Locally Grown Lotus Destined to Bloom Again

Locally Grown Lotus Destined to Bloom Again

By Elizabeth Talbot

A lotus or a lotus flower is a type of water lily that grows in Africa and Asia, which notoriously emerges from murky waters as an aquatic jewel, and because of its surprising abilities to thrive and delight in the most unexpected conditions and surroundings, it has gained a long-standing importance around the world. The lotus flower symbolizes rising from a dark place into beauty and rebirth: it featured in the religion of the ancient Egyptians and is considered sacred in Eastern cultures, being used in both Hinduism and Buddhism, where it is one of the eight auspicious symbols.

Lotus Engineering Ltd was the name given by Colin Chapman to the company he and Colin Dare formed in 1952. Chapman had built his first racing car in a garage in 1948 and the business followed on from there. They were both graduates of University College, London, and the first factory was situated in an old stable block behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. One strand of the firm was active and competitive in Formula One racing from the mid 1950’s, whilst other areas concentrated on road cars and car production.

Since 1966 the company has occupied a modern factory and road test facility at Hethel, near Wymondham in Norfolk, the site of a former World War II RAF airfield, where parts of the old runway make for ready-made test tracks. It has had a colourful and innovative history, covering racing, trial, road and kit cars. Therefore, Lotus has been considered “local” for many decades, through the ups and downs of fortune witnessed by the firm, and there is a lot of pride and interest within the region for the iconic classics which have been crafted under the distinctive and exclusive marque.

So, whenever Andre Ling, auctioneer and automobilia specialist at Diss Auction Rooms, is instructed to market a Lotus at auction, it’s a special day, as it is for collectors and enthusiasts. The next opportunity to road test the market will be at TW Gaze’s next Automobilia Auction on Tuesday 31 October. On this occasion, a DBF 808C 1965 Lotus Elite with 1216cc engine is being offered. Andre says “It was designed by Peter Kirwan-Taylor and Frank Costin, and it is believed that 1,030 of this model were built. The Coventry Climax, along with the Elite’s fibreglass monocoque, propelled the Lotus from 0 – 62mph in 11 seconds and it could reach speeds in excess of 100 mph. I can just imagine it being tested to full capacity on the track, just a few miles away from where we are now!”

It carries a pre-auction guide price of £10,000 – 20,000, reflecting the fact that it has been stripped down for restoration. It comes with its Coventry Climax engine, wire spoke wheels, boxes of spares and a folder of ephemera and paperwork, including the original Vehicle Registration document, along with some receipts. This looks like a very attractive over-winter project and has all it requires to live up to its name, Lotus, which will rise from a dark place into beauty and rebirth.

Further details about this, and all the other lots in the sale, will feature in our online catalogue twgaze.co.uk. To consign automobilia for future auctions, please contact Andre Ling a.ling@twgaze.co.uk.

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