Sponsors, Suppliers and Specialists: The Companies that supported the Chapman/Lotus Racing/Road Brand Marque


A study of the organizations and companies that contributed to Lotus road and race cars encompasses both the glamour and gear that made Lotus possibly.These specialists, supplies and sponsors when integrated within Chapman’s conceptual framework produced the machines which possessed an aesthetic and functionalism of the highest order.

Chapman could not have done without them.

From the glitz to the grease the subject embraces the total spectrum of componentry that assembled Lotus cars.

The subject must be studied in detail to appreciate the achievements of Chapman and his colleagues. Chapman and his team’s genius was in adding value.

They were the expert exponents of Industrial Design incorporating the utilitarian and elevating it to iconic status-on or off the track.

Lotus cars at various times have been at the zenith of International Motor Racing and we hope they will continue successfully in the future.

Their achievements comprised:-

  • 1963 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship
  • 1965 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship
  • 1968 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship
  • 1970 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship
  • 1972 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship
  • 1973 Constructors Championship
  • 1978 Both World Drivers and Constructors Championship

I.e. 7 Constructors Championships & 6 Drivers Championships

This success was due to an integration of many factors not least:-

  • The design genius of Chapman and his colleagues at Lotus
  • The dedication of mechanics
  • The race driver ability
  • Chapman’s race and business acumen
  • The quality of the components used notably engines
  • Sponsorship – both the financial support, occasionally technology cross over and the aesthetic distinction that Lotus bore on track

The sponsorship of Lotus is extremely important to success, particularly as costs [technology, R&D escalated and inflated].Sponsorship helped Chapman win.

The adoption of sponsor livery on road cars was also significant. It had particular connotations and provided a particular form of advertising for sponsors and made a greater art form and sense of expression of the company logos and identity.

His link with John Player is well known and the A&R has expressed this thoroughly.

The A&R has identified approximately 300 sponsor and specialist suppliers contributing to Lotus historically [see appendix 4 below] although it’s estimated the current generation of FI cars use between 15-16000 parts supplied by approximately 750 component suppliers.

We treat the subject with considerable interests due to its importance.

We invite subscribers to tell us of any omissions and any direct experience they’ve had with these companies.

In examining the specialist, sponsors and suppliers we will specifically:-

  • Name sponsor
  • Identify the Lotus model they were identified with
  • Outline company- its products or services history and future where appropriate
  • Draw attention to those with aviation connections
  • Brief assessment of their significance/ contribution to Lotus success
  • A representative illustration and company advertising material wherever possible
  • Suggested learning opportunities
  • Conclusion

This study is not merely utilitarian or a parts list of components used.

Understanding Lotus’s use of sponsors provides invaluable learning opportunities not just historical but right up to the present day. These lessons are not just applicable to automotive engineers/ designers but to the wider Industrial /Product Design and Corporate Identity professions.The study also embraces economic geography, the contribution of specialists within the British auto industry; their ability to adapt and the symbiotic relationship gained by association with innovative companies like Lotus.

It touches marketing of mundane but essential equipment and contains lessons in graphic design.

The skillful, graphic and creative presentation of sponsor was a powerful factor in the Chapman methodology and contributed significantly to both competition and commercial success.

Subscribers might like to see related A&R series:

  • Lotus Power Plants
  • British Motor Sport and specialists locations
  • Component and Rear View Mirror Series
  • Sponsors
  • John Player Specials and Gold Leaf
  • Arts and Crafts Movement
  • Major Engines and gearbox used by Lotus
  • Product Placement
  • Suspension series

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 center location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

See Appendix below –work through exercises

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

  • Study British Manufacturing History in relation to the auto industry and specialist suppliers and location
  • Study the economic geography of the British auto industry what factors determined locations?
  • What have been the causes of change and circumstance that have impacted on British motor industry?
  • What has been the role of F1 /motor sport valley based around Bicester?
  • Study the advertising materials of specialist suppliers –what are the conveying?
  • What is the importance of outsourcing to the motor industry?
  • Study a British car specialist like Morgan, TVR, Ginetta or Lotus where do they source parts? What are the advantages?
  • See also appendix 3 below
  • Complete the function box in spreadsheet –identifying parts or services provided

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 technology and computerization offer many interactive experiences related to learning opportunities that will stretch imagination and conceptualization .Furthermore such experiences and experiments can be structured to relate to other branches of Industrial/Product Design.

