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The secret life of Colin Chapman


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#1 Chezrome

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 23:03

Enjoy it as long as it is up there.

http://www.youtube.c...rom=PL&index=36

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#2 john t

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 23:13

This is an old documentary we will remember from TV and long since posted on 'Youtube'. His story is well known. Sure he was flawed but this doesn't detract from his unique skill as a designer, engineer and team manager.

#3 sterling49

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 00:04

As John T stated Jerome, an old programme, and we all know the contents, but I for one, thank ACBC for his great contribution to motor racing and for the pleasure he gave me watching Lotus cars, as a life long supporter. They were just beautiful cars, and they usually won, especially with Jim at the helm.

#4 Paul Hurdsfield

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 07:27

I have it on VHS, a few years ago UK Channel 4 had an F1 night and the opening program was TSLoCC.
I dug it out the other day with the intention of putting it on DVD, but it was a bit 'jumpy' at the beginning, so I put it away again for another day.

#5 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 07:42

Originally posted by Chezrome
Enjoy it as long as it is up there.

http://www.youtube.c...rom=PL&index=36



Friends, I knew it was an old program. I just thought some would enjoy watching it.

#6 Gary C

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:41

Enjoy? Yes, I always enjoy watching a htachet being buried in some one's back and them not being able to reply. Did anyone notice that there was no-one from close to Chapman in the programme? Certainly no family members or even Team mechanics.

#7 Giraffe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:53

Originally posted by Gary C
Enjoy? Yes, I always enjoy watching a htachet being buried in some one's back and them not being able to reply. Did anyone notice that there was no-one from close to Chapman in the programme? Certainly no family members or even Team mechanics.


By the rules of engagement that prevailed at that time, I don't really thing Chapman did anything wrong.....
Of course times have change and we all have to be whiter than white in business these days, dont we? (Unless you're in banking.......... :lol: ).

Colin and myself share the same d.o.b., 19th May; he was 40 the day I was 14 and for some reason I never forget that! He would have been 81 years old three weeks today, and I am now older than he was when he died..............Sheesh!
He shared a few words with me and gave me his autograph during practice for the Gold Cup at Oulton Park in 1969 when he appeared on a monkey bike to inspect Jo Bonnier's trashed, newly acquired Lotus 49B; I have him buzzing it on 8mm.

#8 sterling49

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:54

Originally posted by Gary C
Enjoy? Yes, I always enjoy watching a htachet being buried in some one's back and them not being able to reply. Did anyone notice that there was no-one from close to Chapman in the programme? Certainly no family members or even Team mechanics.


In complete agreement Gary.

#9 llmaurice

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:27

Odd that Moss talked about when he won the American Grand Prix in 1959 . That was the year when Bruce of course won and Sir Jack pushed in across the line . Not a well thought out typical TV initialised programme
I guess

#10 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:54

Originally posted by Gary C
Enjoy? Yes, I always enjoy watching a htachet being buried in some one's back and them not being able to reply. Did anyone notice that there was no-one from close to Chapman in the programme? Certainly no family members or even Team mechanics.


Mmm, strange. I am certain that several mechanics were interviewed in the program, and one executive assistant who's name I forgot came back several times, Tony Rudd was there... the family members were not there, that's true. But certainly teammembers.

I don't think it was a hatchet-job at all. I think the program pictured Chapman not as a villain, not as a hero... exactly the kind of profile I'd like to see.

A couple of years ago, Martin Amis wrote a long portrait of Tony Blair, which I translated for the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. That portrait got a lot of flak. Why? Because most British people thought that there was only one right way to portray Blair: as a villain. While Amis wrote a mixed story about Blair.

I enjoyed the program because I thought (emphasis on 'I') the makers tried to do justice to both the genius of Chapman and his wobbly ethics. Ofcourse I never met the men personally, so I can't judge if the story was too bleak or too rosy...

#11 Kpy

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:57

Originally posted by Giraffe


By the rules of engagement that prevailed at that time, I don't really thing Chapman did anything wrong.....
Of course times have change and we all have to be whiter than white in business these days, dont we? (Unless you're in banking.......... :lol: ).


You may not think that Chapman did anything wrong, but on 20 June 1992, on sentencing Fred Bushell, Lord Justice Murray said that if Chapman and DeLorean had stood in the dock, as Chapman would have, had he not died in the meantime, they would have [not might have] received at least 10 years imprisonment each.

