In the mid 90s, Lotus was on the brink of disappearing. They weren’t selling cars anymore, and the F1 Team Lotus officially filed for bankruptcy in late 1994. General Motors would seek to sell its subsidiary, but to no avail. And that’s just when one man came across this brand in crisis: his name was Romano Artioli. He was already behind a renaissance at Bugatti – to reinforce his Italian troops, Artioli opted for the exceptional expertise of Lotus Engineering. Artioli bought out Lotus Group and, without wasting any time, put their technicians to work on a project that would bring the world a new ultra-light car keeping with the tradition of sport roadsters. And thus was born Elise, a race car that eschews neither comfort nor luxury, named after Artioli’s granddaughter.
No carpet, cupholders, or glove compartment to be found here: the only thing that matters is the drive! Elise is a car that takes on the spirit of Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus: “Truth is found in lightness.” And light this car is. Revolutionizing the world of sports cars when it arrived on the market in 1996, the Lotus Elise was a shock to all. Once it hits the road, this car offers simple and no frills pleasure. No surrprise then that it was a huge commercial success.
Built around an extruded aluminum bonded chassis structure, the car is not only very light but also extremely rigid. The bare bones chassis is also used with cars that go over 600cv. To hold its weight, a no holds barred approach was taken and thus the car has very few frills: no direction or braking assistance, no central door locking, no electric windows or rearview mirrors… With the Elise everything is in the motor, the 1800cc Rover “L” that develops 120cv. And the driving experience becomes all the more instinctive for it: on small wayside routes, the Elise by Lotus reveals its true strength. This vehicle is prestigiously efficient and right in line with the racing world.