More than a passion…

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The story of my private museum, dedicated to Lotus automobiles, starts 53 years ago, when my hero was a gentleman called Jim Clark. My father, faced with my enduring obsession after a wonderful Formula 1 season in 1967, had promised me that we would visit the next Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps to see my favorite driver! Awesome… my favorite’s third-place finish in the 1967 Formula 1 World Championship seemed to promise a superb season in 1968. I was on cloud nine and the month of June wasn’t far off and I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would get to shake the hand of the Flying Scotsman, Jim Clark! However, over the course of a horrible weekend in April (April 7th, 1968) I heard the dreadful news over the radio of my father’s Citroën DS! I couldn’t hold back my tears: Jim was gone, probably the victim of a treacherous mechanical breakdown on one of the great curves of the Hockenheim circuit. It was the fateful weekend of April 7th and, like thousands of other fans, I would go to the Hockenheim Circuit with my father to pay tribute to my hero, Jim Clark. Among the mournful atmosphere that reigned in the Lotus team, I discovered the elegant style of Graham Hill, who had become the team’s lead racing driver, who signed my first autograph that is displayed, with great respect, in my Little Lotus Museum. The Lotus team colors, yellow and gold, and for the period of mourning, red and white in the colors of the Gold Leaf Team Lotus, would become an integral part of my life as a “Lotus enthusiast.” Soon, nothing that the English team said or did would escape the attention of Marc Hogenkamp: Colin Chapman and Graham, Jacky, Jochen, Emerson, Ronnie, Mario, Elio, Reine, Ayrton, Ickx and many others would, in a certain sense, become my new friends!

At this time, I had already started on my future “Little Lotus Museum” that was made up of miniature Dinky toys and model cars by Corgi and Solido, while I followed the books, signatures, helmets, rare items, and discussions between wonderful people such as Pascal Klein (who created the first website dedicated to our hero Jim Clark, www.jim-clark.fr), Gilles Gaignaut who is known by everyone in the motorsport world, Philippe Adams (a former Lotus driver and a Belgian like me), Reine Wissel (a Swede who drove for Lotus during the Gold Leaf Team Lotus era and later in the JPS colors), Paul Chenard (a great Canadian artist whom I adore and whose work is represented in my museum), Nicolas Canclier (a Belgian artist who is both wonderful and incredible), Michel Verrando (who can be seen in the Classic Team Lotus store), Xavier Audiau (from the magazine, AUTO RETRO, who is another true fan), Luc and Jim de Cock (Belgian Lotus drivers), Philippe Marbaise (a friend who has always been alongside me as I’ve followed my dreams with Lotus, and thanks to whom I attended the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix on the Nivelles Circuit in the Lotus stand alongside Fittipaldi, Walker, Colin Chapman and Peter Warr), Luc Ghys (another enthusiast who has gifted me authentic 1970s-era parts from Team Lotus). There is also a collection of slides, some of which were taken by me and others by specialists like Camara or Stéphane Dufrene, mdqmodelcar on eBay, who encouraged me to enlarge my museum on the ground floor of our stone farmhouse (Volants Gourmands [(Gourmets Behind the Wheel] in the Luberon) to welcome all historic and luxury vehicle enthusiasts, giving them the option to order from our catering service with dinner and cocktails, or brunch, or a cold or mixed buffet.

Enthusiasts’ guide.

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