It’s our sad duty to report that Ron Hickman died in a Jersey hospital on Thursday morning, 17th February. He was 78 and had been unwell since suffering a fall last autumn and his health sadly deteriorated in recent weeks.
Ron will probably be best known to Lotus enthusiasts as the man who created the legendary Elan but he also played a key role in designing the revolutionary Type 14 Elite. The Elite’s glassfibre monocoque was a groundbreaking piece of design and established Lotus Cars as manufacturers of world beating sports racing cars.
Colin Chapman originally wanted the Elan to have a glassfibre monocoque as well, but Ron knew this could not work in an open top car. Ron therefore rapidly designed the backbone chassis for the Elan and this became the standard Lotus chassis design until Elise with its aluminium monocoque was launched in 1996.
Ron also designed another icon - the Workmate - which sold in millions to DIYers around the world.
We were very fortunate to know Ron well. He was an exceptionally kind, friendly and generous man who, despite his many achievements, always remained modest and unprepossessing. He was always happy to talk to fellow enthusiasts about cars and their design and would enjoy explaining why a certain part of an Elan was designed the way it was.
He will be very greatly missed by his many friends and Club Lotus sends its sincerest condolences to his widow Helen and his family.
A full obituary will appear in the next edition of Club Lotus News.