At last week’s EBACE business aviation show in Geneva, Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) announced a strategic alliance with Group Lotus which will see the two companies collaborating on engineering initiatives.
But more importantly for customers, a Lotus road car is being given away with each aircraft purchase made until the end of next month! Customers for the Hawker bizjets will receive a Lotus Evora, while purchasers of King Air turboprops will receive an Elise.
As HBC points out, “this strategic collaboration brings together two of Britain’s best-known performance brands, representing a combination of 140 years of innovation, performance and craftsmanship”.
While Lotus’s British credentials are obvious (its road car plant is at Hethel near Norwich in East Anglia), HBC’s heritage might be less apparent to some. As those in the know will point out, the “Hawker” name originates from “Hawker Siddeley”, the British onetime manufacturer of the (nee de Havilland) HS 125 which, more than 1,600 deliveries later, remains in production as HBC’s Hawker 750 and 900XP family of mid-size bizjets.
The HS 125 first flew in 1962 (meaning that the Hawker family celebrates its half century next year), the same year the original Lotus Elan made its debut on British roads. And as the Evora and Elise are spiritual successors to that little two-seater, so the Hawker 900XP shares much DNA with the original HS 125.
The photographic comparisons illustrate the engineering and design progress by these two great names over the last 50 years (above: 1960s Lotus Elan versus 2010 Lotus Evora; bellow: 1960s HS 125 versus 2010 Hawker 750). Both current models have clear lineage to their “swinging sixties” counterparts.
If you can’t conjure up the $12 million or so for a new Hawker with an Evora thrown in, then you could always just go for the Lotus on its own, which is a snip at just £60k on the road…
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