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Special Lotus car still in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:38 02 July 2010

Rebecca Gough

Lotus is an iconic brand with status, speed and innovative design, but a recent discovery of one its historic cars has more than the usual trademarks.

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Lotus is a brand iconic with status, speed and innovative design, but a recent discovery of one its historic cars has more than the usual trademarks.

Most Lotus drivers will relay tales of company founder Colin Chapman driving their car, but few can boast that it was once owned by the legendary motoring man.

This Lotus Elite , which sat dormant for more than 20 years in a dusty garage, was just one of six of its type made on the Norfolk production line in Hethel in 1979, and was selected especially by Mr Chapman for his personal use.

It has remained in impeccable condition ever since and its ownership, verified by official Lotus archives who matched the chasse and engine number, pieces together a formerly lost history.

The car's DVLA papers record six previous owners, all in Norfolk, but it was not until 1987 that it was bought by its current owner, David Ward, of Thetford.

Sold by him to a friend in 1989 it was not driven again until re-bought by Mr Ward in November last year, after insistence from his now grown up children.

“In the 1980s everyone said their Lotus belonged to Colin Chapman and you didn't take any notice of it,” said Mr Ward, an assistant manager of Plastic Building Supplies on Burrell Way in Thetford.

“I told my friend the same story but nobody ever did anything about it. When I got it back I took it to the garage and knowing it would be there for a while I rang Lotus. You had to pick me up off the floor when I heard back from them; I was stunned for days.”

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