The original Lotus badge 1953-1963
The earliest Lotus badges were painted onto the cars, starting with the Mark Two (the car called the Mark One was never called a Lotus at the time). When production of the Mark Six was established and development of the Mark Eight was underway Colin Chapman had a batch of "proper" badges made, and the Mark 3B ONK 408 was the first car to be fitted with one. The badge above is from that first batch made in late 1953 or early 1954. It was retrofitted to Mark Six, chassis number 11, which was built in July 1953.
The oldest badges were not vitreous enamelled (porcelain in the USA) as most badges are, but used a much softer material, more like paint. When an early badge is damaged the colour will peel off (as can be seen above), whereas enamel will crack and chip in a brittle way. A later variation, found on some Elites and Sevens has an enamelled finish.
Other distinguishing features from the 1960s production are that the letters are narrower and slightly shorter, the T is 6.5mm high with stroke width ~1.2mm, and the letters are raised above the colour. Also the side profile is flatter than later badges, but this needs a trained eye to see.
On the back of the badge the very earliest have 3.5mm diameter mounting pins, but later ones are 4.5mm diameter.
This page was last updated 2005 May 16