#12 Macca

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:01

It was 1960 when SCM won at Riverside. I haven't watched it lately so don't know if SCM said '59, meaning '60. Remember he'd had a wheel fall off at Spa giving him the worst injuries in his career, so he had as much of a right as anyone to have a dig at ACBC.

When ACBC died, he was probably held in more respect than he is now.........because all the shady/dodgy stuff hadn't come out. Only his friends/workers knew and they hadn't told; but concensus is that he would almost certainly have had an enforced holiday over De Lorean, whereas Fred Bushell carried the can, with Peter Wright getting some collateral flak (disqualified from being a company director IIRC).

I was re-reading a Mario Andretti interview in MS from 1995 - he wasn't nasty about Colin, in fact said he owed him enormously, but he mentioned his stubborn streak over technical ideas that didn't quite work, and his capacity to have a dig at others but not take it back.

It's the way of the world that more about people comes out with time, especially when they can't sue.......otherwise we wouldn't have 'Mon Ami Mate', for instance.

Paul M

(edit: others got in first......)

#13 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:21

Yes, the Stirling Moss interview is a case in point for me to say: this was not burying the hatchet in anyone's back. I think Moss was rather... softspoken about Colin, he was not having a dig. He told about driving a Lotus and the car losing a wheel. That happened. He sustained injuries. That happened. He did not seem angry about it at all, in the program he almost seemed filosophical about it: 'That was Chapman, you know.'

I was also touched how the program showed Chapmans mourning about Clark. I had never truely appreciated how much Clark meant to Chapman, untill someone said in the program: 'It was almost a marriage, and Chapman lost a partner when Clark died.'

#14 kayemod

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:16

I get a strong sense of deja vu here, I'm sure this discussion is almost identical to the one we had on TNF when that programme first saw the light of day several years ago, doesn't anyone use the BB Search function any more? Of those interviewed, I'd say that only Tony Rudd, Graham Arnold, Robin Read and Jim Endruweit really knew Chapman well, and if you edit out most of the others, that gives a pretty accurate picture of The Man. Most of the others have some kind of axe to grind, Ivan Fallon was pushing his book on the DeLorean business, and DeLorean himself was mired in endless US litigation so of course it suited him to pile as much blame as he could onto Chapman. Of Tim Enwright I know almost nothing, but the programme relied very heavily on his contribution. I can't say I warmed to him, and he certainly didn't seem to me like the kind of person that Chapman would have got close to. 'Executive Assistant' sounds rather more impressive than I'd guess it really was, and he came out with a fair amount that I found quite unbelievable. As Gary C pointed out, no real insiders other than those mentioned were prepared to contribute, no family members at all, and crucially no Fred Bushell, who was loyal to his dying day. Chapman was a truly remarkable man, you have to be to inspire the kind of loyalty and devotion, though not always affection, that he did in almost all who knew and worked with him. I was a fairly junior engineer at Lotus, I'm not claiming much insider knowledge, and I couldn't have added a great deal to the programme content, but when I left 'Uncle' Tony Rudd shook my hand, wished me well, and handed me a letter, spelling out in no uncertain terms that I must never disclose details of various projects and deals I'd been involved with in my time at Lotus. I've no doubt that many similar letters were handed out over the years, and the fact that most recipients have done exactly as they were asked, says as great deal about Colin Chapman, ACBC, The Old Man.

#15 llmaurice

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:17

Re-your reply Macca , true but at the same meeting "our" GP hopes came to an end when the steering column snapped on Mike Taylors (ex-B.Aires Gp) 18 during the same practice and I'm sure Mike remembers that Lotus's first GP win was 1960 at Monaco as most of us do .

