Lotus Once Took to the High Seas With a Line of Boats
Lotus has a big reputation in the automotive world, but did you know they once built some very fancy boats? This was back in the 1970s when Colin Chapman funded Moonraker Marine to build boats using the knowledge gleaned from developing Formula 1 racers and sports cars. Chapman was an engineer, and saw the potential for using fiberglass in boats instead of wood, which was the material of choice at the time. Fiberglass is lightweight, strong, and easy to form into the large shapes needed to build hulls. He set up shop in Hethel, the same place where Lotus cars are made, and got to work. RELATED: See The Beautiful 2005 Lotus Elise
The line of boats, including the Maurader which, debuted in 1973, netted 36 orders at its first show. Behind-the-scenes, there was some funny stuff happening with the money. It kept tax authorities ever on their tails and provided plenty of drama for the public. They gave away a boat called the Streaker as a prize in a martini competition to get some press at the 1974 London boat show, which was ruined by a bomb.
According to Motorpunk, the range of boats included the Mistral, Mamba, Mirage, Mystere, and Mangusta, all of which boasted fabulously tacky 1970s interiors. The boats featured semi-flexible hulls that both reduced weight and minimized the affects of waves splashing against the boat, which made them unique for their time. Sadly, the company went into liquidation in 1980 after producing just 500 boats. They're now a part of history, along with giant bow ties and hideous ruffled tuxedo shirts.
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