No discussion of the history of automotive technology is complete without taking into account the history of Lotus. The four letters included in the Lotus logo - ACBC - are the initials of the company's founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. From the time he built his first car models in 1948, Chapman brought the Lotus Mk2 and Mk3 into the world of auto racing. In 1955, thanks to the success of the Lotus Mk6, the visionary carmaker founded Lotus Cars, and Lotus became, from 1958 on, a major player in Formula 1.
Under the direction of Mr. Chapman, who surrounded himself with a handful of over-talented automotive engineers, Team Lotus won seven constructor's championships in the 1960s and 1970s, with drivers like Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti behind the wheel. The many technological innovations developed by the British team - innovations which would be adopted by the majority of other teams - assured it of a place of honour in the pantheon of automotive sports.
At the same time, Lotus continued to evolve through the production of the most highly developed high-performance sports cars in Europe. Still under the direction of Mr. Chapman, the company set new standards with the Lotus Elan, Lotus Elite and Lotus Esprit, which made a number of appearances on television and the big screen, notably in several James Bond films.
Mindful of Chapman's longstanding "Light is right" philosophy, Lotus continued to produce these three models into the 1980s, even while its presence in Formula 1 diminished. Chapman passed away in 1982, the company at this time suffering from substantial financial difficulties. Lotus was sold to General Motors in 1986.
The late 80s saw the carmaker make a splash with a new version of the illustrious Elan in 1988, but a veritable fresh start came in 1996 with the launch of the Lotus Elise, Lotus Elise S2 and Lotus Exige. Since 1996 Lotus has been under the ownership of the Proton Automotive Group of Malaysia.
2010 saw the heralded return of Lotus to Formula 1. In 2011, Lotus will undertake its assault of the circuit's race tracks in partnership with Renault under the banner of the Lotus Renault GP team. Sports car enthusiasts will nonetheless have to wait until 2013 for the return of the ultimate Lotus super-car, the Lotus Esprit. The carmaker is currently developing a four-door model. We invite you to visit our Futur Models section to learn more about Lotus upcoming models.