Clive Chapman, son of famed Lotus founder Colin Chapman and the guiding light at Classic Team Lotus, revealed an interesting little bit of Lotus trivia recently. Apparently, tucked away in some dusty corner of their Hethel shops was a fireproof case that contained 28 rolls of old microfilm. When they went through to digitize the microfilm, they discovered drawings for a number of Lotus projects, many of which never saw the light of day. One of these projects was a set of sketches, made in September of 1979 by then designer Geoff Ferris, for a “Type 66” Lotus Can-Am car. So intrigued by the discovery was Chapman that he enlisted some help from Lotus Cars to have the drawings rendered into a 3-D image of what the previously unknown Can-Am contender would have looked like, yielding an image that is both reminiscent of the McLaren M8F, with its slab-sides and integrated rear wing, and yet very Lotus with a unique pseudo-single-seat driver cockpit, offset by a hole in the deck for the “passenger seat.” An interesting look into an alternate Can-Am universe that might have been.
This Lotus discovery is just one of a number of stillborn Can-Am contenders that, had circumstances tipped in a slightly different direction, might have dramatically changed the direction of the series…and perhaps racing in general.
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