On the day of the Doris storm on 23rd February, social secretary James Eringa organised a trip to the Lotus factory in Hethel, Norfolk for 26 members and friends of the Chafford Hundred Club based in Shenfield, Essex.
We travelled with Lodge Coaches of Chelmsford, and on the way we enjoyed coffee at the Bull Hotel in Barton Mills village and then an excellent three-course lunch at the Bird in Hand in Wreningham. After lunch, it was a short distance to the Lotus factory which is built on a disused US airfield. It has a two-mile purpose built race track for testing cars and interestingly the circuit is also used by the police force for training purposes. Here, the group split with some ladies departing for Norwich for a shopping trip whilst the rest of us listened to an introductory talk about Lotus cars. The first impression was how spotlessly clean the factory was and how easily the assembly of parts took place.
The tour started in the area where the gear boxes are constructed and added to the engines. We saw how various parts are assembled and how meticulously the bodywork is smoothed to perfection before any spraying commences. Each car is made to order and the attention to detail was amazing, producing finished vehicles for very proud owners. We saw a whole new world and it is certainly a trip worth arranging – tours take place on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Leaving for home was an adventure, to say the least, with Doris in full force. The M11 was closed but fortunately we had an excellent driver who coped with the storm well and got us home safely through the minor roads of Essex