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Event Cancelled
Kimbolton - Cancelled 2012
I’m afraid that we have had to cancel the Kimbolton Charity Classic this year. The grounds are waterlogged in many places and the school were rightly concerned about the various vehicles exhibiting and supporting the show turning the grounds into a mud bath.

We have inspected the grounds with them and agree that there would be many problems and many areas that we would not be able to use (the cricket field in particular) even if it did dry up significantly in the next few weeks. If we were to leave it any later before making a decision then there would be increased financial penalties so we have decided it is best to cancel now rather than take the risk.

Can you please pass on to your members and anyone else that you know was planning to attend. Next years show is scheduled for Sunday July 14th so please add that to your diaries. I will be in touch in the new year.

See you all in 2013.

Mike

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Behind the Drive: Lotus Esprit V8

Lotus Factory tour 1984

Lotus owners suspend chief Bahar over complaint
The chief executive of Norfolk-based Lotus Group Dany Bahar has been suspended by the Malaysian parent company DRB-Hicom.
BBC Look East business correspondent Richard Bond said Mr Bahar was suspended for an investigation of a complaint against him by DRB which bought Lotus in January.

"DRB are now reviewing whether to keep it or sell it," Bond said.

He said the move added to uncertainty about the future of Lotus.

Mr Bahar, who joined Lotus in September 2009, helped to win £10.7m from the government's Regional Growth Fund and unveiled five new cars at the Paris motor show in October last year.

DRB-Hicom gained control of Lotus Group's previous owner Proton Cars.

Uncertainty has followed speculation in the industry that the company was going into administration or would be sold to a Chinese firm.

South Norfolk Conservative MP Richard Bacon said in Parliament consultancy firm KPMG had been hired to sell Lotus and he asked the new owner to clarify the future of the plant at Hethel, south of Norwich.

Lotus Group said it disputed "lots of the facts" presented by Mr Bacon.

Taken from BBC.com

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LOTUS APPOINTS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Confirms dismissal of Dany Bahar
Group Lotus plc (“Lotus” or the “Company”) can today confirm that, Mr Dany Bahar has been terminated from his employment as Chief Executive Officer of Lotus with immediate effect.

The decision was made by the Board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him by the company’s penultimate holding company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.

The Company today also announced the appointment of Mr Aslam Farikullah as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Mr Aslam, aged 51, has over 26 years working experience, most of which was in the automotive industry. He graduated from University of Bath, England with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Engineering. A British permanent resident, Mr Aslam and his English wife of 27 years have three children aged 26, 22 and 16.

Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, Group Managing Director of DRB-HICOM Berhad and also Chairman of Lotus said: “I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry. I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and PROTON Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry.”

Link

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Latest issue of evo Magazine
Lotus Exige V6 S v C63 Black, M3 GTS, 911 GT3 RS 4.0 and GT-R Track Pack. Lotus Esprit megatest

Lotus Esprit megatest. Fingers are firmly crossed that the new Lotus Esprit makes it to production. In anticipation, Jethro Bovingdon travels to Hethel to drive the most desirable and exciting examples of the original

Link Here

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Top Gear looks a Lotus Suspension system
BBC show from 1983

Top Gear (6th Sep 1983) John Mills reports on a new Lotus suspension system from 1983. (29.18 mins long)

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Ex-LEW Esprit takes a trip to the other side of the World
On a slow boat to Australia

 

LotusTurbo Esprit A65 JEX is arriving is Australia on Sunday 20th May from the UK. The Esprit has been bought by Lex Lance who exported the 1984 Turbo Esprit to Australia. He'll be taking over the current owners page soon and keeping us up-to-date on this ex-LEW Esprits travels and new home down under.

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A picture is worth a thousand words
From Group Lotus
Production of the current cars is back to normal and also the New Esprit – although delayed – got the green light and development continues. What a casr!

