This is the 70th year of Lotus, and Lotus are on the hunt for the original Lotus Mk I, built by Colin Chapman in 1948 and sold in 1950.
2018 is the 70th anniversary of Lotus Cars, and Lotus are calling on the car loving public to help them find the very first Lotus ever built by Colin Chapman – the Lotus Mark I.
The Lotus Mark I – which really wasn’t dubbed as such initially – was built by Chapman in a lock-up at the back of his future in-laws’ house in London in 1948, as the young Chapman took an Austin Seven and started to learn how to weave the magic which made future Lotus cars so special.
Once Chapman had built his first car, and raced it with some success, he immediately started on the Lotus Mark II, and the Lotus Mark I was sold in November 1950 to someone in the north of England, but beyond that the trail goes cold.
Clive Chapman, director of Classic Team Lotus and Colin’s son, said:
The Mark I is the holy grail of Lotus’ history. It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car. To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement.
We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to. It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.
Originally finished in bare metal, the Lotus Mark I was then painted white before getting a red paint job prior to being sold as an Austin Seven Special with an advert in Motor Sport magazine. Chapman got £135 for his first car.
We rather suspect it’s worth a bit more now.