Have you seen Lotus’ missing race car?

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Sold for £135 in 1950, the Lotus Mark I has been missing ever since

Storied British sports car firm Lotus, like many of today’s great motorsport companies, had very humble beginnings building race cars in sheds – engineering, testing and developing at an exceedingly grassroots level.

One of Lotus’ first cars, the Mark I, was built in 1948 by the hands of company founder Colin Chapman in a London garage owned by his then-girlfriend’s (and later, his wife), Hazel Chapman’s parents.

Lotus-Mark-I-Hazel.jpg

Chapman’s son, Clive said: "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".

"The Mark I is the holy grail of Lotus’ history".

Once the car was finished in the spring of 1948, it immediately was taken out to prove itself on the racetrack.

It was originally unpainted, then painted white and later repainted in red.

The car was sold for £135 in 1950, to an unidentified owner, which according to Lotus was only known to have been "based in the north of England".

Lotus-Mark-I-rear.jpg

"To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement".

In order to find the car, Lotus’ have taken to the internet to ask fans of the brand 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".

In today’s internet age of classic car registries and databases – it’s increasingly rare for historically significant cars to remain in hiding.

We recently reported that the long lost 1967 Shelby GT500 EXP "Little Red" prototype had been located after five decades in which it was widely believed to have been destroyed.

We can only hope Lotus finds success in rediscovering their historical car.

So, with that being said: do you have a late 40s Lotus race car sitting in the shed?

 

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