My life in 12 cars: Lotus boss Matt Windle Car News

“That car was shit,” he says emotionally. “Pieces kept falling out. I went through two sets of brake discs the first year. He was fast and sometimes I liked to drive him. The engine was magnificent. But I got to know my dealer too well, and they didn’t help me much. It taught me that, however desirable cars are, they still need quality and reliability. After a few years I took the biggest hit of my life and sold it for eight thousand dollars…”

Windle progressed rapidly at Lotus. Working with Rackham and his skilled bandmates was the perfect way to develop engineering skills. He liked dealing directly with the customer, Aston Martin (“they seemed to like my presence”), which led to more customer-facing roles and a more direct practice of management skills, which he appreciated .

Then, in 2005, then aged 34, he moved to Tesla, whose only product at the time was the Elise-based Tesla Roadster.

Tesla Roadster

“At first, changing jobs was just walking down the hall,” he says, “but soon my boss moved to the States, and I was pretty much in charge of what we were doing in Norfolk. Then I “Moved to the States. Those were great years. We needed to adapt – basically reinforce – the Lotus Elise chassis to carry the battery and extend the body to get the car into production for 2008, and we did that.

Meanwhile, Windle spent time with Tesla boss Elon Musk: “He was extremely smart, but if you delivered, you had no problem with him. SpaceX was also underway at the time, so he was incredibly busy, but in meetings you always felt you had his full attention. He taught me that it’s okay to make a quick decision if it makes more sense than a deadline.

Windle loved his experience in Silicon Valley, the “surf in the morning, stay out till midnight” work life thing. The Roadster was launched in 2008 as a breakthrough product, but only 2500 examples were built in three years.

“We would have built more,” says Windle, “but Lotus had its own big plans.” It’s his way of referencing the now infamous era of Dany Bahar, when five concept cars were unveiled in one day at a memorable Paris motor show.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-02 05:01:24

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