Cat on skates

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Used by the Lotus development team as their mascot. Unashamedly commandeered and improved by

The story as relayed by Clive Roberts (28th May 2019):

We'd been set up as a distinct team in a separate building, with security locks on the doors. That caused a "them and us" reaction in some areas so I suggested a project logo as a way to promote internal spirit.

Ian [Doble] was all for it so I went over to the Technical Illustration section. This was in the pre-CAD days when all illustrations for assembly, service etc were done by some very skilled people reporting to Gerry Doe. I had a chat with the section leader, a very helpful chap called Ron (surname maybe Robinson?). I explained I was looking for something to convey the qualities we wanted in the car - speed, agility, not aggressive or intimidating. In other words not the stereotypical muscular lion, tiger etc. The cat was an obvious counterpoint but I couldn't see we could make something credible from a household mouser . As we were talking he sketched up a cat with the perfect stance, conveying exactly what I was looking for. The roller skates were the master stroke, of course, I'm pretty sure they were Ron's idea, or maybe one of his colleagues he called over to join us. I think his name was Mark (maybe another Roberts?).

We had a pretty good direction in under an hour, I left them to do the details. I was stunned when he produced the finished version the next morning, coloured and ready to go. Comical too compare with the time and money Google is reputed to have spent making a minute revision to their font. I got Ian's agreement and ordered the badges, I think from the company who made Caterham bonnet badges.

We had to use some creative description on the PO and invoice, I think Chris Garratt must have been in on that because she was one of the first outside the project to receive one for services rendered. They turned out to be excellent currency, we could get stuff made, repaired or painted in exchange for a cat badge. I controlled the supply as closely as possible, with the box locked in my top desk drawer.

One day I was working on something when a large hand appeared in my field of vision, palm up. At the other end of a very long arm was MJK. No words were exchanged, I opened the box and handed over a badge.

We also had stickers, and Mark Berry's wife got very enthusiastic and knitted sweaters to order. My kids, then about 5 and 7, had one each. I have a picture of them proudly wearing them on the Lotus stand at the Motor Show. They (the sweaters, not the kids) are in a storage box somewhere, could be Norfolk or Detroit.

The Corvette team made a great cartoon of a Corvette with huge teeth looming over a terrified cat, I think Ian probably had a copy.

I didn't know about the Castle Combe event. I would have loved to be there but sadly not possible.

I would have enjoyed your presentation, would still be interested to hear the "J*** K****" piece. It reminded me of a time Ian Doble gave a talk shortly after the M100 launch - I think to the I MechE somewhere in Essex. Around twenty of us went down to give him moral support. At one point he was answering a question about company rules for driving on public roads, and he said "I don't pay speeding fines". All round the room was a chorus of "Oh yes you do"!

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