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Historic Lotus drive recreated by Clive and Jane Chapman

WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: CLASSIC TEAM LOTUS

Clive Chapman and Jane Payton, son and daughter of Lotus founders Hazel and Colin Chapman, have recreated their parents’ first historic drive in a Lotus Mk1 on the year of the marque’s 75th anniversary.

Colin and Hazel embarked on the journey in the spring of 1948, driving their Lotus Mk1 32 miles from its birthplace – a lock-up garage in Alexandra Park Road in London – to Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire. 

Upon reaching Dunstable Downs, Colin captured an iconic photograph of Hazel seated in the passenger seat of the Mk1. She was bundled up warmly in the open cabin, attempting to stave off that year’s notoriously harsh winter weather.

While following in the wheeltracks of their parents in December 2023, Clive, Jane and the Mk1 were followed by a Lotus Emira support car, signifying the marque’s evolution over the past 75 years. Happily, the Emira was surplus to requirements, and the pair successfully completed the 32-mile journey (almost) trouble-free.


The finishing touch of the journey was the recreation of the iconic image of Hazel, which saw the car parked in the exact same spot while Jane posed for the photograph.

Clive and Jane’s touching tribute to their parents arrived during an era of transformation for Lotus. The Emira fills in the gap as the final piston-powered Lotus, while the brand, now owned by Geely, successfully transitions to electrification.

Here’s to another 75 years!