Archive for September, 2010

2015 Lotus Eterne – The Statement of Intent

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Enter the Eterne, the four door super saloon from Lotus. If the Elite is elegance incarnate then the Eterne is elegance redefined.

2015 Lotus Eterne

The Eterne is a true four door, four seater sports GT. It’s the ultimate expression of refined style, sophistication and grace. But wait. An elegant, graceful sports car? Surely not.
A sports car by definition can’t be graceful. Powerful, exciting, aggressive yes, but not graceful. Yet here it is, the ultimate paradox – the Eterne. Power and grace, performance and elegance, beauty and strength all in one stunning package.

2015 Lotus Eterne

With a 5.0 litre pressure charged V8 engine delivering up to 620 PS the Eterne is aiming for best in class performance and efficiency.

In keeping with the rest of the new line-up, the Eterne will benefit from hybrid technology.
Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “The Eterne is sensational to look and as with the rest of the range it also over delivers in all other aspects as well. Similar to the Elite, it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, relative lightweight yet still reassuringly solid.”

“We truly believe that there is a market for the Eterne, there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of design, capacity and performance. The biggest difference between the Eterne and it’s class competitors is that it’s not an evolution of an existing two-door model, it’s a deliberate and considered stand-alone creation. It’s the ultimate four door sports car.”

2015 Lotus Eterne

Sometimes there are no rules to be broken, so it is time to define them instead.

2015 Lotus Eterne

Eterne Specification

Layout 4 seater, front-mid-engined, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive is optional
Engine Petrol, hybrid optional
Hybrid Technology Hybrid gearbox with integrated electric motors and KERS
Cylinder V8
Capacity 5.0 litre
Power/Torque 620 PS / 720 Nm
Rev limit 8,500 rpm
0-100 km/h 4.0 seconds
Top speed 315 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 220 g/km**
Weight 1,800 kg
Seats 4
Transmission Full Hybrid transmission
Drive RWD, AWD optional
Start of production Early 2015
Enters the market Spring 2015
Price indication Circa £120,000
**Using optional hybrid

2015 Lotus Eterne

2015 Lotus Elise – The Grown Up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Oh yes, here it is! There’s still room for the Elise at Lotus but what a difference a decade or two makes. The Elise due for release in 2015 is a sexy, agile beast of a car. Finally the Elise comes of age.

2015 Lotus Elise

Aesthetically it’s definitely pleasing to the eye, it’s bold directional body gives you subtle hints of the Elise of old so it still seems a touch familiar but at the same time, it couldn’t be more different.

2014 Lotus Elise

Perhaps a small example of how the car has changed would help. Aside from strong graphic styling, the practicality of the car has had a major overhaul too with sizeable improvements made to the ingress and egress – in simple terms, no more acrobatics but still all the fun you expect from the Elise.

2015 Lotus Elise

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “We worked very hard on getting the Elise 2015 exactly right, it’s our entry level car so it needs to give a proper introduction to the Lotus driving experience.”

“The Elise you can buy now is still a fantastic car, make no mistake, Lotus remain very proud of it, but this is a natural progression for us moving forward. The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency but it will do more than that it will take the Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board.”

“The design of the Elise 2015 is perfect for the target market, it’s young, strong, confident, verging on ruthless, it mirrors the engineering and technology. It’s the next generation Elise for a new generation of Lotus drivers.”

2015 Lotus Elise

Fear not though, despite the dramatic upgrades the Elise 2015 has lost none of the cheeky charm that made the two-seater sports car famous, it still retains performance through lightweight and handles like a dream – albeit a quite aggressive and tension filled dream. With a 2.0 litre inline 4 pressure charged engine delivering up to 320 PS, the Elise 2015 should reach 0-100kph in under 4.5 seconds.

The Elise 2015, proving great things come to those who wait.

