Shortly before LOG40 in Salt Lake City we were saddened to hear the news that Arnie Johnson, former Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Cars USA had passed away.
Arnie started with Lotus East in Millerton, NY in 1971, one of the five Lotus distributors. He was involved in dealer tech training, warranty work, worked on a lot of Europas, and helped prepare race cars including Type 51s and 61s. Lime Rock was just a few miles away so there was always plenty to keep him busy.
In 1979 the Lotus bought out the distributors and in March of that year Arnie moved to work for Lotus North America in Costa Mesa, CA. In November Rolls Royce signed to distribute Lotus in the US. With Rolls Royce getting involved with Lotus in a big way, Arnie moved again, to RR headquarters in Lyndhurst, NJ, where he met his wife, Cathy, who was distribution manager for Rolls Royce.
In 1983 he was working with Lotus Performance Cars, the partnership that became the US distributor for Lotus Cars. This would become Lotus Cars USA, which was again bought by the factory and then was sold to General Motors after they bought Lotus in 1986. Arnie moved again in 1988 when their headquarters moved from New Jersey to Atlanta, Georgia.
Arnie was Vice President of LCU until Chris Knight made him CEO in 1997 and was hugely instrumental in bringing the Elise to the USA in 2005.
Photo: LotuSport Racing Team (https://www.facebook.com/racerx14)