Hazel Chapman, Co-Founder Of Lotus Cars, Dies Age 94 – Jalopnik

Hazel Chapman signed off the 100,000th Lotus car in 2018

Photo: Lotus Cars

Former British racing driver, businesswoman and co-founder of Lotus Cars, Hazel Chapman, died earlier this week at the age of 94.

Born Hazel Williams in north London on May 21, 1927, she was instrumental in the founding of Lotus cars, and raced the company’s early models.

After growing up in the British capital, Hazel met Colin Chapman at a dance when she was 16. According to Lotus, the pair soon began their relationship and simultaneously started working on their first car together.

The car that would become the first ever Lotus, the Mark 1, was constructed by the pair in Hazel’s parents’ garage in Hornsey, London.

When Colin was briefly commissioned into the Royal Air Force (RAF), Hazel continued working on the Mark 1 without him. The car was a trials special car based on 1930 Austin 7 chassis.

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After the Mark 1, Hazel also worked on the Mark 2 while Colin was still with the RAF.

Hazel and Colin Chapman were married in 1954

Photo: Lotus Cars

As the duo developed their cars, both Hazel and Colin entered a number of races to showcase their creations. Both were successful, which brought about new commissions for their automotive services.

As the company grew, Hazel was key to the creation of the original Lotus business.

The company was formed 1 January 1952 in Crouch End, London. It then became a limited company later that year thanks to a £25 ($33) payment from Hazel.

A few years after the business got …….


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