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“Lotus Retrovirus”

In 1992, one day before it was announced that the the M100 Elan would be discontinued, I bought one. The choice was between red, silver, and white. I chose white. The decision to buy the Lotus was simple. The last generation RX–7 had just come out and I had decided to buy one, but a last minute bit of indecision had me perusing the DuPont Registry. I wanted a neat little two–seater and the Elan was listed at bargain prices. Hmmm, two seats, exotic, cheaper than the Mazda, and a convertable to boot. Mister, you got a deal.

It started innocently enough. Just a cool car to get the chicks. Then came the books. First Hughes’ Lotus Elan, just wanted to know more about my car. Then Crombac’s Colin Chapman, The Man and His Cars – history is everything. Pritchard’s Lotus: All the Cars sealed my fate. I had to have more. Over the years I’ve accumulated several more Lotus, with more on the way. Instead of a dream house I am planning a dream garage. Lotus has become a way of life, a passion. The longest relationship I’ve managed to cultivate.

I thought that was when it started. My fascination and obsession with Lotus that is. But somewhere in the nether regions of my cerebral cortex where memories are stored for safe keeping, lay a distinct recollection of ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I remember sitting in front of the television on Sunday afternoon excitedly waiting for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I was in Elementary school at the time, maybe 10 yrs old, but the images are burned into my grey matter. I recall watching the Black and Gold John Player Special sponsored cars decimate the field. I remember cheering them on. I remember thinking that they were the absolutely most elegant machines ever made.

The moment I mutated from Lotus owner to Lotus fanatic is uncertain. What is certain is that the purchase of the Elan was the stimulus that allowed the virus, dormant for so many years, to reactivate.

Do you remember when you became infected?

Kyle Kaulback