Lotus builds one-off Evora to celebrate 100,000th car

The car was presented to founder Colin Chapman's widow, Hazel

Lotus has built its 100,00th car, and it will be a one-off special edition presented to Hazel Chapman, founder Colin Chapman's widow.

It was 70 years ago in 1948 that Colin Chapman built his first race car, using an Austin 7 as a starting point. When he decided to establish his own firm, Lotus Engineering in 1952, then-girlfriend Hazel helped with a loan of £50. According to the Eastern Daily Press, in 1966 Hazel also helped design Lotus's Hethel factory and 2.5-mile test track.

From there, the firm grew to become among the most respected automotive companies in the world, even if profit and sales volume didn't alway seem to be of top priority. It won multiple Formula One championships, and has created some of the most memorable sports cars of all time. Colin Chapman died from heart failure in 1984, leaving the company teetering on the brink of financial collapse. After passing through ownership by GM and Proton with mixed result, in 2017 Lotus seems to be on stable ground with new owner Geely.

Now, Lotus has built its 100,000th car, and it has only taken 70 years. By comparison, Ford surpasses that number every week. The milestone car is a Evora GT410, painted red with a silver roof and tartan seats, a tribute to the original Lotus Elan and late racer Jim Clark, who died driving a Lotus race car in 1968.

"Seventy years ago, I never dreamt that there would be a 100,000th Lotus," said the 91-year-old Hazel Chapman upon seeing the one-off car. "I'm immensely proud of the company and Colin's legacy. Today Lotus still builds such fantastic sports cars and I'm touched to be able to see this car." It will be auctioned to too support the Jim Clark Trust.

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