Introduction to the HLR
In October 1974, following correspondence between Chris Draper in Germany and Victor Thomas in England, it was decided to form a Register to involve others with similar early Lotus cars. So Vic created an application form for the Lotus Historic Register. By December 1974 there were five members. Early in 1975 Bill Friend joined as member No. 6 and suggested the name be HISTORIC LOTUS REGISTER.
Newsletter No. 1 was sent out in April 1975 and No. 2 in July 1975. Bill Friend had designed the HLR badge and the membership had risen to 40. An inaugural meeting was organised by Bill Friend and Alan Hall at Bill's farm near Hatfield, north of London on Sunday 28th September 1975. This was well attended, with cars ranging from a 1954 Mk VIII to Bill's Type 76 Formula 1 car. The second meeting took place at the Prescott Hill Climb in June 1976 and Eric Perrin attended as the first overseas member. Contact was made with the Lotus Eleven Register in the USA, founded independently by Russ Hoenig in 1973, and an exchange of ownership records, early drawings and other information took place.
Since those early days, the Historic Lotus Register has grown into a highly specialised information bureau. For many years only the front-engined cars were included up to the Type 17, but more recently this has been expanded to include most of the models up to and including the Type 30 and 40, plus the Type 31, 41, 51 and 61 cars. Effective in 2017 the Type 14 Elite was added through a merger with Club Elite.
The Historic Lotus Register operates through a series of Registrars, each of whom accumulates and records information on the early history and subsequent details of their particular model or models of Lotus. Apart from accumulating data on these early and historic Lotus cars, the Historic Lotus Register forms a central information point for technical details concerning them, and the availability of parts; plus details of specialist manufacturers who can supply replacement parts and services.
HLR regularly participates in major historic motoring events and is invited to exhibit each year at the Club Lotus Weekend at Donington and at several others. Racing members compete at these meetings and other Lotus owners' cars are displayed. Both have the opportunity to air their cars during occasional circuit test days.
The Newsletter has grown into a magazine HISTORIC LOTUS which is published four times each year to subscribing members.
Of some 1000 cars that the Historic Lotus Register lists, it is interesting that around 70 per cent still exist and more are constantly emerging. In 1999 HLR became affiliated to the Motor Sports Association in the UK.
The Historic Lotus Register is not limited to its present range, and it is intended that expansion into additional models should take place, but this can only happen when a suitable Registrar volunteers to register information on the model concerned, and contribute to the overall operation of HLR.