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Giugiaro Esprit Needed
Mag Shoot with Practical Classics
Practical Classics Mag is in need of a pre-Stevens Esprit Turbo to attend a Practical Classics photo-shoot. It's going to be at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Wednesday 16th. They'll cover fuel costs and provide some sort of lunch... and it should be an entertaining day.

If you're interested in taking part and have a Giugiaro Esprit, then contact Sam Glover at Practical Classics Magazine direct – Tel: 07748 593408 or Email: sam.glover@practicalclassics.co.uk

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Modified Esprit from the 90s
From ClubLotus Mag

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Is Lotus about to be the new Chinese takeaway?

Iconic car maker could follow MG Rover to Far East
Legendary British sports car firm Lotus is under threat of being sold to China, MPs have warned.
In a repeat of the MG Rover fiasco, they fear up to 1,400 UK jobs could be lost and the 60-year-old business exported lock, stock and barrel to the communist People’s Republic.
Lotus was sold 16 years ago to Malaysian car-maker Proton which developed and nurtured the firm.


Design classic: A Lotus Elan used during a scene from cult Sixties TV series The Avengers starring Diana Rigg

This year, it was on the brink of a massive £500million expansion when a new and bigger set of Malaysian owners – the industrial conglomerate DRB-Hicom – took it over.

E FOR ELITE
Lotus was founded in 1952 by car engineer Colin Chapman with the help of a £50 loan from his wife Hazel. His initials still form part of the marque's badge. The Lotus name is said to come from Chapman's nickname for his wife. Most models begin with an E - a tradition started with the Lotus Eleven. Chapman liked the way the letter sounded He died of a heart attack aged 54 in 1982

This business, however, is said to have little interest in making Lotus cars and has appointed City firm KPMG to find a potential Chinese buyer, Parliament has been told.

DRB-Hicom insists no decision has been taken on Lotus’s future. But it will not rule out a sell-off. Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar, on a pay and bonus package worth £1.2million, had his employment extended in December, just a month before the Malaysian deal was revealed.

It now includes a controversial bonus clause worth millions of pounds in the event of a sell-off which MPs were told means he is ‘incentivised to sell Lotus’.

Conservative MP for South Norfolk Richard Bacon told Parliament up to 1,400 British jobs are at risk if the UK factory in Hethel, Norfolk, is dismantled and production moved to the Far East.

Ministers pledged to ‘keep Lotus in Britain’ when Mr Bacon was granted a Commons’ debate on the issue late on Tuesday.
Mr Bacon said: ‘The fact that KPMG has been appointed with a mandate to sell Group Lotus to the Chinese is not an encouraging sign.’


Iconic: Patrick McGoohan famously drove a Lotus as The Prisoner


Classic: The Caterham Seven Series 2 as used by Patrick McGoohan in 'The prisoner' television series

Business Secretary Vince Cable raised concerns with Mr Bahar on Tuesday – less than a day after the car boss’s return from Beijing where he unveiled a new model specifically for China.

The company has struggled to make a profit in recent years and it recorded pre-tax losses of £26.1million last year.
Mr Bacon said industry experts have warned him of a ‘worst case scenario’ in which Group Lotus would be put into administration, allowing a Chinese buyer to acquire it cheaply – as happened when MG Rover collapsed in 2005, with the loss of 6,000 jobs.

The money comes streaming in: Spotify music guru earns £190MILLION by age 29 - making him as rich as Mick Jagger
The Longbridge production line was shipped to China, leaving just a rump of car assembly at the Birmingham plant.
Lotus strenuously denied suggestions that a ‘fire sale’ strategy was being contemplated, or that it could be put into administration, but bosses have not ruled out selling the firm.

Group Lotus has an ambitious five-year expansion plan for the Hethel plant, which would create 1,000 jobs, and the Government rubber-stamped a £10million taxpayer-funded grant last year.