They are complementary to the possibility that the museum /education center can fulfill the role of the “Exploratory -Laboratory”.

We consider a museum environment provides powerful ambience, context and interpretation for companies wishing to hold a product launch. With a range of exhibits a product or service can be projected with glamour, historical momentum and supported with complementary archive in a manner most likely to grab attention and publicity whilst being inspiring and educational.

In this instance we feel the following are appropriate:-

  • Lotus Parts: Past ,Present Future
  • Lotus Parts: The Winning Factor
  • The Principle Part
  • Act the Part
  • Assign the Part
  • Lotus Components
  • Lotus Components :Parts and Parcel
  • Lotus Sponsors, Specialist and Suppliers:Form,Function and Forte
  • Lotus Components:Parts and Partiality
  • Lotus Aesthetics : With little to spare
  • Lotus Cars: Spare and Slender
  • Product launch with title of dedicated specific relevance


Sponsorship is a worldwide phenomenon of immense commercial impotence. Both to host and sponsor organization.

With the passage of time it’s likely to become more sophisticated and focused and the internet /multimedia technology will play greater role.

Sponsors have existed in motorsport before Chapman but he vigorously exploited the concept with Gold Leaf c 1967/68 and set a pattern for others to follow.

Sponsors of Lotus were likely to benefit financially and in terms of exposure to an extent greater than their investment. The benefits were, and remain essentially similar to present day:-

  • Access to mass international audience consistent with mass production distribution marketing branding etc.
  • Demographics of viewing audience and interest groups
  • Additional subsidiary /secondary advertising through media, news, magazines etc.
  • Identification with market /brand /marque leader in both F1 and road cars
  • Association with success and continuity evolving, developing technology, materials etc.
  • In period the identification with the charm ,charisma and ability to articulate that Chapman possessed
  • All the attendant glamour , drama ,danger ,and spectacle of F1
  • Ability to provide conducive hospitality to conduct business
  • Cost effectiveness of audience cost ratio
  • Possible further complex corporate benefits

Chapman we note had enjoyed a powerful and beneficial relationship with Gold Leaf and John Player Specials. With the increasing costs, and when they withdrew he had to find alternatives.

The editors recommend subscribers examine Crombac whom we have found fair in his assessment of Chapman and much of the context that surrounded Lotus.

The financial envelope supporting Chapman in the 1970’s into the 80’s is worthy of detailed study. Chapman /Lotus experienced a succession of difficulties most out of his control they include:-

  • C 1968 Chapman launched Lotus as a public company; but the wealth generated was perhaps lost in poor investments and advise
  • The oil crisis of the 1970’s rippled through the macro economy into the 1980’s and impacted on consumer goods particularly super cars [petrol consumption etc.] fashions etc.
  • Escalating costs and sophistication of F1
  • The American market [ a natural focus for sports cars] did not materialize for a variety of reasons
  • The “upmarket “ models Chapman committed to [anticipating changes in demand] were more susceptible to economic down turn [see above] and possibly struggled against competition for whom cross –subsidy was possible
  • His boat business suffered under the same rationale

We cannot over emphasize the significance of specialists, suppliers and sponsors to Lotus; indeed Britain and international motorsport.

These companies have helped facilitate some of the greatest cars of the 20th/21 century and provided British engineering reputation whilst generating employment and exports.

These companies have contributed to the added value that is Lotus.

Mundane, utilitarian parts have been elevated to levels of performance never originally planned.