#16 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:40

Originally posted by kayemod
I get a strong sense of deja vu here, I'm sure this discussion is almost identical to the one we had on TNF when that programme first saw the light of day several years ago, doesn't anyone use the BB Search function any more? Of those interviewed, I'd say that only Tony Rudd, Graham Arnold, Robin Read and Jim Endruweit really knew Chapman well, and if you edit out most of the others, that gives a pretty accurate picture of The Man. Most of the others have some kind of axe to grind, Ivan Fallon was pushing his book on the DeLorean business, and DeLorean himself was mired in endless US litigation so of course it suited him to pile as much blame as he could onto Chapman. Of Tim Enwright I know almost nothing, but the programme relied very heavily on his contribution. I can't say I warmed to him, and he certainly didn't seem to me like the kind of person that Chapman would have got close to. 'Executive Assistant' sounds rather more impressive than I'd guess it really was, and he came out with a fair amount that I found quite unbelievable. As Gary C pointed out, no real insiders other than those mentioned were prepared to contribute, no family members at all, and crucially no Fred Bushell, who was loyal to his dying day. Chapman was a truly remarkable man, you have to be to inspire the kind of loyalty and devotion, though not always affection, that he did in almost all who knew and worked with him. I was a fairly junior engineer at Lotus, I'm not claiming much insider knowledge, and I couldn't have added a great deal to the programme content, but when I left 'Uncle' Tony Rudd shook my hand, wished me well, and handed me a letter, spelling out in no uncertain terms that I must never disclose details of various projects and deals I'd been involved with in my time at Lotus. I've no doubt that many similar letters were handed out over the years, and the fact that most recipients have done exactly as they were asked, says as great deal about Colin Chapman, ACBC, The Old Man.


Ofcourse people use the search button, Kayemod... but stuff like this on youtube is very quickly deleted by Youtube because of the copyright infringements... so I thought it would be kind to alert F1 lovers that it was there (but not for very long, presumably...) I was not trying to bother anyone, but on this board, excuse me, the toes are pretty long. I did not post the link to start a discussion at all, but if people start the discussion anyway...

But ofcourse I know I can't persuade many Nostalgia posters NOT to believe that such an action was anything else than slighting one of their heroes.

#17 David Force

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:56

A few years back at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Chris Alford had crashed Cedric Selzer's Lotus 25 going straight on at Molcombe and taking a wheel off. When the car came back to teh paddock a number of us were inspecting the damage when Stirling passed by. He stopped to look and remarked 'In my day the wheels came off before the accident' and wandered off. He didn't seem particularly perturbed about it.

Even today racing cars are prototypes and parts sometimes break. Were Lotus really more fragile than other makes or was it simply that they were usually at the front being driven by the greatest drivers when something went wrong.

:cool:

#18 Gary Davies

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 12:23

There's a bloke called Steve Jobs, something in the computer business as I understand it, who is known, within Apple, as 'The Reality Distortion Field'. A quality he undoubtedly shares with ACBC. Which might put some context into the recollections of some former employees.

The program assuredly didn't get everything right (and heaven protect us from the pedants who picked up on Stirl's slip up regarding the date of his Spa crash, and even, which wheel fell off - we knew that!), but the production came across to me as largely reverential and in the main conveying a reasonable picture of the man.

As for the absence of Fred Bushell from the program, I don't know why he was not featured, but having done bird for conspiracy to defraud, it is not hard to imagine he might be diffident about appearing on such a production.

Mike Lawrence's book summed Chapman up quite well... Wayward Genius.

#19 llmaurice

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 13:37

Vanwall ,
History is history mate ! Maybe you're quite happy not to let reality interfere with a good modern TV
"documentary".

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#20 Speedy27

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 13:41

Originally posted by Chezrome


Ofcourse people use the search button, Kayemod... but stuff like this on youtube is very quickly deleted by Youtube because of the copyright infringements... so I thought it would be kind to alert F1 lovers that it was there (but not for very long, presumably...) I was not trying to bother anyone, but on this board, excuse me, the toes are pretty long. I did not post the link to start a discussion at all, but if people start the discussion anyway...

But ofcourse I know I can't persuade many Nostalgia posters NOT to believe that such an action was anything else than slighting one of their heroes.


Hi Chezrome

Thanks for posting the link to this well compiled documentary. I did not learn anything I hadn't already read, except for more specific details regarding the De Lorean dealings and why these would be considered illegal - then and now. Unlike some of the expert contributors here, I watched all the parts of this documentary!

Looking at some of the amusing responses you have received, you have seemingly started a nappy rash among two groups on this forum who you will be able to have a good laugh at from time to time: the superior crowd who always know everything better than anyone else, as though they were key players in and not observers of motorsport history, and those who would not hear a word of criticism of the devil himself - as long as he had earned their respect through his motorsport achievements!

