Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 29th January 2019

2018 has been a year of several car milestones and Lotus is joining the festivities by celebrating its 70th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, Lotus wants to track down the car that started it all and the company needs your help.

The Lotus Mark I, based on the Austin 7, was Colin Chapman’s first creation. Many 1940s cars followed a similar design, yet Chapman innovated by modifying his car for competition. He strengthened the chassis, creating a lightweight body that served as the ethos for every other Lotus car. Chapman built the Mark 1 by hand in a garage owned by the parents of his future wife. It acted as the benchmark for his engineering genius.

Chapman modified the Mark I several times, choosing different paint jobs. It started off as exposed metal, went to white and then turned red. Over the years there’s been a lot of documentation and pictures of the car, but very little is known about the Mark I’s whereabouts. All that’s been confirmed is that Chapman sold the car in November 1950 to someone in the north of England for £135.

Lotus have tried tracking the Mark 1 down to no avail. It’s why the company are relying on a public search to help track down a piece of motoring history. Chapman’s son and director of Classic Team Lotus, 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. 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.”

To find the Lotus Mark I would be an incredible discovery. If you happen to find it, you can get in touch with Lotus through their website.