Track Down the Lotus Mark I in the Ultimate Lotus Treasure Hunt

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

I’m not really sure how you can lose a car, but apparently it happens all the time to everyone. Even to Lotus and the Chapman family. They’re on the hunt for a pretty famous Lotus—the first car that founder Colin Chapman built—and they need your help.

Chapman built the Lotus Mark I in 1948 in a little London garage that his then-girlfriend Hazel’s parents owned (they married later on). The car was constructed by hand and once it was finished in the spring, Chapman immediately took it racing.

Originally, it wasn’t painted, but later on it was painted in white and then repainted in red.


In 1950, Chapman sold the car for £135 and that was the last time anyone saw or heard about it. “The only thing now known about the new owner,” writes the press release, “was that they were based in the north of England.”

Many have searched for the Mark I over the years, but none have had luck. Lotus has tapped experts for leads before, but now it’s decided to expand the pool of help to a global level. Heading up the hunt is Chapman’s son, Clive.

“The Mark I is the holy grail of Lotus’ history,” he said. “It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car. To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement. We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to. It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.”


Calling all Jalopnik sleuths! Have you seen this Lotus? It’s time for a treasure hunt.