15. Sep, 2020

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Colin Chapman died from a heart attack on 16th December 1982 aged just 54. He is buried in St Mary's churchyard, Carlton Manor, Norfolk (GPS N52.572069° E1.215950°)

Following Chapman’s death ‘Team Lotus’ was run by his wife, Hazel, but without Colin the team lacked the drive and focus and as a consequence became unsuccessful and was eventually wound up. ‘Lotus Cars’ run as a separate business was sold and still produces sports cars in its factory on Hethel Airfield, which during the war, was a base for USAAF B24 Liberator bombers . The factory utilised the runways and perimeter tracks to create a test track. This can be seen by entering GPS: N52.564123° E1.178314° in to Google Maps on the 'Satellite' setting.

Down the road from Lotus Cars is Classic Team Lotus, set up and run by Colin’s son, Clive. Under him former Team Lotus mechanics, along with new blood, that supported Champions such as Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham Hill and Jim Clark continue to care for the World Championship winning Lotus F1 cars that won 77 Grand Prix. Bob Dance, one of Jim Clark's F1 Grand Prix mechanics, and part of the victorious 'Indianapolis 500' team in 1965, is now 85 years of age, but still puts in a three day week, though currently he's furloughed to keep him safe.

Classic Team Lotus Limited
Potash Lane, Hethel, Norfolk, NR14 8EY.  United Kingdom
Telephone: +44(0) 1953 601 621 Email: team@classicteamlotus.co.uk 

GPS: N52.559731º E1.181331º

Back in time again then to 2010, when I took The Chef down to the South Coast for a few days, a trip which just happened to coincide with that year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, and to which I just happened to have bought two tickets.

For those who are not familiar with it, this is the place where very rich petrol-heads go to show off and drive their racing machines, some so rare they are deemed priceless, but rather than lock them away to gather dust, they bring them out and play with them - because they can afford to. Then there are plebs like us who go along and pay good money to admire such beautiful mechanical creations (my dad's cousin, Dennis Adams, designed the Marcos 1800 sports car, at one time he had his name run along the sides of the cars, so I tell myself it's in my blood, well at least that's my case for the defence with The Chef).

Imagine my amazement when, at the Classic Team Lotus stand there sat Jim Clark's Indianapolis 500-winning Lotus 38. What the hell was it doing there? It should have been in the Henry Ford Museum in America. I wasted no time in getting close enough to touch it's exhaust pipes and the tip of its nose. They could bollock me if they wanted, but they weren't going to stop me from doing it.

It turned out that Ford had commissioned Classic Team Lotus in Hethel, to refurbish the car to full running order as it had been rather neglected during the years it had spent at the Henry Ford Museum.