Colin Chapman has helped facilitate and elevate some of the greatest engines in motorsport history namely Coventry Climax and Ford Cosworth.

Furthermore specialists, suppliers and sponsors have:-

  • Demonstrated extraordinary levels of faith, belief and commitment in Lotus; being rewarded with disproptionate successes, publicity and sales
  • Lotus has created some of the most aesthetic and memorable cars and logos ever seen on road and track
  • Chapman and Lotus pushed and encouraged these companies to achieve extraordinary products and services
  • The evidence and lessons are legion of the benefits of symbiotic /productive relationships ;furthermore the Chapman model and formula is an inspiration to Industrial Designer, marketing professionals ;PR and those in the creative media

Appendix 1

One definition from the net:-


“Companies use F1 championships for brand building. They shell out huge sums of money to make their brands recognizable on Formula One cars. The sponsorship is like a global media platform for the sponsors.”

Appendix 2: Article from net:-
“Analyzing Sponsorship

When Formula One racing began in 1950, sponsors supported it with heart. But now, the scenario has changed. Decision-making is now done with the head. A lot of analysis and research is done before arriving at any decision. The would-be sponsors burn so much midnight oil to make their brands visible to the people. They want to ride on the success on Formula One. They know that if their names and logos appear on Formula One cars and dresses of teams, it would help in brand buildings and their business would benefit.

Riding Formula 1
In North America and Europe, Formula One is a hugely popular event. Companies operating in these areas of the world always want to ride the success of formula one. The amount they pay and their return hugely depends on the success of the team and the positioning of the sponsor’s name and logo on the cars. If a team is successful, sponsor is, and if a team fails, so does the sponsor.

Role of Sponsors
Sponsors’ role is most important in promoting Formula One teams which get 80-85% of their total income from sponsorship. Rest of 15% comes from TV revenue and prize money. This it explains the importance of sponsors in Formula One.

Sponsorship Liveries
Sponsorship liveries are in use in Formula One since 1960s, replacing the previously used national colors. The liveries change for every season in the sport. The change depends on the marketing ideas of the sponsors. However, some teams have shown consistency over the years, like the Ferrari, whose color has been red. At some Formula One events, Tobacco Sponsorship is prohibited.

History of Sponsorship
Initially Grand Prix cars ran without any badging, using national colors. However, as the cost of the sport rose, sponsors became important. In the mid-1960s, Team Lotus began to use its name on the cars. Honda did the same in 1966. In the US, commercial sponsorship was allowed. However, Formula One governing body recognized commercial sponsorship only in 1968.

Current Sponsors
Current sponsors of Formula One are Altria (Marlboro), Benetton Group, Beta Tools, Brembo, British American Tobacco (Lucky Strike), Brooke Bond Oxo, Candy, Ceramiche Ragno, Champion, Compaq, Computer Associates, Copersucar, Credit Suisse, DHL, Eifelland, Essex Petroleum, Federal Express, First National Bank, Fondmetal SpA, Foster’s, Gallaher (Benson & Hedges), Hewlett-Packard, Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, Hugo Boss, Imperial Tobacco (Embassy), Imperial Tobacco (Gold Leaf), Imperial Tobacco (JPS), Japan Tobacco (Mild Seven), Martini & Rossi, Orange, Parmalat, PlayStation (Sony), Politoys, Red Bull, Reemtsma (West), Saudia Airlines, SEITA (Gitanes & Gauloises), Siemens, Skol, Sonax, STP Corporation, TAG-Heuer, Tissot, Unipart, UOP, Valvoline, Villiger (Tabatip), Vodafone, Warsteiner Brauerei and Yardley,”

Appendix 3: Context and operation of sponsorship from the net:-

  • Learn how sponsorship motives have evolved.
  • Be able to differentiate between advertising and sponsorship.
  • Learn the advantages of each of the key promotion tools.
  • Identify the six categories of sponsorship opportunities.
  • Distinguish between self-evident and strategic linkages.
  • Learn the trends in spending on sponsorships.
  • Gain insight as to how ambush marketing and leveraging play roles.
  • Develop a basic understanding of the three special cases of sponsorship.
  • Identify the five key sponsorship objectives.
  • Learn the importance of each sponsorship objective.
  • Understand the concept of matching.
  • Learn the potential components of a sponsorship plan.
  • View a comprehensive example of a sponsorship.

