Humble Origins

Founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, studied structural engineering at University College in London. He built his first trials racing car in a rudimentary lock-up belonging to his girlfriend’s parents. Using only a power drill and elementary panel beating skills, he crafted the 1930’s Austin Seven based special into what later became known as the Mark 1 Lotus, registered OX 9292.

Chapman graduated in 1949, and after national service in the RAF, joined the British Aluminum company. The experience he gained of aircraft technology, and the knowledge he acquired of aluminium during this time was to have a significant impact on the evolution of the Lotus ethos of “performance through lightweight”. Chapman met his girlfriend Hazel Williams 4 years earlier, and she was to prove instrumental in the path of his career.

Chapman became increasingly obsessed with motorsport and this provided a compelling focus for the company.