We rebuild a replica Lotus 49 for Bell and Colvill's Surrey showroom
The Games Room Company is well known for restoring all kinds of arcade machines, many of which are effectively 'one offs', but this rebuild of a vintage ride-on toy came with one or two interesting client requests that presented fresh challenges, even for our experienced team.
The car itself is a replica of a Lotus 49, which became the most iconic Formula One racing car of the Sixties thanks to the skill of legendary drivers such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill. Only twelve were ever built, and its revolutionary chassis design paved the way for today's F1 cars, which are still constructed in much the same way.
Our customer was the renowned Lotus dealership Bell and Colvill, who wanted the car to entertain toddlers in their showroom whilst their parents checked out the more contemporary models on offer. With 'authenticity' as the watchword, Bell and Colvill asked us to source the sound track of the original Lotus 49, which was noted for the roar of its 400BHP V8 engine. This would prove tricky enough, but it didn't stop there! They wanted us to re-create the sound of the car doing a lap of the Monaco circuit, with all the corresponding acceleration and braking points. And one more thing - there was to be no racing commentary or other distractions.
Impossible? Well at first we were indeed unsure whether this project would make it out of the pits, but after a great deal of research and a few false starts we managed to get into the race, eventually finding the soundtrack we needed and editing it to the point where we had the perfect Monaco lap.
We transferred the resulting MP3 to a micro SD card and an audio specialist supplied the magic box that would not only activate the sound system when the ride started, but also loop it as and when required ad infinitum. After overhauling the electrics and the machinery that creates the rocking action, our team passed the car on to another department for a cosmetic makeover, which included respraying it in the classic Lotus green and applying all the relevant decals.
We'd be the first to admit that no speed records were broken in the course of this complicated project, but we like to think that we crossed the finishing line in style, duly delivering the car to Bell and Colvill who will be featuring it prominently on their stand at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.