Gain an awareness of controversies regarding sponsorship.

Appendix 4: Lotus: Specialists, sponsors and suppliers

Company Name Co. Ltd; Town/location Function
Abbey Panels &Sheet Metal Co. Ltd; Coventry
Accles&Pollock Co. Ltd; Coventry
AC-Delco Co. Ltd; Coventry
Adamant Engineering Co. Ltd; Coventry
Aeroplane &Motor aluminium Casting Co. Ltd; Coventry
Aeroquip add
Aerotech Co. Ltd; Coventry
Alacantra Co. Ltd; Coventry
Albion Engineering Co. Ltd; Coventry
Alexander Engineering Co. Ltd; Coventry
Alford&Adler Co. Ltd; Coventry
Aluminium Bronze Co. Ltd; Coventry
Amal Co. Ltd; Coventry
AP Racing add
Armstrong Patents Co. Ltd; Beverley
ATL Lab’ Milton Keynes
Auto Tempo London
Autolite Diss
Avon add
B.I.C.C. add
Barimar Fulham, London
Barwell Engineering Chessington
Beard&Fitch Ltd; London
Behr/Secan Germany
Bendix Tysley
Benton&Stone Birmingham
Bilstein Wembley
Bluemel Bros London
Borg&Beck add
Borrani add
Bowden Willsden,London
BP add
Bramber Engineering Co. London
BRD add
Brembo Italy
Brico Coventry
Brion Leroux add
British Gear Grinding &Manufacture Co. Ltd; London
British Jaeger Instruments Ltd; London
British Piston Ring Co. Ltd; Coventry
British Thompson-Houston Co. Ltd; Coventry
BRM add
Brooklands Engineering Co. Ltd; Cobham
Buckler Reading
Budenberg Co. Ltd; London
Bullanco London
Burgess Products Co. Ltd; Hinckley
Burman&Sons Ltd; Birmingham
Burman. add
Butterworth Engineering Co. Ltd; Frimley
Buttlers Ltd; Birmingham
C.E.Heath add
Cam Gears Ltd; Luton
Cambridge Engineering Kew,London
Camel Racing Service add
Carbone Industries add
Castrol add
Castrol Motor Oils London
Caxton Name Plate Manufacture’ Co. Ltd; Kew,London
Cleveite/Vandervelle add
Champion add
Chandler Evans Corp’ USA
Chippenham Casting Co. Ltd; Slough
Chloride Batteries Ltd; Manchester
Chorley Precision Engineering Ltd; Chorley
Clayton Dewandre Co. Ltd; Lincoln
Close Tolerance Casting Ltd; Crawley
Collier &Collier Ltd; Didcot
Concentric engineering Co. Ltd; Birmingham
Cooper Cars Surbiton, London
Cooper&Smith Melton Mow’
Copper Mechanical Joints Slough
Cords Piston Rings London
Cosworth add
Courage Staines, London
Courtaulds Slough
Covell Ltd; London
Coventry Climax Coventry
Cox&Co[Watford] Ltd; Watford
Cranfield Bedford
D.Napier &Sons Ltd; London
Dart Springs Co. Ltd; West Bromwich
David Brown Auto Gearbox Div. Huddersfield
David Charles Group Didcot
De Longhi Wellingborough
DeHavilland Engineering Co. Ltd; Edgeware,London
Delaney Gallay Ltd; London
Deloro Stellite Ltd; Birmingham
Desmo Ltd; Birmingham
Dimag add
Dirt Devil Mexborough
Dowty Seals Ltd; Tewkesbury
Dreadnought add
Duckhams London
Dunlop Birmingham
Dzus Fastener Ltd; Farnborough
Edward Lawrence Co. Kidderminster
Eibach Germany
ELF Wembley, London
ENV Engineering Co. Ltd; Willsden,London
