Lotus Elan

Delamare Road yesterday and nearly fifty years ago

PostPost by: scott simpson » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:13 pm

Hi Maureen,
I've been following this thread for quite sometime now and have found it most compelling.
The idea of a book by one of the employee's, as opposed to one of the more obvious players, is superb.
To hear what it was like at Cheshunt from the 'rank & file' will be most intersting and I can't wait to order my copy.
If that shoves a few shillings in your direction Maureen, then it'll be well deserved.
You can put it towards a new climate control unit for the house!
In 1960(ish), my Dad was a lorry driver, working for McKinnons transport of Twickenham. They had a contract with
Firestones on the Great West Road, at Brentford. West London (also the home of the finest football team on the planet and any dissagreement with this fact will be dealt with by rude gestures at my screen, whenever said offender posts!).
Dad delivered tyres to Lotus at Cheshunt on a couple of occassions and always makes comments regarding my admiration for the marque, insisting that compared to Vauxhall's plant, Ford's Dagenham and Hailwood factories, where he also took tyres, Lotus were just a little kit car outfit (as you can imagine, this causes friction between us and as we work together, the subject is rarely raised these days!).
He does however, point out the fact, that, whilst in and around the main building, men lolled around in open neck shirts, with rolled-up sleeves and a snout hanging from their lips, the smaller building to left, had an air of proffessionalism!
The race mechanics, he told me, wore green overalls and knew what they were doing.
He recalls striking up a conversation with one of these mechanics, asking how he could best improve the performance of his
sports saloon, an Austin A105, of around 1958 vintage. The mechanic responds with 'Try a set of these new carbs were getting in from Italy, they're excellent'. They, of course, were Weber DCOE's. Dad found to his dismay, that they were hugely expensive and his lowly pay packet couldn't stretch that far. Within a short few years, he became a Jaguar man and has stayed a Jaguar man ever since, despite not owning one for around 15 years!
His perfomance yardstick has always been (and still is today), 'is it as fast as an XK150s?' (for road cars) and 'A decent D type would eat it for breakfast' (for racing cars). I just haven't got the heart to tell him that a decent Mondeo diesel would give them both a good run for their money these days!
Anyway just wanted to say keep it up Maureen, I wanna read this book before I peg out!
Scott 8)
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:20 pm

Maureen B-N wrote:I don't remember it that way. It was a long time ago but I seem to remember Components people were in the offices at the front, and Team Lotus has the rest of the building. Of course I could be wrong.


Hi Maureen

I am sure this is before your time but it may be of interest to you and some of the new folks that have recently found this forum. I think they belong in this topic as the title states. I enjoyed your photos greatly and just would like to say thank you.

Cheshunt.JPG and


Cheshunt1.JPG and


Cheshunt2.JPG and


Nothing will ever exceed or surpass the automotive strides that took place at Cheshunt in those short years from 1959 to 1967. It is just something that could never happen again.

These are but 3 pages of many that were copied from six issues of Sports Car and Lotus Owner. the others are located at the link below.

free-parking-f19/sports-car-and-lotus-owner-t23799.html

Please enjoy
Gary
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PostPost by: scott simpson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:59 pm

Hi Gary,
Interesting that you posted those articles again today.
Earlier at work, I spoke to Dad about my posting his story and he was sure
he delivered there during 1960.
Thing is, I had always been under the impression (from the various books/articles about Lotus),
that the two storey extention behind the main building was specificly built for the new
Lotus Cortina construction. But Dad mentioned today, that the ramp to the rear was in place when
he went there, a good 2 years before L/C development even started.
He remembered it, as it was quite a novelty. I don't suppose there were many multi-storey carparks
around at that time, where you'd see ramps of this type.
I'd figured he'd got his dates crossed up and had been there a few years later.
Your article proves he is correct and that I'm going to have to go into work and eat large slice
of humble pie!! Oh, he's gonna love tomorrow!
Scott :wink:
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PostPost by: twincamman » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:48 am

hey Maureen ---Merry Christmas -----ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:47 am

Hi - Merry Christmas everyone ! For those in colder climes, good luck ! Lovely hot sunny day here.

Sorry I have not been posting but I had to log in again and could not find my password (Alzheimers Light :lol: ) I have now written it down :oops:

Interesting info from Gary and Scott - thank you.

Amongst many wonderful Christmas gifts I received a model of the S3 (Vitesse is the company - I'm told they are in the States). The model is not as large as the one Ron Hickman gave me, but it's rather cute, and is sitting here on my desk (I keep the other one in its box in a cupboard - sadly it has lost its windscreen wipers and I don't want it to get more damaged).

I did write some more of 'the book' but you know how it is around Christmas time - busy busy. New year's resolution - to get on with it !

Hope you all had a great Christmas. Cheers, M
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:22 am

Hi - does anyone remember me ?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:38 am

of course and waiting for the next installemnt on Lotus history that lead to the Elan

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: rodlittle » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:25 pm

Me too cant wait to read it
rod
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:32 pm

It's not a Lotus history that led to the Elan, sorry. It's my personal memories of working for Ron Hickman and his team at Lotus Developments from 1965 to early 1967. The Elan was already in production - although it was being 'refined' by the development team, under Ron Hickman. It was the 'new Elite' (known at the M20) which was being developed from scratch during that period. As far as I know that car never came to fruition - overtaken by the Europa, but that is another story.
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:22 pm

I've just clicked on Ron Hickman which comes up in blue letters on my previous comment. It took me to a site which is selling a book called 'Ron Hickman' for $63 ! Unfortunately they will not ship to South Africa. Does anyone know anything about this book. Has anyone purchased it ? Click and see what you think.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:05 pm

I was excited to see this book Maureen, but I think that there is another Ron Hickman!!

The 1 review on Amazon says...
'Ron did a great job putting down some of his memories in this book. Back when it was possible to own a radio station in a small market, and actually turn a profit with it, this is a nostalgic look at a bye gone era. The demise of radio today as something you must listen to is sad, because it didn't have to be that way. Corporatization of radio with all the mom and pops virtually gone provides a sad commentary on our times. Gone are jobs due to voice tracking, and gone are local news departments which haven't been replaced by anything. Radio is very ill today, and this book recalls an era when it was vibrant, exciting, and lucrative. '

Unless he did some moonlighting we didn't know about, this doesn't sound like our Ron!!

Mark
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:06 pm

It is definitely about him because the cover mentions Lotus Elan and the Workmate. Try this link :

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ron-Hickman-by- ... 7675.l2557
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:01 pm

You're right, Maureen....there are two of them!

Can't find out much about this one. It seems to be in a series 'Books for Africa' so you should be able to get a copy there. However, as it says on the cover 'this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online.......'.

I don't think that it will be a very personal story!

Mark
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PostPost by: Maureen B-N » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:01 pm

Hi Mark - you are right, the book does not sound as though it would be much of a personal story. Oh well I'll keep looking.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:21 am

Maureen, congratulations on being published in the ReMarque. Hope there's more to come.

For those who do not know, the ReMarque is Lotus Ltd's newsletter.

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