2015 Lotus Elise

Elise Specification

Layout 2 seater, mid-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine Petrol with start/stop option
Hybrid technology Mild hybrid, i.e. start/stop technology
Cylinder 4
Capacity 2.0 litre
Power/Torque 320 PS / 330 Nm
Rev limit 7,800 rpm
0-100 km/h 4.3 seconds
Top speed 270 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 150 g/km**
Weight 1,095 kg
Seats 2
Transmission 6 Speed Manual, DCT optional
Drive RWD
Start of production Early 2015
Enters the market Spring 2015
Price indication Circa £35,000
** With new technology

2015 Lotus Elise

2014 Lotus Elite – A New British Expression of Exclusivity

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Look up elegant in the dictionary and you’ll find variations on the following 1. dignified grace in appearance, movement, or behaviour, 2. superb taste in design, style and 3. something elegant; the ultimate refinement.

The ground-breaking new Elite is exactly that. It’s compact yet chic body is elegance incarnate. It’s not only exquisitely elegant, in keeping with Lotus’ core values, it’s a car of substance incorporating some of the very latest technological innovations Lotus has to offer. The slick retractable hard top and the optional use of hybrid technology with KERS are typical examples of Lotus tailoring technology to deliver perfect performance.

2014 Lotus Elite

Set for release in spring 2014, this is an innovative, exciting GT that will set a new benchmark in design, performance and emissions. And it’s not all about sleek lines and stunning bodywork with this particular 2+2, what hides beneath this shark like exterior perfectly does the aesthetics justice. A front-mid positioned 5.0 litre V8 engine delivering up to 620 PS meaning drivers can expect to go from 0-100 km/h in approximately 3.7 seconds.

2014 Lotus Elite

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “There’s no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at but it’s so much more than that, it’s a car that over delivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It’s a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance.

2014 Lotus Elite

“Make no mistake, there’s a definite market requirement for the Elite – it’s the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning. It’s worth noting that total 2+2 production represented over 20 per cent of Lotus build between 1948 and 1996 (pre small car platform) and 11 per cent over all, this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”

<a href=2014 Lotus Elite” width=”450″ height=”288″ />

The Elite will redefine “modern classic”.

Elite Specification

Layout 2+2 seater, front-mid-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine Petrol, hybrid optional
Hybrid technology Hybrid gearbox with integrated electric motors and KERS
Cylinder V8
Capacity 5.0 litre
Power/Torque 620 PS / 720 Nm
Rev limit 8,500 rpm
0-100 km/h 3.7 seconds
Top speed 315 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 215 g/km**
Weight 1,650 kg
Seats 2+2
Transmission Full Hybrid transmission
Drive RWD
Start of production Early 2014
Enters the market Spring 2014
Price indication Circa £115,000
**Using optional hybrid technology

2014 Lotus Elite

2014 Lotus Elite

2013 Lotus Elan – The End of Compromise

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

As the old saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it. In the past we were educated to believe we can’t have it all. But that was the past. Today’s driver demands more and the Elan delivers.

2013 Lotus Elan Paris Motor Show

The Elan is the beating heart of the new Lotus line-up. It’s a high performance sports car, that much is clear, it’s a Lotus after all, but thanks to some clever innovations the Elan also has everyday usability too.

2013 Lotus Elan Paris Motor Show

With a 2+2 variant, the Elan should be the only car you need. Set for release during the second half of 2013, the Elan features a 4.0 litre V6 pressure charged engine capable of delivering up to 450 PS and taking into consideration its relative light weight of 1,295kg, the Elan’s performance edges on supercar.

From a styling perspective, the Elan is built like an athlete with a muscular physique and perfect poise. It’s a thoroughbred, rigid with tension, ambitious and addictive, nothing but best in class will suffice for this car.

It’s not enough to simply provide performance and exceptional looks, innovation is also integral to the Elan’s appeal. In keeping with the rest of the new Lotus range, the Elan features optional hybrid technology with KERS.

2013 Lotus Elan Paris Motor Show

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “If there was ever a car to make you drive the long way home, it’s the Elan. Perfect for both road and track, the Elan not only ticks all the boxes, it creates new ones too.”

