When I arranged for a return visit to Classic Team Lotus at their new Workshop and storage facility for Saturday 23rd March I had no idea how popular this would prove. With 25 places on offer to attend, within two days of the event being posted it was fully subscribed plus an increasing reserve list.
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The day of the tour commenced with the local Essex area meeting up for a run from Colchester to Hethel with a ten car convoy which made for a great sight on a lovely sunny Spring day. We duly arrived at the facility to meet with others who had traveled from different locations and awaited the arrival of birthday boy Michael Hipperson with his daughter Daisy driving his lovely red Elite type 14. Not to embarrass Michael we gave a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday as he walked across the car park to join us.
Our host for the afternoon was Richard Parramint who greeted us all as we congregated in the main entrance (Shop) area and gave us an insight of the new facility before we commenced our walkabout.
Starting on the ground floor it was evident that things have moved into the 21st Century for CTL from the original wooden huts adjacent to the new site. On entering the new workshop area we were among the cars currently undergoing restoration and preparation for this year’s racing events. It really was a case of a ‘child in a sweet shop’ moment as being able to get up so close to the iconic cars in various state of construction was simply amazing. Seeing my all-time favorite Type 25 in all its glory was the icing on the cake. Richard was on hand to answer any questions that were put to him regarding the cars and their past drivers plus with his wit and humorous banter it made for an interesting insight into the past within the team in its heyday. The workshop is a lovely clean working environment for the engineers and provides plenty of space for working on the individual cars which perhaps the old workshops couldn’t really offer.
Making our way up to the 1st floor level, and this really was another level (excuse the pun), the vast array of F1 cars was outstanding and once again we were free to walk around and drool over pretty much the range of ex Lotus F1 racers from type 72’s, 49 and 99T that had the revolutionary active suspension, and so many more which are too numerous to mention. Needless to say everyone felt privileged to be amongst such motor racing history.
As part of our visit we had the opportunity for those who wanted to have one of the F1 cars rolled out for a photo opportunity to include the owner’s cars etc. The black beauty we had was Ronnie Petersons Type 79 which made for great photos against the background of the wooded area as you can see from the picture.
After approximately a three hour tour coming to a conclusion we reconvened in the shop area to spend some cash and wrap up the afternoon with Richard.
After saying our goodbyes to those making their way homeward bound the rest of us headed off to the Breckland Lodge Hotel for a drink and lovely evening meal to finish off the day in style.
To sum up the event I hope that everyone felt it was a resounding success and on behalf of Seloc I would like to extend a big thank you to Richard Parramint and Classic Team Lotus for giving us this great opportunity to visit their new facility.
Here’s to the next one.