There have been, as far as I know, two outstanding biographies on Colin Chapman. I have enjoyed them both and found the latter one, called Colin Chapman Wayward Genius by Mike Lawrence, to be especially illuminating. Having read them both, I feel that I have a much better understanding of both the man himself and the incredible contribution he made to motorsport. This has given me a far deeper respect for him in some areas and far less respect for him in others.

Seemingly, most of the respondents to your post don't know as much as they would like you to believe they do. Either that, or the fact that for some people, there is simply no grey in their world of black and white; so, whatever the facts, it always has to be one or the other!

So, rather than frustrating yourself through needlessly and repeatedly trying to justify your contribution, just sit back and enjoy their offerings for the consistent amusement value they provide before quickly tiring and moving on to the next topic.

Thanks again for posting the link to this well balanced and fairly thorough documentary.

ciao :wave:

#21 Gary Davies

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 13:56

Originally posted by llmaurice
Vanwall ,
History is history mate ! Maybe you're quite happy not to let reality interfere with a good modern TV
"documentary".


Amongst aircraft fanatics there is a term called 'rivet counters'. To be able to count rivets and to be able to accept the documentary for what it was is a facility with which not everyone is blessed. To assume people are either one or the other is... let's just say, jejune.

#22 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 14:35

Speedy, Vanwell, thanks your generous posts. I am pretty used people disagreeing with me, but I always find it hard to swallow when others assume the worst.

#23 llmaurice

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 14:39

Sorry Vanwall , I thought the discussion was about motor racing . I can't speak for aircraft tech as I didn't work for any plane makers . I only know what I know is fact . Being there was I found quite useful for keeping certain events in the fading memory .

#24 Rosemayer

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 14:50

Does anyone know what caused Colins heart attack? Heredity, stress, high clorestoral ETC.

#25 cedricselzer

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 14:55

The evil that men do lives after, the good is oft interred with their bones
Mark Anthony and me.

Cedric Selzer

#26 Giraffe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 15:07

Originally posted by Rosemayer
Does anyone know what caused Colins heart attack? Heredity, stress, high clorestoral ETC.


Well if anyone deserved one, Colin did! It's funny because I always had this image of Chapman being stern and unapproachable, sort of heart attack material & yet on the few occasions I met him he was exactly the opposite, chilled, joking, smiling. Still, 54 was no age really. It does make you wonder if he's on a desert island somewhere with Lord Lucan and Reggie Perrin.......... :)

#27 kayemod

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 15:40

Originally posted by Rosemayer
Does anyone know what caused Colins heart attack? Heredity, stress, high clorestoral ETC.


Chapman was a surprisingly insecure man is some ways, he suffered from several fairly minor health problems, hay fever was one, and he worried constantly about his weight, one reason why he hated the nickname 'Chunky', not a name that most who had any regard for the man would use, and certainly not to his face. Around Lotus he was always referred to informally as ACBC or 'The Old Man'. This is hearsay, though from an authoritative source, but I've been told that he self-medicated with some slightly suspect diet pills that didn't do his cardio vascular system any good. I think it's been pretty much disproved, but many, including family members, believed at the time that DeLorean had him bumped off. Certainly JDL wouldn't have been sorry that Chapman was no longer around to tell his version of events when the legal process began in earnest.

#28 Giraffe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 15:44

There was some mention of pill taking in the programme, was there not?

#29 simon drabble

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 15:49

I thought the general consensus at the time was that he topped himself as he could not handle the shame of being sent down....

#30 ensign14

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 15:54

It was years before that would have come to pass, though, surely?

#31 Zoony

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 16:12

I watched this when it was on C4 as part of a 'Petrol Heads' themed night a few years ago.

I enjoyed it then, and I'm enjoying it now on YT.

Chapman was always one of my heroes, and always will be, whatever 'lovable rogue' shenanigans it turns out he got up to.

On a technical point, at the risk of being labelled a 'rivet counter', I was surprised to hear Tony Rudd referring to Colin 'blaming the team' for Ronnie's death, 'because Ronnie was in an aluminium honeycomb Type 78, and not a carbon-fibre chassis Type 79'. I would have thought Tony, of all people, should have known that the 79 was not constructed from carbon-fibre.

#32 Giraffe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 16:13

Maybe it's only Hazel who really knows, as he died in her arms.............