“The Elan will convert people to Lotus, I would challenge people not to become addicted to driving it. It will also go a long way towards dispelling the old misconceptions about this class, that in order to have high performance you must sacrifice usability – those days are gone.”

“Once you drive an Elan you won’t look back, it will give you things you didn’t even realise you were missing – that’s the essence of Lotus and the Elan perfectly captures that spirit.”

One car, zero compromise.
2013 Lotus Elan Paris Motor Show

Elan Specification

Layout 2 seater (optional 2+2), mid-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine Petrol, hybrid optional
Hybrid technology Optional KERS
Cylinder V6
Capacity 4.0 litre
Power/Torque 450 PS / 465 Nm
Rev limit 7,800 rpm
0-100 km/h 3.5 seconds
Top speed 310 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 199 g/km**
Weight 1,295 kg
Seats 2
Transmission 7 Speed DCT
Drive RWD
Start of production Summer 2013
Enters the market Autumn 2013
Price indication Circa £75,000
**Using optional hybrid

2013 Esprit Revealed

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The most eagerly anticipated Lotus makes its return. Without doubt, this is the car that the true Lotus aficionados have been waiting for: The ultimate Lotus.

2013 Lotus Esprit Paris Motor Show

The new Esprit represents the very essence of exclusive supercar driving. It picks up and exceeds the legacy of it’s forefathers. Think of it as a statement of superiority. Think of it as Lotus CEO Dany Bahar’s personal statement of intent, his vision for the future of Lotus.

2013 Esprit Paris Motor Show

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “The Esprit is the ultimate supercar. In the past when people thought of the Esprit, they thought of the movies, Bond, Pretty Woman,
Basic Instinct but this time around, the car is the star of the show.”

“One has to be very careful when taking on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic classic as the Esprit – everyone has an opinion. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist.”

“Not only does the Esprit look incredible but it has the performance to match. We’ve stuck to the Lotus core values of performance through lightweight and teamed them with future technology and exceptional engineering to ensure that the Esprit will be the leader of the pack. The design is aggressive, you have to see it to appreciate how low and wide the proportions are but it still retains a level of dignity, of class and most of all exclusivity. I’m very proud of this car.”

2013 Esprit Paris Motor Show

Powered by a 5.0 litre V8 pressure charged engine delivering up to 620 PS, the Esprit retains exceptional performance through it’s unique lightweight design making it the ultimate expression of Lotus supercar ownership. It is the supercar that will redefine ride and handling, performance, comfort and exclusivity.

The styling of the Esprit echoes the performance with strong lines throughout the sleek low body. The symmetry through the mass and proportion of the Esprit give it an intense look, it’s the perfect example of the new Lotus DNA in action.

The Esprit is more than an evolution, it’s a redefinition.

2013 Esprit Paris Motor Show

2013 Esprit Specification

Layout 2 seater, mid-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine Petrol, hybrid optional
Hybrid technology Optional KERS
Cylinder V8
Capacity 5.0 litre
Power/Torque 620 PS / 720 Nm
Rev limit 8,500 rpm
0-100 km/h 3.4 seconds
Top speed 330 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 250 g/km**
Weight 1,450 kg
Seats 2
Transmission 7 Speed DCT
Drive RWD
Start of production End of 2012
Enters the market Spring 2013
Price indication Circa £110,000
**Using optional hybrid technolgy

2013 Esprit Paris Motor Show

Autocross Registration Opens (Classic Lotus special)

Monday, September 27th, 2010

As the GGLC has done in past years, we celebrate the closing of the AutoX season at the final event (October 16th ) by presenting the class awards for the series and offering a catered BBQ luncheon at Great America supported by our AutoX series sponsor, Boardwalk Lotus, Redwood City. The club would like to see more non-Elise/Exige drivers bring their Lotus cars out to AutoX events to dodge some cones. As an inducement, we will have special competition classes for pre-Elise/Exige Lotus cars at this event. So, no more excuses, we want to see Europas, Elans, Sevens and Esprits out there on the 16th!