Epson UK Ltd; HemelH’
Essex Petrol add
Esso add
F.P.T Portsmouth
Farnborough Engineering Ltd; Farnborough
Ferodo Ltd; Chapel-
Fibreglass Ltd; St. Helens
Firestone add
First Air UK
Fish Optical Co. Ltd; London
Fitch&Sacks AG Germany
FJ Evans add
Fontana/Lobo Italy
Ford add
Frazer Nash Technology Ltd; add
Gallay Willsden,London
Gandy London
Garrett add
Geo.slater Co. Ltd; Hereford
George Gray Emsworth
Girling Ltd; Tysley
GKN add
Gloucester Foundry Ltd; Gloucester
Glyco Metal Co. Ltd; Manchester
Goetze add
Gold Leaft,JPS /Imperial Tobacco add
Goodlass Wall Co. Ltd; London
Goodyear add
GQ Co. Ltd; Woking
Grandage add
Hall&Neilson Ltd; Bury
Hardy Spicer Birmingham
Havoline add
Hepolite &Grangage Ltd; Bradford
Heuer Manchester
Hewland Maidenhead
High Duty Alloys Ltd; Redditch
Hitachi Bolton
Hoffmann Manufacturing Co. Ltd; Chelmsford
Holbourn&Eaton Manufacturing Co. Ltd; Strood
Honda add
Hudd Engineering Ltd; Rugby
I.H.T. Colnbrook
I.P.R.A. Italy
Industrial impregnation Ltd; add
Jack Knight [Jackson Development’] Ltd; Woking
John Bull Rubber Leicester
John Wilde&Sons London
KKK Wellingborough
KLG London
Komatsu UK Ltd; Chester -L-St
Koni add
Kugal Fischer Germany
L.Robinson[Gillingham] Co. Ltd; Gillingham
Lamborghini Italy
Lancefield Aircraft Co. Ltd; London
Laycock Engineering Ltd; Sheffield
Leyland Motors Ltd; Lancs
Lobro add
Lockheed add
Loctite Welwyn
Lodge London
Lotus Getrag add
Lotus/Ransome/Hoffman/Pollard add
Low Moor alloy Steelworks Ltd; Bradford
Lucas add
Lucky Strike Racing add
Mahle Kg Germany
Marchal London
Marelli Cannock
Marston Shipley
Martin Ray London
Martini Rosso Italy
Maserati add
Maskells [Brixton] Ltd; London
Matra France
Meccano add
Melmag Wheels Manchester
Metalastic Leicester
Michelin Stoke
Micromax Slough
Microplas Ltd; Mitcham,London
Mintex Ltd; Clerkheaton
Mobil add
Mobilgas/Vacumn Oil Ltd; London
Mollart Engineering Co. Surbiton, London
Momo Italy
Motor components Ltd; Birmingham
Mugen Honda add
Nabishi Japan
Neste UK Ltd; London
NGK UK Ltd; Hemel H’
Nichibutsy Japan
Nikasil add
Olympus Cameras London
Omega Pistons Ltd; Halesowen
Opus Metrology Ltd; Northants
OZ Italy
Pace add
Palmer Aero Products Ltd; London
Panasonic add
Penske Ltd; Poole
Pepe Jeans Ltd; London
Perry Chain Co. Ltd; Tysley
Pirelli UK Tyres Ltd; Burton
Porsche Kg Germany
Portway Forging [Wednesbury] Ltd; Wednesbury
Pratt&Whitney USA/Canada
Precision rubbers Ltd; Bagworth
Pyrene London
Racing Engines Ltd; London
Ray Chem Swindon
Raymac Industries London
Rayment Co. Ltd; London
Raymond Mays & Partners Ltd; Bourne
Redex London
Regent Oil London
Renault ELF London
Renix /Renault Bendix add
Renold Chain Ltd; Wythenshawe
Reynolds Tube Co. Ltd; Birmingham
Richard Berry&Sons West Bromwich