#33 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 17:15

Fascinating to re-visit this old programme.

Having known ACBC and the family reasonably well and having grown up through a motor racing era in which Colin was GOD I am instinctively biased...but there's only one aspect of the programme with which I recall taking serious issue. And that's the disloyalty and fertile imagination of the unappealing Tim Enwright.

What has been written here about Colin's personal vanity, discomfort with his weight, ethical dyslexia (!) etc etc is all pretty much well-founded, to my personal knowledge and recollection.

He certainly had a morbid fear of confronting death itself. When father Stan was killed in a road accident Colin opted out and sent Andrew Ferguson instead to identify his body.

Colin harboured a deep grudge against HM Government for having shown no sign of providing any financial help to Group Lotus at any stage - and yet the same politicians had simply rolled over before De Lorean's trans-Atlantic blandishments and offered the con-man tax-payer funding which could at various stages have purchased Lotus thirty times over.

Something within ACBC then convinced him that a proportion of the Goverment money was his by right. He was dazzled by the glitz, glamour and lifestyle surrounding JZdeL - right from the man's cosmetic chin extension to his trophy wife - and Colin seems to have been seduced by it to move from the buccaneering, edgy, tightrope, outer limits of acceptability upon which he had operated for many years...into the unacceptable, illegal, guilty darkness which beckoned beyond.

And perhaps a suddenly surfacing realisation of exactly what he had done - and where he had moved to - might be what finally killed him? Tell you what, though, he's still got my vote... :up:

DCN

#34 Chezrome

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 17:23

Chapman gets my vote too... but that's exactly why I liked the program. I am not interested in heroes, I am not interested in villains... but people who are a mixture of both, those I find fascinating. What I liked about the film was that on the one hand it was very critical, on the other hand it was rather admiring, even a touch sentimental about Chapman.

About Tim Enwright: he's unappealing yes, (people in thick glasses often are), but he also seems someone who is a bit amazed by what he is telling himself. And THAT is not, to me, the sign of someone who is lying. But of someone who is genuinely amazed by his own recollections.

#35 Giraffe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 17:26

...and mine, and a whole lot of other people's I suspect, Doug. :up: :up: :up:

#36 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 17:28

Sorry, but this whole thing really p----s me off.
Colin Chapman was a one off. He was a truly great man in the F1/GP scheme of things, and to suggest otherwise would be to twist the truth.
The documentary, while interesting enough, is made in retrospect.
One can´t apply todays standards to yesterdays events. It´s a mistake that historians make all the time.
Was he perfect? Probably not, but who is?
All I can say regarding the man is, thank you Colin for what you did regarding the sport. Your contribution is probably unsurpassed. Sure, the first monocoques were less than safe, but this was ground breaking stuff, and that was to be expected.
He was a genius.
We really should leave it at that.

#37 Rosemayer

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 17:30

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Fascinating to re-visit this old programme.

Having known ACBC and the family reasonably well and having grown up through a motor racing era in which Colin was GOD I am instinctively biased...but there's only one aspect of the programme with which I recall taking serious issue. And that's the disloyalty and fertile imagination of the unappealing Tim Enwright.

What has been written here about Colin's personal vanity, discomfort with his weight, ethical dyslexia (!) etc etc is all pretty much well-founded, to my personal knowledge and recollection.

He certainly had a morbid fear of confronting death itself. When father Stan was killed in a road accident Colin opted out and sent Andrew Ferguson instead to identify his body.

Colin harboured a deep grudge against HM Government for having shown no sign of providing any financial help to Group Lotus at any stage - and yet the same politicians had simply rolled over before De Lorean's trans-Atlantic blandishments and offered the con-man tax-payer funding which could at various stages have purchased Lotus thirty times over.

Something within ACBC then convinced him that a proportion of the Goverment money was his by right. He was dazzled by the glitz, glamour and lifestyle surrounding JZdeL - right from the man's cosmetic chin extension to his trophy wife - and Colin seems to have been seduced by it to move from the buccaneering, edgy, tightrope, outer limits of acceptability upon which he had operated for many years...into the unacceptable, illegal, guilty darkness which beckoned beyond.