Registration is now open to club members at MotorsportsReg. This will be the last event of the year and the final points event for club members. The event will open up to non-club members next week.

Entry Fee (includes lunch):
GGLC Members: $60
Non-Members: $70

Click here to register: http://www.motorsportreg.com/index.cfm/event/event.advert/uidEvent/49913FA5-C992-6A32-782956D844B0CFBF

Colm & Alex
GGLC Autocross Chairs

Team Lotus is Back!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Heikki, Din, Tony, David, Nasa, Fairuz, Jarno and Mike

Lotus Racing has today confirmed that the team will be known as Team Lotus from 2011. The migration from Lotus Racing to Team Lotus will take place over the coming months and the renamed team will be the direct successor to the iconic previous incarnation of Team Lotus when they take to the track in the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship and beyond. Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun’s Tune Group has acquired Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, the company led by David Hunt since Team Lotus was last on track, and through that agreement now has full ownership of the historic rights and goodwill of the Team Lotus brand and heritage.

Tony Fernandes

Tony Fernandes, Lotus Racing Team Principal, is delighted that the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes to make this acquisition can now be announced, saying: “Kamarudin, Nasa and I are absolutely delighted to have completed this transaction – It’s difficult to express just what it means to us to now be able to say we are Team Lotus, one of the most iconic names in any form of sport worldwide, but we have been working very hard to make this dream come true, and today it has. My thanks go to David for looking after the Team Lotus brand so well over the period of his stewardship, and keeping the integrity of Team Lotus together. We are very excited about now taking over the brand and after our first year in Formula One™, we believe we are ready to do justice to the legacy we have inherited. These are heady days for Team Lotus, and it will be a very exciting process for the team we have in place to help us achieve our goals, on and off track.

“It was always important to us that Lotus Racing and Team Lotus could be brought together to unite the past and the present, and now we have done so. We have enjoyed a successful first year as Lotus Racing, and our thanks go to Proton, Group Lotus and all our partners for the parts they have played in our year as Lotus Racing. But now we move on to a new chapter, and as Team Lotus we will be an even more potent force, both on and off track. Everyone associated with the team is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead – even more so now we will be bringing back one of the most loved, revered and respected names in motor racing history. A new dream starts today – Team Lotus is back.”

David Hunt

David Hunt, who has overseen the negotiations with Tony and his team, has been Managing Director of Team Lotus since 1994. He revealed his feelings about returning Britain’s greatest motor racing name to Formula 1™, saying: “I’m delighted this day has finally arrived. In January 1995, when I had the simply awful task of making the loyal Team Lotus personnel redundant, I promised them, the fans and the media that somehow we would return Team Lotus to F1™ in good order and properly funded. We had no idea of the huge difficulties we would have to overcome when I made that statement.

“Nevertheless, I simply would not allow the legacy of Colin Chapman’s extraordinary achievements to die and I want publicly to thank the many loyal individuals who have worked to reach what sometimes seemed an impossible goal. The custodianship of the iconic brand and history now passes from me to Tony, Kamarudin and Nasa. In relinquishing this responsibility I am confident I am handing over to a team who have the financial resources, passion, energy, vision and long-term commitment to give Team Lotus the best possible chance of returning to the sharp end of the grid. I look forward to assisting the team towards scoring Team Lotus’ 80th Grand Prix win – that will be the day when all the effort of the past 15 years will finally seem worthwhile.”

Tony Fernandes and David Hunt

[press release from Lotus Racing]

Lotus Back on Track With ART

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The best of British meets the best of France as Lotus Motorsport and GP2 championship winners ART Grand Prix unite to create the ultimate GP2 and GP3 race teams.

Lotus Motorsport in collaboration with seasoned championship winners ART Grand Prix can confirm their participation in the 2011 GP2 (Europe and Asia series) and GP3 series. The contract with ART Grand Prix sees Lotus commit to providing technical and engineering support for the GP2 and GP3 race series for the foreseeable future.

