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Oliver tribute interview transcripts


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I’ve been transcribing the interviews between Rob Borrett of Lotus, and Steve Cropley and James Elliott, editors of of Autocar and Octane respectively. I will post extracts over the next few days so they can be read as one. 

Rob Borrett (RB): Let’s go to the reason we are talking today, the passing of Oliver Winterbottom ... he is one of the key names in the design story of Lotus...what do you think were (Oliver’s) triumphs with those sorts of designs?

Steve Cropley (SC): Oh, the Elite was an absolutely magnificent car. I was still living in Australia when that car came out and I just never got over it - I still don’t. There was a Lotus event near where I live now, and somebody brought an Elite along to that and it just makes you weep, it’s so beautiful that car; you know, all the stuff about that car, the grown-up nature of it, the styling and the packaging and the fact that it was not trying to be like everything else - it set out to accommodate people properly, it had a sophisticated engine, it had really proper suspension, it was a beautiful soft riding car; I think it was an utter triumph that car, and I look at it now and I think just the same.

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RB: Yes, I think now especially seeing them, there’s nothing else like it from that era that you see on the roads, it’s a real striking image... SC: Oh, it’s utterly beautiful, and I think it jus

RB: Yes, I think now especially seeing them, there’s nothing else like it from that era that you see on the roads, it’s a real striking image...

SC: Oh, it’s utterly beautiful, and I think it just gets more different and more beautiful as time goes by. In recent years people have realised what fabulous car they were. My company car for a while at Autocar when I moved there was a Lotus Excel; it was one of the last ones, so it used Toyota running gear - so it was a Lotus in the way it sounded and handled and steered and all the rest of it but it was durable. I think we ran it for a couple of years; it was such a lovely car to steer and drive. I remember it very fondly, and I still find myself in weak moments looking at Lotus Excels, and thinking if I had a decent amount of garage space, I’d buy one of them!

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