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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

The Lotus Seven and a lightness of spirit

On October 28, 2017, David Ellis went out for one last drive in his 1969 Lotus Seven. It was late fall; the leaves crackled under the tires and whirled up in the slipstream. The sun shone down on the curves of the Sea-to-Sky highway just North of Vancouver, British Columbia. The light offered little in the way of heat, but sparkled off the water and off the chrome and paint of the tiny yellow car. The Ford crossflow engine purred away, faithful for once, an old horse knowing that today was too important a day to stumble. There and back again, one last time.

 

On November 2, surrounded by friends and family, David raised a last pint in a toast to a life well lived.

 

He died the next day ... Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/people/the-lotus-seven-and-a-lightness-of-spirit/

 

19 REPLIES 19
MeJ
Advanced Driver

I really enjoyed that. As someone who lives in the Vancouver area and has driven on the Sea to Sky many times I can tell you how beautiful it is. "Don't count the days, make the days count" might just be my new mantra. I love it!

Cheers David Ellis!

kmanfredo
New Driver

This is great

WRLotus
Detailer

Good article. It captures David well.

RIP, my friend.

Oldwrench
New Driver

Beautifully written for a life beautifully lived. Well done David, I'm sorry to have never met you, my loss.

Hotfrets
Passenger

What a superb and sensitive story about and around the ‘7’.

MajorTomB
Intermediate Driver

Last summer I had the opportunity to test drive a 2005 Elise and I drove my MG TD to the new acquaintance's house to do it.  The drive in the Elise was glorious.  And the post drive conversation was great, but long enough for summer storm clouds to gather.  Half way home, I got caught in a torrential summer downpour where the rain is warm, the wind buffet of the TD causes the rain to come horizontally  into the back of the windshield where there are no wipers.  And you just grin and laugh, and know that you will be ok when you reach your destination and that everything wet will dry out.  It had been about 15 years since I got caught in a summer storm, and it was the most fun I had had in a long time.  My new friend apologized the next day for keeping me so long, and I told him not to worry, both rides were great!  I read the article about David and his Seven and I saw a kindred spirit.  It's all about the drive, and as long as you get where you are going, the drive is never bad.  Sometimes, the drive doesn't even have a destination.  Godspeed David.

Antiqueblond
Passenger

The most eloquent and well written article that I have read in a long time, bravo. An inspirational story about an incredible man, and an exceptional car. Thank you. 
-Ian

Spindr
Passenger

Heartwarming story. Although I suspect this is a Caterham and not a Lotus Series 3. Have enjoyed my series 2 Lotus. 7 for 53 years. And my wife threatens to bury me in it.

WRLotus
Detailer

I'll jump in to clarify things as David was a friend and I am familiar with the car. It is in fact a Seven S3.
Fatcat32
Intermediate Driver

I believe that into most people's lives such an outstanding personality  will come. Someone like Art Bates, who was one of my best friends through the 1970's. The closest members of our little circle called him "Master Bates", which always drew a chuckle from him and anyone else within earshot. He drove a well modified Volkswagen Beetle, powered by a pro built Porsche 1600. I drove a highly modified Triumph Spitfire, and the two of us spent most of our days, and nights, blasting around the back streets and highways around the western Chicago suburbs. We competed in gymkhanas together. Spent nasty days inside our garages, working on each other's cars. Art was diabetic, and each day was a battle to maintain that equalibrium that would allow him to participate in the activities we loved. Eventually, he had to have both legs amputated. But that didn't slow him down any. He approached that ordeal with the same level of humor that he did with everything else. Art was fitted with prosthetic legs, which he discovered could be worn backwards. So one of his favorite stunts was to put them on backwards and walk backwards, as if the legs were going the right way and the rest of his body was turned around. (this was one of those "you had to be there" situations) His health continued to deteriorate until he was bedridden. We spent his final days reading Autoweek and Road and Track. He slipped away in his sleep. He never once expressed a word of bitterness at how things turned out.   

BrendanMc
Intermediate Driver

Art sounds like quite the character and a great friend.
Lee
Intermediate Driver

Ever since I saw the first Lotus 7 over 50 years ago, I've always wanted one.  But to have the chance to drive one on the Sea to Sky Highway in Vancouver, that would be at the top of my Bucket List.  I live in Ohio and have a girlfriend that lives in Lancaster, CA.  Last summer we flew to Seattle, spent a couple of day there, and in Vancouver before driving to Whistler.  It's hard to explain the grandeur of driving the Sea to Sky Highway... even if we were only driving a Dodge Charger.

 

After a few days in Whistler we decide to go on a tour to Squamish and take the almost 2000' Sea to Sky Gondola ride.  Unfortunately it was a misty/cloudy day and at 500' up the mountain we were in the clouds.  It was still a great experience walking the trails at the top and taking in the experience.

 

Then the next day we heard on the news that someone had cut the gondola cable around 4am that next morning and all the cars crashed to the ground.  Whew!

 

Post Script:  The cable and cars were replaced, only to have the cable cut again on September 14, 2020.

Montrose
Pit Crew

Such a touching and beautiful testament to a person who obviously enjoyed life as David Ellis did.  I never met the man, never heard of him, yet I knew him.

Zephyr
Instructor

The Seven was not just a milestone, it was in a class by itself, a world of its own. The very essence of automobile, distilled into a form so pure that nothing could be added or subtracted without making it a lesser creation. And so basic and simple that you could build it yourself from a kit. 

JimMacSween
Passenger

What a story!

Even though I drive my 1978 MGB (with a 1986 Ford Ranger V6) only a few miles/kilometres a year, it is an experience in driving totally exhilarating compared to the newest vehicles.

                 Jim MacSween

                 (403) 357-9225

MGVman
Pit Crew

This story strikes a poignant note with me personally. My older brother, also named David, had a yellow series 2 Super Seven which is now in the possession of a good friend in the UK. My brother was a stout Lotus fan and enthusiast who had taught me to drive as a teenager on both his Lotus's (the 7 and his ’66 Elan) as well as his many Mini's and Cooper "S's" that he owned. Back in the mid-'70's, e dismantled his 7 and Elan with the intent of restoring them, but unfortunately life, family and work got in the way and the cars sat for many years until he finally found the time in retirement to start back into working on them. Unfortunately, he also was struck by cancer and passed away in 2016 before the cars could be completed. I think of him often.

MGVman
Pit Crew

This story strikes a poignant note with me personally. My older brother, also named David, had a yellow series 2 Super Seven which is now in the possession of a good friend in the UK. My brother was a stout Lotus fan and enthusiast who had taught me to drive as a teenager on both his Lotus's (the 7 and his ’66 Elan) as well as his many Mini’s and Cooper “S’s” that he owned. Back in the mid-’70’s, he dismantled his 7 and Elan with the intent of restoring them, but unfortunately life, family and work got in the way and the cars sat for many years until he finally found the time in retirement to start back into working on them. Unfortunately, he also was struck by cancer and passed away in 2016 before the cars could be completed. I think of him often.

BrendanMcA
Passenger

Sorry to hear of your loss. I once met two brothers who had hot-rodded a pair of Austins (Cologne V6 swap for both, but very different builds). The older was struck by an illness that confined him to a wheelchair, so his younger brother used to take both cars (with help, trailer, etc) to car shows, then bring him back pictures. One way of keeping the passion going.
Malc
Pit Crew

What a great story – and one I would be happy to emulate when my time comes to an end. Driving a Seven of any vintage is certainly life-affirming and an event every time. Here in the UK the roads may not be quite as glorious as the Sea to Sky Highway, but the drive remains the same: https://youtu.be/hd8h6JrHiu4