Lotus Motorsport and ART Grand Prix share a hunger for success, the facts speak for themselves. With seven F1 Constructers Championships, six F1 Driver Championships and numerous other considerable accolades, Lotus has a unique racing pedigree making them the perfect partner for ART Grand Prix.

Since the GP2 series was launched in 2005, Lotus’ new collaborators ART Grand Prix have won the GP2 championship three times, first with Nico Rosberg (2005), then with Lewis Hamilton (2006) and last year with Nico Hülkenberg (2009) under the expert management of team founders Nicolas Todt and Frédéric Vasseur. Vasseur and Todt’s complementary abilities guarantee the best possible management of the team, day in, day out. Frédéric Vasseur is in charge of the team and the factory on the ground, while Nicolas Todt runs the commercial and marketing side of the organization.

Commenting on the news Gino Rosato, Director of Corporate Communications at Lotus said: “This deal means a lot to me personally; I’ve known Nicolas Todt for many years and have already had the opportunity to work alongside him in the past. Lotus is proud to be partnering ART Grand Prix and in doing so uniting with the most successful and recognized team in GP2 Series. We come together with a common goal: to continue our great success in motorsport.”

Frédéric Vasseur Team Manager of ART Grand Prix said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for ART Grand Prix to be working with Lotus. The goal is clear: winning together the future GP2 and GP3 championships. I can’t wait to see the new livery of our racing cars.”

As part of the celebration, Lotus ART will field two cars in the GP2 Europe and GP2 Asia series and three cars in the GP3 Europe series. The GP2 Series, one of the World’s premier racing categories, is widely recognised as the breeding ground for future F1 talent. Almost half of the current F1 grid got their chance to race at the pinnacle of motorsport after proving their worth in the GP2 Series including Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen. The goal of the new GP3 Series is to give young upcoming drivers a chance to develop their driving skills and jump to the next step: GP2.

Lotus Motorsport Director of Operations Miodrag Kotur said: “The move into GP2 and GP3 solidifies Lotus Motorsport’s commitment to promoting driver development and supporting the search for the world champions of the future. Lotus won’t simply be partner in name only, ART Grand Prix will also benefit from Lotus’ considerable engineering and technical support and experience.”

Super 907

Monday, September 20th, 2010

This article was written by GGLC member Jon Rosner and originally appeared in the June and July 2003 print editions of the Chapman report

It looked like a Lotus Seven, it was lipstick red with what looked like a round black nose that stretched back a couple of feet to touch the hood. Tall black leather seats with a wear spot high on the driver’s side and California tags “7LOTUS7”, the engine plate said Steel Bros, New Zealand.

It had a Lotus 907 engine in it and what looked like a Lotus Europa front suspension. One of the Books on Sevens had Steel Bros manufacturing maybe two dozen with the 907 Type Engine and many more with Ford-Lotus Twin Cam engines. It was for sale, but it was sold just hours before my offer of interest was left on an answering machine.

Fast forward to December 2001 and a tall thin fellow with piercing but tired eyes. His name is Dan Weatherly. He is driving a very original brown Europa with a rare dealer-type installed air conditioning system. And he had a very interesting story to tell.

“In 1975 I was looking around for an American sports car. I bought a new Corvette, it wasn’t even a real sports car in 1975. Then I started looking around and came across Steel Brothers in New Zealand. They were going to be celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 1977. They had started off by building wagons, then trucks – heavy manufacturing.”

“I started calling Dan Dixon, and back then transatlantic calling was no where near as common as it is today. And they took me seriously. Dixon had already brought the S4 Seven to New Zealand and were building the S4 since Caterham had gone back to making the S3.

The first time I went over there I got the chance to travel around New Zealand. And one day while I was walking around with David Dixon he told me to (with some sense of urgency, hands waving as story told) ‘hurry, come up to the top of the hill !’

So I rushed up and the he pointed out to me, in the middle of Auckland Bay, a single ship. He then proceeded to tell me, with a straight face, that this was the New Zealand Navy! He was teasing of course, but that was the attitude back then.”

