Colin Chapman the Biography


This month sees the publication of new details about the life and legacy of the man behind Lotus. Colin Chapman the Biography is the official and definitive record of his achievements, an authoritative text and outstanding images which capture the extraordinary personal history of one of the world’s most iconic brands.

Published by Coterie Press in collaboration with Colin’s son Clive and his business, Classic Team Lotus, the book is a fitting tribute to the company’s first 75 years – being celebrated in 2023.

The book consists of two 264-page volumes presented in a hard slipcase. It draws upon three principal sources – the biographical record of Chapman written by Gerard ‘Jabby’ Crombac soon after his death in 1982; the autobiography of Fred Bushell, Finance Director at Lotus for many years; and a multitude of assorted period texts and additional new material. This has been curated and/or written by William Taylor, the well-known and highly respected author, photographer and publisher of many books about the history of Lotus.

In combination with more than 1,500 images – many from the personal family albums maintained by Colin’s wife and Lotus co-founder Hazel Chapman – the text captures the extraordinary story of Chapman’s many accomplishments and provides a fascinating insight into the man.

Chapman was a designer, engineer, inventor, businessman and pioneering maverick who changed the world. The word ‘genius’ can be overused, but Chapman’s impact and influence on automotive engineering and global motorsport has lasted far longer than many of his contemporaries.

The book contains the original foreword to the Crombac text, written in 1986 by Enzo Ferrari. He was recognised by Chapman as his greatest competitor, and observed that Chapman was “so talented because of his ability to produce ideas ahead of his time”.

Indeed, the core DNA of the Lotus brand, which he established with his first car in 1948, continues to inspire the Lotus of today, as it transforms from a UK sports car company to a global performance business and brand.

Just 1,000 copies of the book have been printed and it’s available to buy priced £125 through Classic Team Lotus and Coterie Press.

Meanwhile, Clive Chapman has taken delivery of his new Emira V6 in stunning Dark Verdant Green with red leather interior and yellow calipers. Lotus aficionados will know it’s a homage to the iconic F1 world championship-winning Lotus 25 livery, driven by Jim Clark in 1963.

Clive said: “The first time I saw the Lotus Emira I knew that one had to join my Lotus collection, especially in the colour scheme of the pioneering Type 25. I fully intend to drive it every day, both for commuting between home and Classic Team Lotus in Hethel, and for the pure joy of the driving experience.”

Clive picked his car up from Hethel as part of the Factory Collection Programme. It’s an option for all Emira customers and includes an in-depth tour of the Chapman Production Centre. It’s the new assembly hall created as part of a £100m investment in Lotus’ UK facilities, and the home of the Emira.

Matt Windle handed the Emira over to Clive. He commented: “The colour scheme that Clive has chosen is one of the best I have seen and is all the more poignant as it’s so closely linked to the F1 cars that Team Lotus developed with such great success in the 1960s.”

He further added: “The Lotus Factory Collection Programme continues to be hugely popular, with a third of all UK Emira customers to date coming to see the impressive redevelopment work we’ve done at Hethel. The feedback we’ve received has helped refine the day and it goes from strength to strength.”