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Reimagining an icon

1 year ago

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Julian Thomson | Designer


14 June 2023

Every good car designer has at least one really great design in them; if they’re really lucky there might be a couple. So please forgive them if they keep sketching the same thing or, much worse, if subsequent work fails to hold a candle to past glories.

My greatest moment as a designer so far was probably the Lotus Elise, a car created with friends. At the time it was the ideal machine for that period of my life: I was still excitable, had no kids and, more to the point, my joints were still flexible.

Twenty five years on, the car has an amazing legacy and fan base. I still am regularly accosted by Elise fans wearing tatty merchandise showing its age, not only because it’s old but because they wear it every day. And of course I have one in the garage, which after a good yoga session I still enjoy. But even as I do, I am always, always, thinking: what would I do differently if I had another go?

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