Lotus: The Design Story


Lotus has joined forces with automotive publisher Car Design News to produce a sumptuous new book detailing the creative story of the brand. Called Lotus: The Design Story, it’s more than 80 pages of interviews, features and photos on the history of the iconic brand, its place in popular culture, and much more.

The timing is perfect for a company which celebrates 75 years in 2023. Deliveries of the critically acclaimed Lotus Emira are in full swing, first examples of the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar will be with buyers in the summer, and the Lotus Eletre – the first lifestyle car and first mainstream EV from the Norfolk company – will arrive in Europe in the coming months.

Peter Horbury, Vice-President of Lotus Design, explains more…

When compared to the racing and engineering pedigree, the Lotus design story is a less-celebrated aspect of the brand. Why did you decide to tell it now?
I think that, in the past, Lotus has probably considered itself as an engineering and manufacturing company, with added design. Today, as part of the Vision80 transformation of the business and brand, design has equal billing. The recently launched trio of the Lotus Evija, Emira and Eletre mean the time is right for this very special book.

Lotus is in new territory with its first SUV, and we know there’s more to follow in the lifestyle EV space. What role will design play in ensuring this new era will still feel authentically Lotus?
Our role in design is to identify the visual cues that are recognisably Lotus, move them forward, and then re-proportion them to fit whatever size and volume of vehicle is being developed. We will avoid the ‘Russian Doll’ effect but create individual siblings who share the same parentage.

Are there any aspects of Lotus revealed in the book that will come as a surprise to avid Lotus fans?
Perhaps the names of those who were involved with the design of the earlier cars – people like Peter Kirwan-Taylor and Ron Hickman. Designers were somewhat anonymous back then, not like the stars of today.

The book has been translated into Mandarin. How well is Lotus known in China?
Lotus has not been a household name in China and, because Formula 1 is a relatively recent phenomenon there, the innovations and success story of Team Lotus are not well-known. However, we have been working very hard through all types of media and especially social media to educate our new fans across China in our brand and its heritage.

How does this book feed into the promotion of Lotus in China?
It’s all about story-telling – and what a story Lotus has! Design is at the heart of that story from the beginning, and this book helps to illustrate some of the key elements of the Lotus archive. There are more than 80 pages of wonderful images and text, telling of our design evolution from aerodynamics to technology, and above all, always launching cars that are ‘For The Drivers’.


*Lotus has a limited number of copies of Lotus: The Design Story book to give away to key media. Please email Richard Yarrow explaining why you would like to receive one.