This is a photo of Lotus/East and Lotus Racing East taken around 1975. The main building is still standing (on Route 44) and currently houses a video store and a golf driving range. It is appropriately known as “The Lotus Building”.
By 1970 the Lotus Racing operation had outgrown its space and welcome at the original Dutchess Auto location at the corner of Main and Elm Streets in the heart of the Village of Millerton (intersection of Routes 22 & 44). It was getting crowded. Dutchess was a Chevy, Buick dealership and was being used to prepare the Lotus street cars for Lotus/East to distribute to their 13 eastern state territory as well as being utilized for race car preparation of customer cars and the Racing Elan of Peter Pulver, Newt Davis’ infamous Lotus 30/40 and Fred Stevenson’s Type 59B Formula B car.
Probably to assuage General Motors, and to make a wise real estate investment, Pete and Brother Bill Pulver (partners in Dutchess Auto) purchased the property that you see here that was a local trucking company garage, the owner of which, had jumped off the second floor mezzanine with a rope around his neck.
The racing operation was moved and operated alone here until around 1973 when the rest of the Lotus operation moved out to the suburbs (about a mile from Main & Elm). The truck garage (center with the LRE sign on the left upper corner) was augmented with a modular office structure to the front right. An addition was made later for the executive offices (forming the ‘L’ on the right). The steel 30’ x 60’ building to the rear left was added for storage and then a 30’ x 100’ structure was added to the right for painting and preparation. These structures were dismantled and sold in 1979 was Lotus East closed its doors. The area they occupied is now the hitting tees for the driving range.
Ironically, I send my golfing customers there to test various clubs that I custom-fit in my Lakeville Golf Technology business in nearby Lakeville, Conn., and I’ve been known to venture over there as well.
To the left is a huge field that has a few Lotus Elites awaiting shipment to dealers. This is a far cry from the huge numbers of Europas that came and went during the brisk and heady days that that Lotus provided.
The yellow truck parked to the left next to the building is the LRE Dunlop Racing Tire van that went to all the eastern races in a vain attempt to reestablish Dunlop as a prominent racing tire. This was a scheme that didn’t work due to the fact that England wouldn’t provide or produce racing compounds that didn’t expire in high ambient temperatures [“It really can’t get that hot, now can it Fred!”] (yet another story to be told).