and user friendliness

It’s into this context we see this magazine advertisement in which the Elan Plus 2 is presented as being owned by a young couple possibly of aristocratic background or from a well-established connected family. The image is further reinforced by the traditional hotel or restaurant with a uniformed attendant.

This type of imagery requires a visual image to produce mental imagery and association.

The strapline “Elegance breeds Elegance” provides the cue and springboard.

The two together galvanize and conjure associations these word associations include:-

o Chic

o Grace

o Poise

o Style

o Taste

o Luxury

o Grandeur

o Gentility

o Proprietry

o Refinement

o Discernment

o Distinction

o Sophistication

o Fashionableness

o Culture

o Debonaire

The image is constructed around the couple, their dress, and body language and of course the location and context.

The couple are presented as rich, cultured, cosmopolitan, possessing a value mechanism in which heritage, quality and value are enshrined.

As such the couple radiate a sense of style and presence; and from this extends a further trigger to mental images and association which include:-

* Heritage

* Ancestory

* Heredity

* Culture

* Descent

* History

* Lineage

The marketing objective here is to make a connectivity of one to another.

What the owners are and possess. What they value and own. [Tendency to acquire possessions in their own value mechanism], therefore by definition the Lotus possesses these desired characteristics.

The further projection then becomes that the car possesses status and an owner will acquire that passport in society.

Question does this brochure succeed?

The editors believe this to be a good marketing piece. As stated clearly it was not easy for Lotus to make the transition into a different social category. Values, image, and

societal acceptance are extremely subtle forces that exert very profound controls limits, norms codes and mores.

Individuals who ignore these risk rejection or demotion.

The purchase of a product is thus an indication of certain place in society .an alternative can mark the individual out and subject them to polite unspoken criticism.

The Lotus marketing device here is therefore complex. There is certain duality:-

  1. To project the car as suitable choice for individuals
  2. To have the car purchased and used in societal circles that will generate acceptance and brake down the resistance and rejections we have described

Here the strap line “Elegance breeds Elegance” has special duality and double meaning that embraces the societal mechanism we have outlined with means of continuity and preference value statements /projections.

We believe that the Elan Plus 2 was able to achieve this with some resistance.

It was clever mix. It attempted to bridge the competition car into the practical useable.

We further believe the advertisement projects a cosmopolitan urban couple who are traditional but also modern and progressive and hence their choice.

The subtle inference too, might be that their status and individualism permit them to take a radical choice and as such mark them out …………but in a positive vein.

It’s into this territory that Lotus hopes to go .Its brave because many societal values discourage that experimentation.

The fact is; a perhaps not always evident that Chapman and Lotus produced more elegant and sophisticated products than reognised.They were not conservative with a small “c” possibly did not help them.

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:-

> What is the credibility gap in this advertisement?

> Seen in context of the times was the proposal acceptable?

> Would a similar advertisement work today?

> Identify and profile customers for Lotus as the moved up market [in period]

> What aspects of society and psychology does the advert involve?

> Conceive an ad campaign involving a brand changing its image

Education, Exhibitions and Economics

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. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular it’s proposed to retail sales brochures and memorabilia derived from them including posters, cards, calendars, postcards. The prosed museum has the potential to hold originals in archive, buy, sell and exchange brochures and undertake exhibitions that explore marketing of Chapman derived products.

The design of brochures also has a strong educational content and this will be exploited with direct and indirect learning opportunities and competitions.

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

* Marque Heritages

* What does the Customer Want?

* Subjectivity, Psychology and Selling in automobile industry

* Marques,Manners and Markets in the automobile industry

* Understanding and Defining Lotus :Brand Identity

* Gear change and step change in product development

* Meet the Ancestors: Lotus Evolution


In this instance we see a marketing formula that has been used since the birth of the automobile.

In the early days cars could only be afforded by the rich but mass production brought democratization.

Many of the world’s foremost automobile brands remain expensive and beyond the majority and born of this ownership confers many things and sends signals.

Brand management is a very creative and dynamic activity.

It has to understand the brand its heritage changing times, customers and the product and a means by which they can be aligned.

Brands and manufacturers have to survive and adapt .Reputation and good will of one era may not suit the next.

In this advertisement we see one of the greatest challenges to marketing professionals that of managing a credibility gap. It’s an extremely creative exercise in retaining the best and positive and explaining how this has evolved with continuity, traditional values yet modern.

As we have noted sales brochures are a function of communication and marketing. As long as products and services are manufactured to some extend there remains a requirement to bring these to a targeted audience.

The design and presentation of sales materials is a dynamic subject .It requires understanding of psychology, the brand, the product, the customer and the prevailing culture. To some extent it also requires an appreciation of rivals. Brochures and other sales materials generate income but also have a cost. When commissioned these need

to be balanced and the selection of consultants and the ability to grasp subtle sometimes sublime messages is an art.

Much of Chapman’s design mantra is technological but his racing programme would not have been possible without selling road cars and consultancy. Brochures played an important role .Therefore this exercise is particularly relevant and has educational overlaps for the creative and marketing professionals. Between the manufacturer, marketing professionals and customer are dynamic interfaces.

These are issues that extend outside the automotive industries and our case histories provide useful examples to study. learn from and apply in new environments.


The Lotus Collectables Book.W.Taylor.Coterie.2000.

ISBN: 1902351010


ISBN: 1857781473

Vintage Ad Gallery

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.