NYLOC’s roots go back to 1998 when Alan Allison and a few other Club Lotus members got together and formed the club. Alan wrote this piece in 2005 on how we started which has been published in a number of place. Here’s the history from 1998 to 2005…

It was suggested a while ago that we should have a brief history of North Yorkshire Lotus Owners Club for the benefit of new and prospective members, so I’ve finally managed to throw something together. I’ve given a few name checks from memory, but please don’t be offended if you’re not mentioned – every member is an important part of NYLOC!

First a bit of background information.

After owning an S4 Elan and Elan +2 in the seventies, we waved goodbye to Lotus motoring for several years due to kids and mortgages (unlike some younger NYLOC members who have recently had kids and kept their Lotuses!).

During a conversation with a client in 1996, my Lotus fetish came to light and lo and behold, sat in the garage of a house he rented out was an Elan +2, ripe for restoration. So I bought it (obviously) and proceeded to throw large amounts of money at it to restore it. It was almost roadworthy when a 1970 S4 Elan came into the picture, which proved irresistible. So the +2 got moved on without us getting the pleasure of driving it, but it had served a purpose in getting us back into the Lotus world.

At this time, we met John and Elaine Warner of Wetherby Classic Car Club, who had a very nice Elan Sprint drophead. We had also met a couple of other Lotus owners around the local area, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a local Club Lotus meeting as there didn’t appear to be anything going on in the immediate area.

So our inaugural meeting was held at The Chequers, Bilton-in-Ainsty on 24 February 1998, attended by:-

Teresa and I : Elan S4 dhc (now M100 Elan S2)
John and Elaine : Elan Sprint dhc (now bikers)
Graham and Liz : Elan Sprint dhc (still members but now S1 Elise)
John and Jackie : Excel (still members, same car)

Subsequently, we met further Lotus owners at shows and motoring events and Steve Winteridge came over as West Yorkshire Club Lotus representative. At this time we were all in Club Lotus, but as new members arrived some wanted us to be an independent club, so NYLOC was born. Obviously a number of us are still members of Club Lotus, Lotus Drivers Club or other specialist Lotus clubs.

Although we had no resources or desire to actively market the Club, numbers continued to grow. Brian and Liz came onboard via an advert I’d placed in the Club Lotus magazine for some parts and have looked after several of us superbly at their place in France on numerous occasions. Dave and Annabel were commandeered in Tadcaster soon after buying their M100 Elan. Dave Croft and John Ellison arrived via Club Lotus and Lotus Drivers Club respectively.

With fortunate timing, the Elise had been launched prior to our formation and we were honoured to have Howard and Bernadette as our first Elise-owning members. They still have the car and it still looks good as new! In between time, Howard has bought, restored and sold a very nice Twin Cam Escort. Keeping the Lotus connection in the family, elder son Graham has recently bought a Proton Satria GTI (handling by Lotus, if you didn’t know).

In June 2000, we made our first Club foray into Europe for the Le Mans 24-hour race with 3 M100 Elans, an S1 Elise and classic Elan in our group. It was thanks to seeing Europa Dave there in his NYLOC shirt that Geoff Cole found out about us and since then he has been an enthusiastic helper, involved in organising numerous events.

We were now attending shows and events in increasing numbers and organising our own runs. The Flamborough ice cream BBQ run and Whykam clay pigeon shoot have become annual events thanks to David, and Martyn and Caroline respectively. We also organised karting events and ran our own trackday at Croft.

Around this time, Lotus activity was growing via various internet groups and we met Paul and Fiona, Moggy and friends on one of their northern runs and from there they became regular members and contributors. Paul and Fiona organise our annual overnighter at Nent Hall in Cumbria, which has become a favourite Club event.

Michael and Shirley and further members joined us after purchasing their cars from JCT and it wasn’t long before they were organising karting events for the Club and helping out generally. Chris Foulds of Foulds Motors, Huddersfield, kindly took on the sponsorship of our newsletter and pointed more Lotus owners in our direction. As an addition to our road-runs, Andrew and Diane organised some autotests at a number of events.

We were now finding that many members were travelling considerable distances to our monthly meetings, so to give them a chance for a Lotus fix nearer to home we started holding in-between meetings at pubs North, South, East and West of York. These have been very successful, not least in finding some nice new food venues!

By June 2002, we were outgrowing The Chequers Pub and car park and relocated to The Buckles Inn, between York and Tadcaster, which is still our monthly venue. With members travelling to meetings from the North East, Lincolnshire, Hull, South Yorkshire and Lancashire, it is as central for all as possible, with function room and large car park being key requirements.

Some of us visited the first Classic Le Mans event later in 2002, followed by a trip to Zandvoort for the British Sports Car Weekend (much appreciated by Teresa as it was our 25th wedding anniversary).

In mid 2003, membership was around sixty (not including partners) and getting difficult to manage, so it was a great relief when Howard, Michael and Shirley stepped in to help with financial and administrative tasks. Up to now the newsletter had been posted out, with costs for this and raffle prizes just about being covered by subscriptions and raffle income. With increasing numbers and e-mailing out the newsletter we were able to get in front with finances, although it has never been our intention to be a profit-making organisation.

Around eighteen months ago, we finally arrived in the twenty-first century with our own website, www.nyloc.org, courtesy of Paul T, ably assisted by Matt R, Al Butch and friends. It is certainly a feather in Paul’s cap that I have received many comments about how well set out and easy to negotiate the website is (it’s just phpbb with a few mods – Ed). Certainly the increase in membership in recent months is mainly due to the forum.

In Autumn 2004, we held a charity raffle event, supporting arthritic children, with JCT kindly donating the star prize. Nick Adams, Lotus’s top technical development engineer made it a superb night with a talk on ‘federalising’ the S2 Elise and rounded it off with some in-car video of his racing Elan.

In June 2005, we took a convoy of 15 cars to the Le Mans 24 hours race, a special event this year to commemorate 50 years since Lotus’s first appearance there, and a great experience for all who went. As well as established events in 2005, we have organised factory trips courtesy of Geoff and Steve, members have worn their tyres out on numerous trackdays and several of us have attended various race meetings. New member, Russ races an Exige and we have been supporting his team at races this year and will be doing so in 2006.

With concerns about vulnerability of members in case of any insurance issues, we have recently become NYLOC LTD and grateful thanks are due to Michael and Howard for their help with this.

A new venture this year was organised by Dave Burns (DSB), supporting Martin House Children’s Hospice, when around 20 of us visited the Hospice and took children, staff and parents out for runs in our cars. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again in 2006.

With the accent on helping the above and arthritic children’s charities, we have had our own calendar printed this year and hopefully this will continue in future years. By the time all contributions are received, we will have raised around £1,000 for each charity. Major thanks for producing the calendar are due to Paul, Al Butch and Mark for all the time and effort they put into this.

In Autumn 2005 Geoff decided he fancied driving around on some new roads, so with Brian co-driving he shipped his Seven to America along with 40 other enthusiasts for a 4,000-mile road-run!

So, with a current paid-up membership of around 140 and website ‘membership’ of over 600, that just about brings us up-to-date. The Club is clearly fulfilling a need and it is great to see new friendships being formed and the very low number of non-renewals for membership means we must be doing something right! It’s also good to see many members clocking up several years ownership of their cars, even the younger members, so the Lotus marque clearly retains its magic for many of us.

Thanks again to anyone who has organised anything or contributed in any way for the enjoyment of the membership, and apologies for anything omitted.

Alan Allison