“After two months of talking I wanted to buy a car from Steel Brothers and have it legal in the U.S. Dave Dixon was real car guy, and he was also the Project Manager for building the Series 4 Type 7 and a CPA.” “I told him that ‘I want to buy a car from you and legalize it in the US.’ This was an export hungry country!”

“At the time I was a twenty-seven year old investment salesman without a lot of money. Needless to say, I had to be more than I was, or this company would not have even begun to talk to me. Steel Brothers were excited by the idea of selling 200 cars per year in America.” Rod Steel was going to be a celebrity because he was going to do
something that hadn’t been done — he was going to build cars to sell to the US.”

“It was now June of 1977, my second trip to New Zealand.” I had a meeting with Rod, showed him the docs and two hours later we had a deal. Steel Brothers were builders of big tractor trailers, this was a sideline.”

“The first car I brought in (to the US) was a white Weber carbed S4 with a Ford-Lotus Twin Cam engine. The big problem was the evaporative system, so I went to fuel injection. Then Dave Dixon called and said that we can’t get the Twin Cams – This was AFTER I’d already paid the LA gray market importer with the mechanical whiz to do
the test engineering preliminaries leading to making it an EPA/DOT approved car. That was the bad news, the good news was that Lotus had the 907 engine legally in the US!!”

“Steel Brothers took the mold for the S4, cut it in half to widen it, and made the seats four inches wider. This car was not made to fit Colin Chapman, it was made to fit an American. They dropped in the 907 with the five speed and a higher rear axle, and shipped it to Olsen Engineering is Los Angeles.”

“They were a US Environmental Protection Agency approved firm. And I wanted to piggy-back on Lotus’ 50,000 mile Emissions Test. We had to test for four thousand miles in an approved test routine. It passed the Duration Test and the car was shipped directly to an E.P.A. Lab in Ann Arbor Michigan. “It couldn’t be driven. It couldn’t be moved. I didn’t see it for the first 3 months it was here.”

This was still 1977 timeframe, and there was a problem. The engine overheated every time the damn thing ran. E.P.A. does their testing inside, on a dyno. The gear-
shift knob had been stolen in transit. The result was that each time he ran the car through, the test engineer missed the shift, and the E.P.A. had the test stopped after five tries. I was real upset – so I asked them to ‘put a *&?#* shift knob on it’ and it passed on the sixth try (the air was filled with a thunder-cloud of his expressed exasperation.)”

“The next day I called the head of the E.P.A. and pleaded with the secretary, I told her the whole story, every (blessed) mistake, fifteen minutes (more steam.) I called the Project Manager (at E.P.A.) the very next morning and he told me that the car was done, it had passed everything – and then he laughed and asked me whom I knew in Washington. So the car came out clean !!!!”

“They gave me my 1978 EPA/CA certificate. That was REALLY an accomplishment I was proud of. It was legal, it was real, it could be sold in a dealership……and we did it on pennies!!”

“DOT did not require a crash test, but they did require it to meet bumper standards. The black nose on the car (rubberoid) met the five mile per hour test.” “Actually, we designed the 5 mph bumper but were never required to test it. The red 7 with the black nose had the only legal bumpers !!” “The engineers had said it would work, and we went with it.” “The DOT will let you say that this car is legal and that it meets all the standards… then you can start production.” “The kicker is that if you are found in violation of ANY of these (standards) then you can be fined $10,000.00 per violation, per car! We sent our documents in, done, we were legal.”

“Now we had our DOT/EPA street legal SUPER 907. I went to a contract attorney in Oakland and told him that I wanted a twenty year contract for exclusive rights. Then I placed a 3 by 5 ad in AUTO NEWS for the car and got 150 phone calls and 70 dealers sent me the required letterhead document stating that they would meet the minimum purchase of 5 cars.”

“I took the contract, the EPA and DOT docs, the sold order docs for more than the 75 cars they wanted to see orders for, flooring financing from Bank of America – which is financing for cars, and went back to New Zealand ready to do business.”

