On this day in auto history - December 16th

Wed 16th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 1982 when the world of motorsport fell into mourning after news emerged that Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, had died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

The influential design engineer was just 54 at the time of his death which occurred in his hometown of Norwich.

The self-made design engineer is credited with revolutionising Formula One with his pioneering design philosophy which focused on lighter cars with fine handling instead of bulking up on horsepower.

Helped by drivers such as Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Graham Hill, Team Lotus dominated Formula One during the 1960’s and 70’s as it collected seven Constructors’ Championships.

Chapman was also an innovator in the business end of racing and is often credited with turning Formula One cars into rolling billboards through Team Lotus’ sponsorships with the cigarette brands Gold Leaf and, most famously, John Player Special.