“We stand a good chance of making four friends and thirty-six enemies here! The standard really is very high.”
We probably caused a few eyebrows to be raised by selecting an Elise as overall winner but Mr Collard’s 2002 example really was rather special. Just the right side of being over the top, he was very fortunate in that the original owner had specified the car very highly from new – and then left it virtually unused for several years. That, combined with the current owners’ attention to detail means that it is now virtually better than new and has even wowed the folk at Hethel. Nevertheless, it still required 50 hours of polishing, only to come and get rained on at Brands Hatch!
The modern cars do give a problem to judges as whereas originality is a key factor with old cars, when confronted with half a dozen factory-fresh examples, just what do you look for? You have to think a bit laterally and for us James Watson’s Evora scored a few points simply because it is used as a family car, just as the maker intended.
The owner of the Elan that was runner-up last year made it very clear that he expected to go one better this time. That he didn’t win a prize was no reflection on him or the preparation of his car, simply that there was some very good competition. Richard Robinson’s Elan Sprint was quite stunning, whilst David Brown’s Cortina, still complete with Chapman-designed A-frame rear suspension was outstanding too, originality counting highly in this class.
Whilst it was disappointing not to receive any entries from the Elite/Eclat era or the M100 Elan, celebrating respectively their 40th and 25th birthdays this year, it was good to see so many Esprit’s, although curiously despite the long production life of the model in various guises, almost all those at Brands came from the same model year.
The thorny question of originality counted against modified cars, of which there were a couple of excellent examples, displaying some real ingenuity. This has led to the suggestion that there might be a separate class for modified cars in the future.
One thing that shone through (pun intended!) was the genuine enthusiasm of the owners for their cars and for Lotus in general. It was a genuine joy to meet and talk to you all and I’m sorry we kept you hanging around in the rain as the judging took longer than intended for that very reason! I’ll finish as I started, with a quote from Oliver:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. It was so nice to be re-united with work that was done 43 years ago and to have such appreciative owners. The Show and Shine was difficult to judge as the standard was so high and it’s always sad some go home empty-handed.”
Overall winner: Mr Collard Elise Sports Tourer
Class A: Richard Robinson Elan Sprint
Class B: Daniel Chambers Esprit Turbo
Class C: Paul Hanniford Exige S2
Class D: James Watson Evora