RJ Richardson&Sons Ltd; Birmingham
Robert Bosh add
Robinson&Knee Ltd; Birmingham
Rose Bros.[Gainsborough] Gainsborough
S.E.Opperman Ltd; Boreham
S.H.Collett Manufacture’ Co. Ltd; London
S.Scherdel Kg Germany
Salamino IIdelbrando Italy
Salisbury add
Samuel Godge & sons Ltd; Rainham
Schlumberger UK?USA
Secan add
Segan add
SEP add
Serk Radiators Ltd; Park Royal, London
Servais silencers Ltd; Cricklewood,London
Shell Japan
Shionogi add
Silencers [Bolton] Ltd; Bolton
Silentblock Ltd; Crawley
Simpson USA
Smiths Industries Ltd; London
Specialised Mouldings Ltd; Huntingdon
Speedline add
Speedometer Co. Ltd; London
Speedy Cables London
Springall Ltd; Hitchen
Stack Bicester
Stand 21 France
Stenor Ltd; Richmond
Stephenson Blake Co. Ltd; Sheffield
STP Halifax
T&T Tubecraft Woking
Tamiya Milton Keynes
Technical Plating Ltd; Teddington
Telcalemit Ltd; Brentwood
Terry Herbert &Sons Ltd; Redditch
Texaco add
The Chrome Alloying Co. Hatfield
The National fire Protection Co. Ltd; Feltham
The Power Flexible Tubing Co. Ltd; London
The Power Plant Co. Ltd; West Drayton
The S.U.Carburetter Co. Ltd; Birmingham
The Valli tool Co. Ltd; Uxbridge
The Zenith Carburetter Co. Ltd; Stanmore
Tissot Eastleigh
Tommy Hilfiger USA
Torbay Speed Shop Torquay
Trico-Folbreth Ltd; Brentford
UDT [Commercial] Ltd; London
Universal Laminates London
Vandervelle Products Ltd; Park Royal, London
Varley Dry Accumulators Ltd; Barking
Veglia add
Vigzol Oil Co. Ltd; London
Viton “O” ring Seals add
Vokes Ltd; Guildford
VW Derrington Ltd; Kingston
W.B.Cull&Sons Ltd; Birmingham
W.G.James Ltd; London
Walter Potter Ltd; London
Ward [Putney] Co. Ltd; Putney, London
Weber Sunbury, London
Wellworthy Ltd; London
William Jessop and Sons Ltd; Sheffield
Williams & Pritchard London
Willmet Twickenham
Wills Pressure -Filled Joint Rings Ltd; Bridgewater
Woodhead Jonas&Sons Ltd; Hounslow
Wragg Bros.[aluminium Equipm’] Ltd; Wickford
Xtrac Ltd; Wokingham
Yellow Hat Japan
Yuasa add
ZF Ag UK/Germany
Zytek Systems Sutton Coldfield

Appendix 5: Net reference

Locations of British motorsport companies


An extensive bibliography is provided in A&R article on John Players Specials/Gold Leaf

Industrial Design A-Z.C&P Fiell.Taschen.

ISBN: 3822863106

Lotus Book.Taylor.Coterie.1998.

ISBN: 1902351002

Art of the Formula 1 Race Car. Mann, Codling.Motorbooks.2010

ISBN: 9780760337318

International Corporate Identity.Olins.Laurence King.1995

ISBN: 1856690377

International Motor Racing 1978.Ed by B.Gill.Macdonald and Jane’s.1978

ISBN: 035409033X

The International Motor Show. Offical Catalogue.1966

Motor Racing Directory 1955-56 [Ed by staff of “Motor Racing”] Pearl Cooper.

Motor Racing Directory.Kettlewell.

ISBN: 0906556007

Autosport A-Z Motorsport Directory. [Annual editions] Haymarket