“Everything at the factory was as it was four months before when I was last there. None of the improvements I had been promised had been made.” “I had been paying the engineers OUT OF POCKET. There were no investors, it was all smoke and mirrors.” “But we signed the contracts and I stayed two weeks to see that they were making progress.” “I was a NOBODY, with NO money, but that I got THE job done.”

“My contract said that I had to buy a minimum of 200 cars each year to maintain my exclusivity. That’s an important number.” “In November, I called Lotus and said that I wanted 500 motors.” “I had been putting the pressure on Rod, so Rod had called Roger Putnam, Sales Manager for Lotus, and Mike Kimberly, Managing Director of Lotus over in England. They did not really want to sell him 200 907 motors because of the liability….. It was not worth it to them. But remember this was neither a yes nor a no.” Then Lotus called Rod Steel and gave him a definite no to 200 motors, the minimum purchase was 500 motors. And that was my play to goad Rod Steel into getting things moving again.”

“I was going real strong. I got Rod Steel to allow us to manufacture cars on my 3rd trip which was now August 1977.” But I was broke. I had left San Francisco with my American Express card and $5 cash. I could live on my AMEX card for one month.

I was in New Zealand for two months. I then got Rod to sign over the rights to build the S4 Seven and was preparing to leave.” “David Dixon and I formed a new company called ‘NEW ZEALAND AUTO MAKERS’ for the sole purpose of building the cars. “Dave had borrowed $60,000.00 of which I put $25,000.00 into my pocket. $20,000 was to pay the woman I had borrowed the $10,000 from.” “I had my car company. I had my contract with Lotus. I had all the pieces, but what I didn’t have was the money to make it come together.”

“We didn’t have any money. This would take three to four million to do. It would take a long time to get parts from England and Japan. There had to be a HUGE amount of float.” “Dave was a CPA and he knew a huge number of financial people. Dave started introducing new people at me. He had a friend in Auckland, and that firm wanted to put us together with another group.” “ This Aukland broker/dealer put us together with MOTORSPORTS INTERNATIONAL whose staff flew down to Christchurch for meetings and hot laps with a professional driver. The result was that we went into our meeting as high as marathon runners.

“We did the wine and dine route, we wanted MOTORSPECS INTERNATIONAL to take a 25% position. They were impressed with the car, and with the market for it – They were all smiles. They were a big company like a Target or a Walmart, but they were in the auto parts business like a Kragen. Dave Dixon and I were the two principals and we met everyone (at MOTORSPECS) from the Secretary to the CEO.” “One of the Board Members was a major stakeholder as his parents had started the company.”

“MOTORSPECS said they would take a 25% position for $350,000.00, not even close to what we needed. We needed three million to secure parts, car flooring and working capital. The Bank of New Zealand sat down with MOTORSPECS, David Dixon and myself and told us that they wanted collateral.”

“So I said, ‘look we need the bulk of the money for parts – hard assets.’ “These were the giants of New Zealand and I was the little guy.” “But I told them, ‘lend us $ three mil for parts which will be worth $ twelve mil in cars.’

“But what they did give us was the money to floor cars in America – with NO collateral from MOTORSPECS. The deal was done, the bar was opened, and everyone was drinking and telling jokes.”

“The proposal was done. I had my $3 million from the Bank of New Zealand and I had MOTORSPECS. One of the MOTORSPECS board members wanted to come to America, so I took him to Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

The MOTORSPECS Board Member was excited – he went back to New Zealand for the Board meeting, but he never made it to the meeting….. David Dixon too was out of the room, he had been sent to Australia – my main men were NOT at the meeting….”

“The decision came down – MOTORSPECS was NOT going to take a position – there was NO vote. This was a done deal and the ‘good ole boys’ had put in the word – the deal was dead.”

“I would have made this deal happen – BUT I made a big mistake. I alienated Rod Steel instead of befriending him, I had run out of money, I had run out of steam, I just didn’t which way to turn, and I was pretty upset.” “I started to fight Rod Steel, and I’m sorry I did.”

