Catching the Lotus Bug
December the 16th. The day that everyone in South Africa simultaneously goes on holiday and what better way to kick it off by spending it with the Lotus Club of South Africa? Well I couldn’t think of one and so early Friday morning saw two of us pitching up at a lonely petrol station along the N14 eagerly anticipating of morning of Lotus fun.
Now I should just state at this point that the Lotus Club had no idea I was attending, as the friend I went with was there as he is investigating purchasing a Lotus and they had encouraged him to come along, however as I’ve always been intrigued with car clubs and what it is like to be a member, this was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and by attending anonymously it would ensure a fair representation of the club without anyone trying to impress unnecessarily.
So I literally had no idea what to expect from the adventure, but had high hopes, as let’s face it, Lotus make some of the most interesting and fun cars out there and with almost all petrol heads I’ve met across the many spheres of the motoring world being incredibly friendly, it should be a great combination. Predictably my assumptions were well founded and we were welcomed to the club with open arms, despite having arrived in what was quickly dubbed my “Japanese Lotus”.
Soon after a round of friendly introductions we headed out for the morning’s drive cruising through the Magaliesburg area. With wind in your hair, beautiful sunshine filling the cabin and the sublime sight of a convoy of Lotus’s filling the windscreen; it was a brilliant start to the day. Now one of the assumptions many people have of any motoring enthusiast is that they are a complete hooligan who is not happy unless they’re power sliding round every corner and constantly re-enacting the final chase scene from The Italian Job. Now while I cannot deny those people exist, most of us are in it for the pure driving delight our vehicles provide in a safe and sensible manner and the people of the Lotus Club embody this to the tee. It was abundantly clear that absolutely everyone was having the time of their lives, huge smiles plastered across faces each time the right footed was flexed or sweeping bends traversed.
Then something completely unexpected happened. Turns out they’re not only a bunch of really nice people, but are also incredibly generous too as our first stop ended up being Girls & Boys Town, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping children from impoverished and abusive backgrounds grow into fully functioning members of society. This year the Lotus Club had chosen to donate, what amounted to in my opinion a rather substantial amount of money to this worthy organisation from their clubs fine pool. This unexpected act of generosity gave us a chance to pull over in an incredibly picturesque area for photos and the perfect excuse to talk Lotus cars and what with there being such a huge variety on offer, everything from a charming 1960’s Lotus Elan to current day supercharged Elise’s, there was much to admire and learn.
Soon however the convoy was off again as with it being mid-morning by this stage, everyone was getting rather peckish. Our final destination was at the end of a long winding road, leading further out into the country side, which gave me plenty of time to contemplate on the whole experience. I guess the big question is this, is it fun?
The answer? A definitive yes. To be honest if you own a lotus and are not part of the Lotus Club of South Africa I’m at a bit of a loss as the people are friendly, driving with a group of passionate Lotus fans is a hoot and as for the cars, well put it this way, trying to find a boring Lotus is like trying to find a boring Italian chef, not likely.
Now if someone would just sponsor me the money for a Caterham R500…