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Lotus Wants Your Help Finding Its Long-Missing First Car - Lotus / Motoring / Cars Chat - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content

Lotus Wants Your Help Finding Its Long-Missing First Car

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Colin Chapman built the Lotus Mark I in 1948. Two years later, it seemingly fell off the face of the earth, never to be seen again. Do you know where it is?


In the spring of 1948, Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, built the company's first car, the Mark I (pictured above). It was a modified Austin Seven with a reinforced chassis, lightweight panels, and easily replaceable parts—the kind of stuff Lotus is famous for today. He raced the Mark I for a little while before selling it in 1950 for £135 (around $177), after which point it was never seen again. Now, Lotus is asking your help to find it.

Lotus announced the search today as a part of its 70th anniversary celebrations. Though extensively documented, Lotus has no leads on the Mark I's whereabouts, even after years of research.

"The Mark I is the holy grail of Lotus’ history," said Clive Chapman, son of Colin, in a statement. "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.

"We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock-up they’re allowed to."

The Mark I with Colin's wife, Hazel Chapman, in the passenger seat.

The car was originally finished in bare metal, before being painted white, then repainted red. It was sold through an ad in Motor Sport Magazine to a new owner somewhere in the North of England. "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," Chapman said.

Though it's possible the Mark I could be sitting in an untouched garage hidden away from the world for nearly 70 years, it's just as likely to have rusted away, been parted out, or sold for scrap. But being the Lotus fans we are, we're holding out hope it'll turn up somewhere.

If you have any information that can lead to the Mark I's location, contact Lotus as soon as possible.

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