“The fourth trip was in March of 1979, after the ‘NO’ vote at MOTORSPECS everything that was good was no longer was there. I only had money for the airfare, the magic had vanished, and I went home.”

“Then three or four months later I got a phone call from Rod Steel’s attorneys. ‘He would like to import cars to the US but NOT through you.’ “ “’ What we would like to do is make a financial arrangement – and give you some money’ – PUSHY – take it or leave it.” “I said o.k. – you know my position. They offered me my expenses and some money.” “My attorney said to get them over here. He told me that there is no way they are going to import cars without us. They signed for $500 per car AND expenses if any cars ever came over —— no cars ever came over.”

“I had spent just short of $100,000, Dave Dixon was badly hurt financially – I was TOTALLY broke. My Super 907, the red one was repossessed because I could not make the payments on my $10g note to Bank of America.”

The one US legal Super 907 California plate 7LOTUS7, made a brief reappearance at British Car Day in Palo Alto, it was for sale and rumor had it that the engine was not in great shape. Then it disappeared again. After a fair bit of sleuthing Dan found what’s left being used as a plant potter in Oakland, California. That might have become a sad ending, but Dan’s not a quitter. In the process of getting another Super 907 from New Zealand Dan made the decision to go back into the production of a Super 7 type cars! Dan’s plans looks pretty cool and anyone who knows an angel investor who wants to do a really hot Lotus 7 type car can reach Dan Weatherly at his home in Walnut Creek, California!! Just tell him that you heard a story about the guy who had a dream and came THAT close to making it happen.

Update: This car has since been purchased by GGLC friend Kyle K who will be performing a full restoration on the car with his son. the following are current pictures of the car:
super 907
super 907 vin

2014 Lotus Elite Unveiled

Monday, September 20th, 2010

So here it is, the Lotus Elite, the first taste of what’s to come from Lotus in the future. Look up elegant in the dictionary and you’ll find variations on the following 1. dignified grace in appearance, movement, or behaviour, 2. superb taste in design, style and 3. something elegant; the ultimate refinement.

Lotus Elite 3qtr front top

The ground-breaking new Elite is exactly that. It’s compact yet chic body is elegance incarnate. It’s not only exquisitely elegant, in keeping with Lotus’ core values, it’s a car of substance incorporating some of the very latest technological innovations Lotus has to offer. The slick retractable hard top version and the optional use of hybrid technology with KERS are typical examples of Lotus tailoring technology to deliver perfect performance.

Lotus Elite side top

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus said: “There’s no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at but it’s so much more than that, it’s a car that over delivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It’s a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance.

Lotus Elite front

“Make no mistake, there’s a definite market requirement for the Elite – it’s the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning. It’s worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”

Lotus Elite rear

Set for release in spring 2014, this is an innovative, exciting GT that will set a new benchmark in design, performance and emissions. And it’s not all about sleek lines and stunning bodywork with this particular 2+2, what hides beneath this shark like exterior perfectly does the aesthetics justice. A front-mid positioned 5.0l V8 engine delivering up to 620 PS meaning drivers can expect to go from 0-100 km/h in approximately 3.5 to 3.7 seconds.

Elite Specification*

Layout: 2+2 seater, front-mid-engined, rear wheel drive

Dimensions:

Length:                                    4.60m
Width:                                      1.90m
Height:                                     1.32m

Engine: Petrol, hybrid optional

Hybrid technology: Hybrid gearbox with integrated electric
motors and KERS

Cylinder: V8
Capacity: 5.0 litre
Power/Torque: 620 PS / 720 Nm
Rev limit: 8,500 rpm
0-100 km/h: 3.5 to 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 315 km/h
CO? approx (CO?/km): 215 g/km**
Weight: 1,650 kg
Seats: 2+2
Transmission: Full Hybrid transmission
Drive: RWD
Start of production: Early 2014
Enters the market: Spring 2014
Price indication: Circa £115,000