Newsletter June 2009 – Number 12

  1. Questions from our readers
  2. Museums around the world you may not have heard of
  3. Caterham Cars: Connections and Coincidence – A new section of the website will have these articles. See the ” Lotus related interest” section.
  4. Lotus books/(recommended reading)
  5. Lotus books(one for the library).
  6. Lotus collectables
  7. Lotus interest on YouTube

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

1. Question (can you help?)

We frequently get asked quite amazing questions from around the world. So far we have used a limited group to try and answer them, not always successfully. We have now put them on our website to see if any “friends” know the answer.

Last month we solved the steering wheel question thanks to Pat Dennis. However, there are still many unanswered questions on our website plus a new one from Mexico city. Can you help?.


Hello, I’m from Mexico city, and I’d like to require some information about a Lotus 18 that i have recently acquired, this car came with 2 dual weber 40’s unlike the first series came with 38’s. Do i supose the car had 10 more horse power?

The serial number is: 18J 790 or 79 i’m not certain cause there are little scratches on the ID plate.
The engine number is: 596732F
The chasis number from Arch Motors is: 08/7/83 or 0877183, it seems that the numbers were not well stamped, so it could be, 0877183 so the diagonals and the first numbers could be a 7 and the 1.
i would be very grateful if you can give information regading the history of this vehicule.
Thanks in advance!!!

Lotus 18 1

More pictures are available.


All of these questions plus additional ones are in the new section on the web under ‘General’. If you know the answer please send us an email and we’ll go back to the sender.

2. Museums around the world (you may not know about) Number 2

We have devoted a section to museums within our web for the following reasons:

1. We have a practical and theoretical interest.
2. We like to examine the relative achievements and contributions of others.
3. We take an International view (although we are all limited to some extent by travel), but through contributions we can share our localised or travel experiences with others
4. We welcome comment, participation, feedback and your pictures of the museums you have visited
5. Where practical, we will include some photographs of places visited.

In forthcoming editions I will try and call attention to the following:

1.Our proposals for the CCM&EC, should circumstances permit.
2. A selection of museums from around the world (car, engineering and design relate)] starting with London, UK, Great BritainB, Europe,America and Rest of the World.

Southward Car Museum

Museum Update June 2009_clip_image002

A short drive up Wellington’s lovely “Gold coast”, you will find the largest collection of cars and motorbikes in New Zealand. Once the largest private collection of cars (now a charitable trust) the Southwards car museum holds more than 200 cars and 125 motorbikes. With cars dating from an early (1890s) Benz you will find a collection that will amaze you.

Trip 239 Trip 234

Look at the website under the “General” category museums for more pictures of this wonderful museum.

3. Caterham Cars: Connections and Coincidence – Instalment 1


Caterham cars will be indelibly associated with the Lotus and subsequently the highly developed Caterham Seven.
However this article is not about the machines, as this has been dealt with by others in greater detail. [Please see references and extensive websites devoted to the marque.]

What it sets out and illustrates with some photographs is the brief history of the premises and the significant help that was extended to the author when he built his Ford Special to a specification approximating to a Lotus Mk.VI.

Coincidence and overlap occur at many levels and Arch Motors bridges a Lotus and Caterham connection. We will feature then in a following edition.

Caterham Cars: Premises

Caterham Cars was founded by Graham Nearn and Ian .H.Smith [Lotus First Ten Years*] in 1959 at Town End, Caterham –on-the-Hill, Surrey. It is believed that the premises had previously been occupied by Anthony Crook when he had been a distributor for Bristol Cars.

Graham Nearn has been quoted as saying;
“There was an old garage at the back and petrol pumps at the front. Subsequently I sold the petrol station to Esso………..in 1987 moved to Dartford” [See authors photographs it’s just possible to make a connection of how the site looked in the late 50 and 60’s the Victorian houses in a terrace remaining the same]

By the 1960’s Caterham Cars was a major force regarding the Lotus Seven due to their enthusiasm, determination and involvement in motor sport. During this period it is believed that they were known as the lotus Centre and may also have been briefly agents for TVR and Marcos.

Graham Nearn acquired the manufacturing rights to the Seven from Lotus. C 1987 they moved to Dartford; the Town End Site was redeveloped. For a short time an administration base was retained here and cars were often displayed outside and in four adjacent lock ups. More recently Caterham operates from two sites. Assembly mainly concentrated at Dartford and the show room at Caterham Valley next to the main line BR station [see authors photographs]

The Author’s Experience

The author moved to Caterham in 1982; a Lotus enthusiast but unaware of Caterham Cars existence.

This was soon discovered and the photographs with UPE 9 show the buildings prior to the redevelopment into residential and workshop units. The author’s interest was the Mk.VI and several have been owned or passed through Caterham Cars. At one stage the Caterham Cars showroom also doubled as a museum with several MkVI, Seven MkI, II, III and Eleven on display.

Graham Nearn and his staff have been extremely kind, courteous and tolerant of the research and inspection we have conducted on the Mk.VI. Possibly hundreds of photographs were taken, recording the construction details of several MkVi but primarily UPE 9. Possibly the only aspect of the car the author was unable to do was check the cam profile, gearbox ratios and weight of the overall car. Support and advice has also been available and the company have also generously provided sales material and on one occasion lent a car to be displayed at a local car show. Caterham Cars are a major local employer and contribute significantly to the local economy. Their current showroom is a Mecca and their cars a customary site on the Caterham bypass.

Though Caterham Cars the author learnt of Redline and Oxted Trimming. Both companies have supplied the author with help, technical advice, parts service and materials. It’s difficult to find words to describe the generosity of spirit in assisting a non engineer with his construction of a Ford Special.

The author has enormous respect for them, their product, its ongoing development and the retention of possibly one of the greatest motoring icons.


It is believed that Caterham use approximately 150 major suppliers which includes engines.

Caterham Cars Ltd.
Station Ave
Caterham Cars [Factory]
2 Kennet Rd

Red Line Components Ltd .
19 Timber Lane

Arch Motors and Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Redwongs Way
PE 29 7HD

Oxted Trimming Co Ltd
14 Beatrice Rd


Caterham Cars: www.caterham.co.uk
Lotus and Caterham Seven
John Tipler 2005
Crowood Press

The Magnificent Seven
Chris Rees 2007

Lotus Seven –Super Profile
G.Arnold 2004

Mk IV 1 Mk IV 2 Mk IV 3 Mk IV 4

Article by John Scott-Davies

4. Lotus books (recommended reading)

We have added various recommendations from our readers on the website. Thank you Peter Ross, Tim Linstead, Roger Thomas and Tony Kwan for your input.

Some of these books are out of print so autojumbles may help. More recommendations welcome. Please keep sending recommendations.

5. Lotus books – one for the library

Michael Olivers book on the Lotus 72 is featured this time.

6. Lotus collectables

We have added a number of fascinating items to our collectable list. We would especially like to thank John Gray for the details of such a wonderful brochure and have added John’s website to our link page.

This is an opportunity for you to share with other “friends” any pictures of collectables you may have. Just send me an email with the picture attached and it will be included in our next update.

7. Lotus interest on YouTube

One item on YouTube maybe of interest our readers – a Lotus Evora being driven round track



Thank you for your continued continued interest and support

Editors of the newsletter
John Scott-Davies
Neil Duncan