Under threat: One of the company's more recent cars the Lotus Elise, released by the firm in 1996

But that regional growth fund grant is now on hold while Lotus’s new Malaysian owner decides its future.
Prospective bidders are likely to include China Youngman, which has been Lotus’s importer in China for the past five year.
Business Minister Mark Prisk said Lotus ‘must remain in Britain’, adding: ‘Ministers at the very highest level are taking this matter very seriously. We are working to make sure the new owners understand Norfolk is the home of Lotus.’

The Government remains ready to press ahead with its £10million grant to Lotus – but only if the expansion plans for the UK go ahead.
Norfolk Council leader Derrick Murphy said: ‘It is important we continue to press the case for the company as so many livelihoods depend on Lotus being based here in Norfolk.’

Lotus said: ‘Dany Bahar remains totally committed to Lotus. His overriding priority is securing the future of the company and protecting its employees.’

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OIL FILTER FITTING (UPDATE Late April 2012)
Lotus were talking about the fit of the Lotus Oil Filter recently following a complaint from an owner.This problem has been documented on our problems page and we've had a few owners over the year with similar problems. Attached is some pictures of a Filter on an engine with both the Lotus specified Starter Motors.

It can be seen that the Fitting and Removal of the Filter is ok. The car in question must have some other problem. Lotus sell 1000s of these filters every year. If they had a problem with every one they would know. Hope this helps to clarify the situation.

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Future of Lotus is unstable
Just 35 cars sold in the UK , Esprit delayed until 2014,
The iconic British brand has sold just 35 cars in the UK so far this year and just 155 worldwide. But in an exclusive interview with Sun Motors, chief exec Dany Bahar said he was confident Lotus have a strong future.New Malaysian owners DRB-Hicom are deciding whether to sanction a £500million investment to launch five sports cars over the next five years. And Bahar expects a decision within a fortnight on whether they will back the investment plan, revise it — or sell Lotus. He said: “I remain confident and committed that we can bring Lotus back to the top. “We have a healthy order book of 1,127 cars but due to the takeover it has been a very difficult time. “We have spent the last two weeks discussing in detail with our new owners our investment plans and all aspects of the business. “They know the situation Lotus are in, and it is in their interest to resolve the issues as soon as possible.”

The investment plans would create 1,100 jobs at Lotus and five new models, including a new Esprit supercar (pictured), which has now been delayed until 2014. Bahar accepts that DRB could decide to revise the plan, and that the other option is to sell Lotus. He also stressed that the new owners had absolutely NOT considered putting the firm into administration.

But the big question is — who would buy the firm in these tough economic times?

Especially as Lotus have rising debts and face the prospect of making losses for the next four years until the new models go on sale. The most likely buyers would be the Chinese — who have already snapped up MG and Volvo — specifically Geely, owned by billionaire Li Shufu. Lotus are celebrating their 60th anniversary since being formed by Colin Chapman but not for the first time they are fighting for survival. They have had several owners in the past 20 years, including General Motors and Proton, but none has been able to make the firm a financial success.

Bahar insisted that production — which had been cut back because of cashflow problems — would be back in full swing next month. Lotus’s operating funds have been severely cut since DRB’s buy-out of Proton last month. Under Malaysian takeover rules, for a “due diligence” period funds can only be approved for carrying out the “ordinary course of business” for a firm, which clearly does not apply to the new investment. Lotus have also confirmed that the cashflow problems had forced them to put back the launch date of the crucial new £100,000 Esprit from 2013 to 2014, which will further complicate their financial position.

Our Government will be watching anxiously as they have given a £10.4million grant towards Lotus’s ambitious investment programme. Now the next few weeks are likely to decide their long-term future... and the jobs of 1,400 Lotus workers at their base in Norfolk. Motoring Editor Ken Gibson says: “Bahar’s bold vision for Lotus is a good one and the cars are sensational. I hope DRB have the same vision to put this great British brand back on top.”

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News from 1st Quarter 2012

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