And perhaps a suddenly surfacing realisation of exactly what he had done - and where he had moved to - might be what finally killed him? Tell you what, though, he's still got my vote... :up:

DCN

:up: Well spoken Doug

#38 bradbury west

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 18:26

Originally posted by Chezrome
...Moss was rather softspoken about Colin, ...the car losing a wheel. That happened. He sustained injuries.... He did not seem angry about it at all,
SCM has had the benefit of several decades to look back realistically at a dangerous time in a dangerous sport, and the wisdom to realise that actual events cannot be changed. At the time he was seriously injured and furious, demonstrated not least, flippantly but pointedly, by the birthday cake episode.
... [i]I had never truely appreciated how much Clark meant to Chapman, untill someone said in the program: 'It was almost a marriage, and Chapman lost a partner when Clark died.'
[/B]

'Nuff said.
Roger Lund

#39 COUGAR508

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 19:02

Originally posted by Gary C
Enjoy? Yes, I always enjoy watching a htachet being buried in some one's back and them not being able to reply. Did anyone notice that there was no-one from close to Chapman in the programme? Certainly no family members or even Team mechanics.


Yes, I found the programme very one-sided, although it was also very interesting.

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#40 elansprint72

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 19:20

Can I recommend "Colin Chapman's Lotus" by Robin Read, one of the most fascinating (and illuminating) books I have ever read.
I do hope that Ron Hickman writes his story; on the few occasions I have met him the stories have been wonderful.

#41 h4887

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 19:27

Originally posted by Vanwall


Amongst aircraft fanatics there is a term called 'rivet counters'. To be able to count rivets and to be able to accept the documentary for what it was is a facility with which not everyone is blessed. To assume people are either one or the other is... let's just say, jejune.


Jejune, eh? I think the only other time I've ever come across that word is in John Updike's poem 'Seating Capacity 26'. (Sorry to go OT) :D

#42 kayemod

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:02

Originally posted by elansprint72
Can I recommend "Colin Chapman's Lotus" by Robin Read, one of the most fascinating (and illuminating) books I have ever read.
I do hope that Ron Hickman writes his story; on the few occasions I have met him the stories have been wonderful.


Yes indeed, Robin Read's book, mostly on the Cheshunt days is a fascinating read. I've been watching a copy on eBay this afternoon, it failed to attract a single bid at £19.00, which surprised me greatly. Even better is Colin Chapman Lotus Engineering by Hugh Haskell, though I've seen copies of that one go for astonishing amounts in recent years, both books are long out of print of course. Certainly agree that Ron Hickman has a good story to tell, on his Workmate invention as well as his huge contribution to Lotus road cars. It's always surprised me that more hasn't been written about Colin Chapman though, Monsieur Crombac's work is very much the 'family approved authorised version', definitely not a warts and all biography, and while the much better Mike Lawrence book Flawed Genius starts well, the final chapters are a bit weak, almost as if he lost interest as he neared the end. Others may disagree on that of course.

#43 PeterElleray

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:13

Having lived in norfolk these past 20 years, which has given free access to more Chapman/Lotus stories than i can remember , i would say that the books that best mirror the stories i have been told are:

Robin Read' s "Colin Chapman's Lotus"
Andrew Ferguson's "Team Lotus - The Indianapolis Years"
Peter Rosses "Lotus The Early Years"
and
Mike Lawrence's "Wayward genius".

the first three are of course insider stories - but very well balanced i think..

The biggest compliment i have ever been paid in racing, some years ago when the Bentley's were being 'homolgated' by the ACO, out came the tape measure and the door opening was checked.. 'but zis is smaller zan ze regulation...".. Elleray offers up door, "Measure that, it says DOOR, not DOOR OPENING in the regs"... immediately, from just behind me, comes a familiar, ex Team voice "Thats exactly what the old man would have said!". Felt about 10 feet tall. ACO retreated in confusion.

Peter

#44 Tony Matthews

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:25

Originally posted by h4887
Jejune, eh? I think the only other time I've ever come across that word is in John Updike's poem 'Seating Capacity 26'. (Sorry to go OT) :D


My great-niece Honoria has always said that she finds most young men without a substantial allowance jejune, unless, of course, they are particularly good-looking and have plenty of joie de vivre and are vigorous and attentive - but even these she tires of rapidly... Poor, dear, ACBC though, now that was an affair of the heart, sadly unrequited, but she is still full of stories of those gay, eventful evenings at Ketteringham Hall, those long nights in the Drawing Office and her detailed descriptions of its vaulted ceiling...

