- Image: Genius Garage

A technical school got a million-dollar surprise from an anonymous donor

They thought they were getting a supercar. What they got instead was something much more awesome!

5w ago

If you spend a lot of time on the car end of YouTube, you'll definitely be familiar with Casey Putsch and his Genius Garage initiative. Created to help engineering students get a leg up in the real world by giving them real-time experience with building, driving and marketing in the automotive industry, it's something that Putsch has created out of a desire to keep the tangible present in a world where cars are becoming more and more like computers. CarBuzz did a feature on Genius Garage very recently and one anonymous reader clearly loved what they were seeing so much that they decided to give the school an incredible surprise.

According to what Putsch told CarBuzz, him, his wife and some of his students were invited out to Monticello Motor Club, located in upstate New York, and told to bring a big trailer. They initially thought they would be getting a supercar, but once the covers were pulled off the surprise it turned out to be something much, much more awesome than that. It was actually an ultra-rare Lotus T125 in the classic Lotus John Player Special livery! The donor didn't give any further instructions, except "to enjoy in good health and with the students."

The Lotus T125 really is a holy grail of ultra-rare track-only cars. It's basically a scaled-down Formula 1 car that was intended for the most elite Lotus customers. Built in the early 2010s, when Lotus was a name on the Formula 1 grid and its results were in the very capable hands of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, it weighs only 1,400 lbs and is powered by a naturally-aspirated Cosworth V8 that makes 640 hp. With a power to weight ratio like that, you can expect that it'll be an absolute animal to drive! When it was new it had a $1 million price tag and also came with the services of none other than Formula 1 legend Jean Alesi to help teach you how to drive it! Don't believe me? Just watch this video from Top Gear back then when our very own Jeremy Clarkson had a go in it (and got absolutely terrified as a result!).

Whilst the T125 project ended up being a bit of a dud (only a few were ever made and the one donated to Genius Garage is one of them), it has lived on in a sense as the rights to the car were purchased by David Dicker, a wealthy Australian who had made a living in IT. He then founded a company called Rodin Cars, which now makes a continuation of the car called the Rodin FZed. You may already be familiar with the Rodin name actually if you follow the junior series' of open-wheel racing, as the company backs current W Series champion Jamie Chadwick and Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson!

"The world is a better place than we all think it is," says Putsch at the close of his video about receiving the car. "But I can tell you this. I always believed in the good, but I believed in the better when I started Genius Garage." After this frankly incredibly donation by an enthusiast who's more selfless than most, I think we can all believe a little bit more in the better too.

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Comments (6)

  • imagine being an engineer being able to tinker with THAT!!! wow.

      1 month ago
  • Ima plan a heist now xD

      1 month ago
  • Love the idea of this- I have been looking for a donation recipient. Someone doing something extraordinary to help my fellow veterans. Back home in US or here in London area. Might look for an educational thing. Thanks for the idea. I’ve been lucky or at least wise with my investments and post service career. And made a ton off crypto with a minor investment. Need to give back to community

      1 month ago