Drive My Car: 100 Objects that made Colin Chapman and Lotus


It’s recently become a trend to describe significant objects from history or cultural evolution through 100 objects.

It was rather obvious that Chapman and Lotus could be tackled in this fashion as adequate resources exist; but the obvious does not always register immediately!!

However the editors had the light bulb moment when they picked up a copy of Drive My Car 100 objects that made the Beatles.

This allowed us to seize on Lotus Collectables & the Lotus Book as means to compile a 100-object catalogue of what defined Chapman and Lotus. The elements which contributes to the reputation of the brand and its continuing cutting- edge technology and vanguard position in sports car performance.

Rather than just a nostalgia trip the editors consider the study of 100 objects provides an intense immersion into Chapman and Lotus brand distinction and differentiation. It permits an at a glance quick reference of assistance to a new audience.

100 Objects is almanac, scrapbook, serendipity, microscope and telescope of Chapman, Lotus and the unique brand he created.

Chapman and his colleagues at Lotus during his lifetime created an exceptional British specialist motor brand and consultancy. This has evolved since and Chapman principles continue to inspire, underpin and even influence competitors.

Chapman and Lotus grew through local to club, to national and international fame both through competition success at the highest level and through exports. In doing so they helped establish the reputation of British engineering to the extent many F1 participants are UK based.

The editors are proud to have lived, participated and experienced firsthand Lotus achievement .100 objects enable this to be shared and interpretation helps reach new audiences. The appeal of Chapman is rooted in the underdog and the David and Goliath heroic struggle.

Chapman and Lotus cemented their iconic status relatively early on with their inclusion in TV and cinema i.e. Avengers. Prisoner and James Bond.

The aesthetic and technical content of Chapman’s designs collided, merged, influence taste, fashion and collected into a rich kaleidoscope of pop culture in the broadest sense.

This team work in many ways transformed motorsport and the sports car concept as the Elise continues to do.

The brand has a remarkable heritage to draw upon. This includes the achievements in:-

  • Le Mans
  • Indianapolis
  • F1 and lesser Formulas
  • Road cars like Seven, Elite, Elan, Europa, Esprit, and Elise
  • Popular culture

In conjunction with our obtaining Drive My Car we read the Brand Finance analysis of the motor industry for 2018.Geeley are doing well and its thought that Lotus are contributing significantly to their performance.[see Appendix below]

Brand image and reputation are a function of success and we therefore feel by listing 100 objects that helped define Lotus we assist marketing and connect owners with a proud technical and cultural heritage steeped in innovation, fine aesthetics, technical achievement and competition success in virtually every major branch of motor sport.

Teaching history

Education is a primary objective of the proposed CCM&EC.

We therefore provide details of how 100 Objects was created and used to advance learning.

A History of the World in 100 Objects was a joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, comprising a 100-part radio series written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. In 15-minute presentations broadcast on weekdays on Radio 4, MacGregor used objects of ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all of which are in the British Museum’s collections, as an introduction to parts of human history. The series, four years in planning, began on 18 January 2010 and was broadcast over 20 weeks.[1] A book to accompany the series, A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor, was published by Allen Lane on 28 October 2010.[2] The entire series is also available for download along with an audio version of the book for purchase. The British Museum won the 2011 Art Fund Prize for its role in hosting the project.

“Teaching history with 100 objects harnesses the power of objects to motivate young people’s interest in history and to provide teachers with resources to inspire their students’ study of events and people in the past.”

Subscribers might like to see the directly relevant and integrated A&R pieces that complement and help structure this article:-

  • Examine spreadsheet below and use Object heading to search our website for extended analysis, pictures and graphics

The Lotus Objects

The ability to quickly and easily assemble 100 objects we consider is an indication of the cultural status of Chapman and Lotus.

These are not merely nostalgia many are in existence today, have inspired and continue to inspire automobile design including F1, others through Lotus consultancy.

Many are folklore and cultural icons hardly needing any interpretation like the Lotus Seven.

