Lotus Eclair - Too Fat To Race
Most Lotus enthusiasts are aware that the 1970's Elite
took its name from the original Elite of the late 1950's, but not many realise that the Eclat derives it's name from a much earlier model - the Lotus Eclair.
The exact origin of this tasteful little sports racer is
unknown. Thought to originate from the Betty Crocker design school, several rather advanced features were included: The yeast-west mounted engine, rack and rolling-pin steering and coil-over choc absorbers made the Eclair a very popular little number in its day.
The road version of the car had a beautifully flexible
little ohc (over-head cream) 600 mil engine developing a whopping 215 calories, while the works race version had double overhead cream and an even greater 250 calories (one problem being that it tended to run a bit rich.)
One particularly notable example was quite successfully
raced by the great Gordon Bleu. He put alcohol in the mixture for an even more potent result, but it also made the vehicle less predictable. (A large squirt away from the line and the wee Lotus simply did donuts.) Bleu's first attempt at racing was abysmal - well into the race he overcooked it and had a massive melt-down. He was lucky to escape with only burnt fingers.
The second time out, however, things began to go right.
It was the Meal Miglia and weather conditions were not favourable (the Lotus may have been superb in the dry, but in the rain it handled like a wet sponge), but in spite of severe icing Bleu fought on and successfully creamed the opposition.
Unfortunately from there it was all down-hill. Gordon
desserted Team Lotus and claimed he could privately eat anything that would care to take him on. This he did, and was several times disqualified for breaking weight restrictions.
With the demise of Gordon Bleu's racing career the little
Eclair, sadly, was doomed and the model that we photographed is thought to be the only one left. (The rest having decayed or been eaten away.) Restoration is not really a practical proposition, so the only hope is that another well preserved specimen may surface.
Until then we are very grateful that we were able to get
a taste of such a car, magnificent with its cream stripe and real chocolate upholstery.
Technical Data: Make: Lotus Price: $3.95 Model: Eclair Engine: SOHC 600 mil Body type: Choux Monocoque Output: 215 calories Steering: Rack & Rolling Pin Suspension: Gas Shocks at rear (caused by too much alcohol) Max Speed: Over 200 mph (Air New Zealand in flight catering) Standing 1/4: 1 min 15 secs (with fruit & causing indigestion) Sitting 1/4: 2 min 45 secs (Ahh - much more comfortable, thanks) 0-60 mph: 6.7 secs (Balanced on lap whilst driving a Europa)
Donated by Phil Quagg for the library of: The Banana Republic BBS & El Presidente (Sysop)… Thanks Phil! —————————————————————————–