Lotus Eleven Register

Book Reviews

Colin Chapman - Wayward Genius

by Mike Lawrence


Published 2002 by Breedon Books Publishing Company Ltd., England     ISBN 1-85983-278-4

In this incisive biography of Chapman, Mike Lawrence explores the more sinister side of the Lotus story.  While other treatments of Chapman and Lotus hint at the crafty, occasionally devious methods used on the road to success, Lawrence digs deep -- beyond the PR myth -- to tell of matters that Chapman and Lotus would never have wanted known.  Consider that when the British court handed down a prison sentence to Fred Bushell, Chapman’s financial right-hand-man, it stated that had Chapman been alive he would have gone to jail too. With this book we learn why.

For the reader wishing to understand more of the background of the Lotus Eleven, there is a great deal of insight into that period.  The role of volunteers is explored: Chapman's charisma in drawing unpaid but talented people to do the hard work for nothing more than the excitement of it. But even after myths and deceptions are stripped away, the story of Lotus is still an amazing one, and Lotus was still Chapman.

Mike Lawrence writes with the skill and deft touch of a Shakespearean scholar, which he is. But there is a tendency here to dwell on the negative, and at times one may feel hammered by it.  That being said, many anecdotes and details will have the reader shaking his head at the audacity of what was done.

This book can be highly recommended, but it should not be the first account one reads on Chapman or on Lotus.  The revelations of this book are only fully appreciated after first knowing the way the story was supposed to be heard.

-- Jay Sloane


Rescue & Restoration