Gwendolyn Syrup

#45 Gary C

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:48

'immediately, from just behind me, comes a familiar, ex Team voice "Thats exactly what the old man would have said!". Felt about 10 feet tall.'
Bob Dance, perhaps?

#46 bradbury west

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:55

[i]Originally posted by PeterElleray
.... by the ACO, out came the tape measure and the door opening was checked.. 'but zis is smaller zan ze regulation...".. Elleray offers up door, "Measure that, ACO retreated in confusion.
Peter [/B]

Reminds me of the old story about Mike Costin and the recalibrated metre rule at LM with the cockpit size on the Elevens.
Roger Lund

#47 elansprint72

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 22:00

Originally posted by kayemod


Yes indeed, Robin Read's book, mostly on the Cheshunt days is a fascinating read. I've been watching a copy on eBay this afternoon, it failed to attract a single bid at £19.00, which surprised me greatly. Even better is Colin Chapman Lotus Engineering by Hugh Haskell, though I've seen copies of that one go for astonishing amounts in recent years, both books are long out of print of course. Certainly agree that Ron Hickman has a good story to tell, on his Workmate invention as well as his huge contribution to Lotus road cars. It's always surprised me that more hasn't been written about Colin Chapman though, Monsieur Crombac's work is very much the 'family approved authorised version', definitely not a warts and all biography, and while the much better Mike Lawrence book Flawed Genius starts well, the final chapters are a bit weak, almost as if he lost interest as he neared the end. Others may disagree on that of course.



Wish I'd seen that one on e-Bay, I've seen them sell for £120, on a good day. I'm down to my last two copies. ;)
The Lawrence book did run out of steam towards the end.
Most stupidly expensive book at the moment seems to be "The Certain Sound" by John Wyer. I've read it and it's "nowt" to write home about. Surely due for a re-issue, though?

#48 elansprint72

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 22:21

Originally posted by PeterElleray
Having lived in norfolk these past 20 years, which has given free access to more Chapman/Lotus stories than i can remember , i would say that the books that best mirror the stories i have been told are:

Robin Read' s "Colin Chapman's Lotus"
Andrew Ferguson's "Team Lotus - The Indianapolis Years"
Peter Rosses "Lotus The Early Years"
and
Mike Lawrence's "Wayward genius".

the first three are of course insider stories - but very well balanced i think..

The biggest compliment i have ever been paid in racing, some years ago when the Bentley's were being 'homolgated' by the ACO, out came the tape measure and the door opening was checked.. 'but zis is smaller zan ze regulation...".. Elleray offers up door, "Measure that, it says DOOR, not DOOR OPENING in the regs"... immediately, from just behind me, comes a familiar, ex Team voice "Thats exactly what the old man would have said!". Felt about 10 feet tall. ACO retreated in confusion.

Peter

I'm hoping that someone from Bentley will Gush forth with all the stories in print at some point. ;)
2003: I'll never forget the atmosphere for the final two hours in the stand directly opposite the Bentley pit (where I'd hung out earlier in the race, all pretty calm and confident but very attentive). Absolutely electric; comparable only to being track centre when Chris Boardman took the hour record at the Manchester Velodrome, that time I really thought that I was going to die. Who says that a photographer's life is easy? :rotfl:
The atmosphere in the Bentley campsite next morning was not bad either, Champagne really does cure a hang-over, especially when someone else has paid for it. :smoking:

#49 PeterElleray

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 22:32

Originally posted by elansprint72

I'm hoping that someone from Bentley will Gush forth with all the stories in print at some point. ;)
2003: I'll never forget the atmosphere for the final two hours in the stand directly opposite the Bentley pit . Absolutely electric;


unfortunately more electric than car no.8, which spent the last 2 hours gradually loosing all ability to charge its battery, ecu, gearshift, etc etc. very close run thing for 2nd place... new thread?

peter

#50 PeterElleray

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 00:19

Originally posted by Gary C
'immediately, from just behind me, comes a familiar, ex Team voice "Thats exactly what the old man would have said!". Felt about 10 feet tall.'
Bob Dance, perhaps?


got it in one Gary. so you can see why it was such a compliment!