No. Object Technical Cultural Inspiration Interpretation
1 Austin Special-Austerity significance significance
2 Mk.III
3 Mk.VI
4 Seven
5 Mk.IX
6 Eleven
7 Type 12
8 Elite
9 Type 18
10 Type 23
11 Type 25
12 Elan-Prosperity
13 Cortina
14 Type 30/40
15 Type 38,Indianapolis
16 Europa
17 Type 49
18 Type 51
19 Type 56
20 Type 63
21 Type 72
22 Esprit
23 Type 79
24 Type 81
25 Type 100T
26 Type 102B
27 Carlton
28 Type 108 Pursuit bike/110
29 Elise
30 Sports cars &Lotus Owner
31 Magazines
32 Books incl’ biography
33 Cutaway drawings
34 John Player Special
35 James Bond
36 The Prisoner
37 The Avengers
38 Silverware
39 Sales brochures
40 Chapman’s drawings
41 Factory documentation
42 Scale models& wind tunnel
43 Coventry Climax
44 Cosworth and DFV
45 M.G.
46 Portrait photographs
47 Build cards
48 Circuit posters and prog’
49 Handbooks
50 750 Motor Club
51 1172 Formula
52 Sponsors & memorabilia
53 Michael Turner -fine art
54 Aviation and planes
55 Transporters
56 Decals
57 Team clothing
58 Lotus merchandising
59 Driver overalls
60 Chassis types
61 Price lists
62 Steering wheel
63 Chassis plate
64 Lotus badge /monogram
65 Family moto
66 Lotus gearbox
67 BRM H16
68 Lotus publicity calendars
69 Type 47 GKN
70 Tyre manufacturers
71 Pratt Whitney Turbine
72 Lotus engine 907
73 Twin chassis
74 Carbon +Kevlar /Nomex
75 Chapman school reports
76 Chap ‘sRAF / pilots licence
77 Vanwall
78 Wobbly web
79 DeloreamDMC-12
80 Microlight and engine
81 Lotus furniture
82 Factory sites
83 Chapmans “Future Spec ‘F1
84 Chapman hands -on
85 Lotus published road tests
86 Ferodo Trophy
87 Racing Car show
88 Chapman strut
89 Chapman patents
91 Active suspension
92 Backbone chassis
93 Pop Art
94 Club Lotus
95 Circuits
96 Lotus International /export
97 Williams & Pritchard
98 Homes, Hornsey &A ‘Palace
99 London Motor Show etc.
100 Colin Chapman, Sunday Dispatch

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 spread sheet and re configure listing into personal priority list
  • Add/subtract to listing
  • Provide details under headings to highlight significance
  • Provide means of further interpreting object to wide audience , consider the visual, tactile , experience and interactive opportunity
  • How has 100 objects helped teach cultural history?
  • How could the 100 objects principle help tourism?
  • Reduce your list to 10 objects and explain priorities
  • What is the interactive means to interpret objects through the net?

Exhibitions, Education, Economics and Entertainment

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 exhibition themes might be appropriate:-

  • 100 Objects
  • 100 Components
  • Lotus 0-100 through objects
  • Building Lotus brand its component parts


Lotus as created by Colin Chapman and accentuated and advanced since his death by inspired engineers and managers is one of the foremost automobile brands in existence. It can benchmark its achievement across a wide spectrum or criteria.

The history and impact of Lotus is enormous and its history and technology, design contains much of the following: –

  • Rich
  • Diverse
  • Educational
  • Can be described catalogued and known
  • Multi directional and interconnected/structured
  • Accessible
  • Tactile
  • Ability to own, drive, experience, potential for simulators etc.
  • Cultural dimension

Museum context

The editors have campaigned for the proposed CCM&EC [see strategy statements and related documents] .The editors believe the proposed museum would not struggle in its plan to link Colin Chapman to education, celebration and promotion of British engineering .The ability to define 100 objects confirms this fact.

In a museum setting there exists an ability to: –

  • Display individual objects, collectively and holistically in wider cultural contexts
  • Present with interactive multi- media; including simulators
  • Organise , catalogue and support research
  • Provided themed exhibitions to promote products services related to Lotus past, present and future
  • Demonstrate and interpret objects in their cultural context and make comprehensible to a wide audience beyond engineers
  • Support brand and sales
  • Directly support British engineering and exports along with tourism
  • Interpret to new audience in meaningful manner of obvious concern when entering non -traditional markets
  • Link with related institutions like Motor Racing Driver Race schools, gliding, flying clubs and aviation museums etc.
  • To generally perform the role as an Exploratory Laboratory

Appendix 1: Collaboration


“……….Lotus has never built enough cars to support a realistic new-model programme.So rather than attempt to grow out of being a modest manufacturer, it has worked with and for majors, adapted some other’s products, and has been owned by one of the largest automobile companies…….

The formation of the Lotus Engineering and Technology unit as such was announced late in 1980 and Lotus Engineering has been more important to the Group than Lotus Cars products for two decades….”

The ownership by Geeley and the Chinese/Asian markets opportunities, relate to brand and the future. Brand/heritage and sales are indivisible functions.

Appendix 2: Brand Finance, most valuable brands, 2018

Chinese Brands in Hot Pursuit

Outside the top 10, a number of Chinese brands are enjoying remarkable brand value growth while focusing on the Chinese domestic market, which is now the world’s largest. This includes Haval (up 124% to US$6.8 billion), Geely (up 62% to US$6.0 billion), BYD (up 211% to US$3.4 billion), Baojun (up 98% to US$1.8 billion), and Foton (up 90% to US$1.0 billion). In recent weeks, Geely has purchased 9.7% of Daimler, seeking to work on electric cars with the German conglomerate, while the German government said it would keep a monitor on the relationship.

The Chinese brands have succeeded in delivering strong value, but to date, only for the Chinese mass market. Outside China, the brands are largely unknown, and within the Chinese premium and luxury segments, foreign brands such as Mercedes-Benz continue to dominate. Chinese brands are expected to aquire Western brands in order to leverage their brand strength internationally, and to use their Chinese focused brands to innovate low cost vehicles for their large domestic market.


Drive My Car.Southall.SevenOaks.2013.

ISBN: 978

The Lotus Book.

Lotus Collectables.


ISBN: 0752520741

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.