I took pictures of each car individually and will post a collage later on once I've remembered how to do it.
It was fantasic to see the Eclat Sprint yesterday; that is certainly the first one I've seen in the flesh, and is apparently the first ever Sprint as it has painted stripes and badges rather than vinyl - this is the car from which the vinyl decals were produced, apparently. The car also had a 'lightweight' boot lid which had started to crack around the latch, and unbelievably there was a replacement lid for sale in the autojumble next door to us which the owner bought!
Peter Lucas, the former Lotus design engineer, was with us for the day - sadly not in his Elite which wasn't ready in time, but, to confirm his good taste, came in his Busso-engined Alfa GTV 3.0 - a glorious engine. He found a vacuum solenoid valve for his Elite headlights in the autojumble also. He is a very interesting guy who recently gave a talk at Club Lous South West about his career with Lotus - including developing the Lotus Seven series 4 in record time, more or less hidden from Colin Chapman.
There was a very impressive display of M100s at Castle Combe, as this year is it's 30th anniversary. We went to listen to the talk on the M100 given by Mike Kimberley and Barrie Wills (Reliant, Lotus and DeLorean) wich contained interesting background not only on the M100 project itself, but also the car's premature termination, as well as some history of the development of Lotus's fibreglass capability. (Peter Stevens couldn't be there as he was unwell.) A particularly interesting insight was the impact of the launch of the Mazda Miata (MX5) on the M100, as it happened immediately before the M100 launch, at a much lower cost than the M100 and with the classic Lotus layout of 16v engine with rear wheel drive - unashamedly taking its inspiration from the earlier Lotus Elan. It made me think that if Lotus had adopted Oliver Winterbottom's M90/X100 RWD design, which was very aggressively costed, they would have been in a strong position to achieve greater market penetration against the MX5. The unnecessary demise of the Toyota relationship, amongst other things, meant this did not happen. That said, the M100 was a superb car dynamically, and allowed Lotus to sell its engineering expertise in developing FWD systems across the industry.
In total, we had four Elites (including Leigh Greenham's superb Essex Elite, Paul's lovely period brown 1974 car, and a gold 1976 Elite that we managed to redirect from the car park), one Eclat (the Sprint), and a fabulous collection of seven Excels. Thanks to everyone for coming and making it such an enjoyable day. The next big day (anniversary wise) will be in 2022 when the Excel turns 40 - looking forward to that!
We had lots of people stop by and look at the cars, confirming the feeling we've had for a while that this series of Lotuses is coming back into fashion. I noticed one young couple came by several times to look at the Elites - I didn't get to speak to them until the end of the day when a lovely red Ferrari F355 (I think) came past on its way home. It paused, and inside was this same couple who could not stop talking about how they loved the Elite. A great moment!