“Lotus 72 Owners’ Workshop Manual” reviewed

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“Iconic” is an over-used word. But when it comes to Formula One cars, the Lotus 72 is precisely that.

This was the first F1 car to sport the instantly recognisable profile of the modern single-seater. The aerodynamic wedge shape, the relocation of the radiators from the nose to the sides and later the addition of an airbox made this the defining and much-copied F1 car of the seventies.

It remained in service for five consecutive seasons, winning three constructors’ championships, and was responsible for more than a quarter of Lotus’s 79 Grand Prix victories. And now it’s become the second F1 car to get the Haynes manual treatment.

The first was Red Bull’s 2010 championship-winning RB6. But although I loved the concept, it was impossible to ignore the book’s main failing.

Producing a book about a recent Formula One car has one major limitation: no team wants to give away its secrets, least of all the current world champions.

But there are no such problems when it comes to a car which first saw action over four decades ago. The Lotus 72 manual is generously illustrated, with many close-up photographs of the bits and bobs that make up one of F1’s greatest cars.

Cutaway diagrams and the liberal use of original hand drawings of Lotus 72 parts makes this an exceptionally detailed reference. And of course there are plenty of pictures of the car in action.

I had a few reservations about the organisation of the book, which tended towards the repetitive in places.

But I particularly enjoyed the views from former Lotus 72 drivers, which were not all as complimentary as you might expected. John Miles remembered it as “a difficult, troublesome child which turned into a high achiever”. Mechanics who ran the 72s also share their tales.

This second Haynes F1 car manual is much more successful than the first and I hope there are more to come in this series.

F1 Fanatic rating

Rating four out of five

Buy the Lotus 72 Haynes’ Owners Workshop Manual (UK)

Buy the Lotus 72 Haynes’ Owners Workshop Manual (USA)

Lotus 72 Owners’ Workshop Manual: 1970 onwards (all marks)

Author: Ian Wagstaff
Publisher: Haynes
Published: 2012
Price: ??21.99


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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on ““Lotus 72 Owners’ Workshop Manual” reviewed”

  1. typos: “there are no such problems”; “which tended towards the repetitive in places. In some places” (unless it’s an intended repetitive critique on repetitiveness ;) )

    1. I thought about that one as well, but came to the conclusion that its probably meant to be that way. For one it nicely accenturates the repetitiveness, and on the other hand it tells us that its not too bad.

      Curious what @keithcollantine says about it!

  2. According to Amazon, the McLaren M23 is available to pre-order.

    1. if this series continues in this line, when will the Williams FW15B make it to the stores :-)

      I bet the Benneton Schumi won with in ’94 won’t be as readily available though, nor the Ferrari’s that steamrolled the earlie 2000s

      1. When will the Ferrari F1-2000 come along I wonder? One of the most important Ferraris ever should have its own feature :)

  3. Is it much of a problem that the car was in service for 5 years and was updated through out that period of time, the 72 that was introduced in 1970 would be much different to the one that saw out ’75.

    Hope thats not me nit-picking, its by far and away one of my favourite cars, and to me, the car that it can be said to be the genesis of the modern day car (in terms of looks and normality of wings, sidepods)

    1. @sjm I wouldn’t say it’s a problem – there’s lots of information on how the car was upgraded and altered during its service.

    2. Wouldn’t it just add to the book, having several parts that are different for several years makes having several pictures and drawings with comments to it far more interesting!

  4. I’d like the Lotus 25, Lotus 81, Williams from 1993, jaguar XJR-9, and Porsche 917

    1. (not strictly F1 cars, but hugely significant cars all the same)

  5. ‘Add to kaboodle’

  6. eeeeeexcellent!

  7. Just seen it on Amazon, gonna buy it now, got the Red Bull RB6 book. Hope Haynes does more F1 books in the future, like the Lotus 72 & the Red Bull RB6.

  8. I forgot about the RB6 one to be honest but this looks like a great series to keep an eye on. I guess they went with the RB6 as it would attract a more modern F1 audience for their first book? I am keen to learn about the early development of aerodynamics in F1 so this looks like a dead cert for the future for me.

  9. Just finished reading this book, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It kind of is made up of two parts: the first part describes the car, its components and how it did in Formula 1. The second part is the actual “owners’ guide”: people who today own a 72 share their experience. I didn’t quite enjoy that latter part, but the first part with the many drawings and pictures was fantastic to read. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in F1 engineering.

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