The black & silver badge 1968-1970 & 1974-1983
This is the badge about which there is much confusion, but the real story turns out to be pretty simple. It was adopted in the middle of 1968 following the deaths of Jim Clark and Mike Spence, and was fitted to all cars until the middle of 1970 when Lotus reverted to the traditional green & yellow version. In 1974 it was adopted again, probably at the introduction of the Elite (Type 75), and used for most production until the black & gold badge arrived in 1983.
The lettering and use of enamel flush with the lettering are identical to the classic green & yellow.
As far as I know there are no contemporary factory records of the badges fitted, but there is photographic record in the form of the road-tests published by the magazines at the time.
By the period of interest Lotus had given up their old practice of re-using registration numbers on different cars, and thanks to the UK's date-related numbers it is easy to follow the individual cars supplied to the magazines and see that they were replaced frequently, none being used for more than a year. Every car that appears in more than one test always had the same colour badge, probably indicating that they represented the production standard at the time, and that Lotus did not bother to change the badge even if production had switched.
Cars supplied by the importers in the USA and Australia are much harder to follow, and may well have been modified by the importer, or even have been lying in stock for some time, so they have been ignored unless the test was performed in the UK.
Of 159 road tests from 1963 to 1983 the colour of the badge is discernible in 126, of which 59 are black and 67 yellow.
From 1962 to 1967 all the badges are yellow.
The first black badge appears in April 1968, on a car with non-production black paint, which also sported chrome bumpers -- the only ones ever fitted to an Elan. So the assumption is that the badge was specially made for this one-off car.
The next appearance of a black badge is on a Europa S2 in September 1968. The car appears to be a standard production one. The badges then continue to be black on UK cars, with just one exception, until April 1970.
Yellow reappears in the magazine tests in April 1971 and stays consistent until March 1974. This leaves a gap in the record, but a Europa with March 1970 build date was delivered new with a yellow badge to the owner who still has it in 2005, so the return to yellow is quite probably that early.
Then from May 1974 until January 1983 (the last test in this survey), black is always used.
This badge is still available new under part number C036B0269F.
This page was last updated 2005 May 16