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Charles Morgan compares the best Lotus has to offer now with its grandfatherThe Lotus Elite embodied the very best of Lotus back in 1958 -- and it still holds up today. How does it compare to the Exile Sport 350, the most brutal car from the British manufacturer you can buy today?
[SOUND] [MUSIC] I'd like to introduce the latest elite type 14, so the 14th car that Colin Chapman built. Introduced at the London Motor Show in 1957. They built about 1,030 cars between 1958 and 1962. And this is one of the last cars, this is a 62 car. Probably a Type 105, which meant it had 105 horsepower, or thereabouts. And an absolutely groundbreaking car. And this of course is the latest Exige sport 350 and it's the latest, fastest road going Lotus that you can buy. [NOISE] And what basically these cars do is absolutely encapsulate Colin Chapman's philosophy. He famously said once adding power makes you faster on the straight. So track team weight makes you faster everywhere. [MUSIC] This little car won its class [INAUDIBLE] no less than six times and the index of efficiency twice. Perhaps the best result was when. [UNKNOWN] gonna teach [UNKNOWN] averaged 94 miles an hour for the 24 hours in 1959. And probably used very little fuel in the process. But perhaps the greatest car, the greatest attempt by the elite of them all was in 1960 when Colin actually fitted the formula two engine, the two liter formula two engine, and put enormous wheels on the back of the car. And got John Whitmore and [UNKNOWN] The famous [INAUDIBLE] island Formula 1 driver to drive the car. This car was timed at 174 miles an hour down the [INAUDIBLE] straight in 1960. It could have won the race outright! But, sadly, one of the littler cars in the index of 1216 cc cars was being driven by the guy who was bankrolling The whole project. Jonathan Seeth of Mark and Spencer's. He had a crash in practice. It was such a bad crash he was hospitalized. In its Ireland being the character he was saw the crash, saw the accident and went I'm not driving that. Got in his van and drove home. So sadly we never saw the 174 miles an hour. At least try to win them all. [MUSIC] One of the really clever things about this car is it's not just immensely stiff, but it's also got lots of space in it cuz there's no chassis. The body is the chassis if you like, it's almost too clever. [UNKNOWN] Chapman wanted to put the petrol tank Tanks in the wings. Obviously that puts the weight of the petrol in the wheelbase between the two front and the rear wheels. And again, to get the space, he didn't have drop down windows, he just had windows that you take out. So that gives you the space for your elbows in the In the size of the doors. It's just a very clever car. There's a tube that goes over here. And there's tube under the dashboard. But otherwise, it's just those three bits of glass reinforced plastic that really make the construction and the strength of the car Car. [MUSIC] [NOISE] [SOUND] This is an incredibly well balanced car. It's very light but You can actually drift it around the corner. [SOUND] It doesn't have under steer, it feels completely safe, I love it, I think is a great car. It's just inconceivable how in 19 50 57 they built this car it's just so advanced even now admittedly it's on these skinny curves. But it's handling like a completely up to date real well built sports car. The chassis ultra thick I mean it's just incredible. It's a fantastic car. [SOUND] [MUSIC] [SOUND] The Lotus Exige 350 is the fastest Lotus you can buy and drive on the road. Designed by Russell Carr, who also did the Evora and the Series 2 Elise. He's got some lovely elegant touches, like these air intakes that run air into the supercharger, on the other side give some cooling to the engine. But, this latest Exige is the perfect example of Colin Chapman's philosophy Simplify and I'd like this. Because, what I've done and take the car and pull it apart and put it in what they call the lightweight laboratory. I say, each components we analyzing, look at this beautiful wheel, the. Foraged wheels, which are much much lighter than a normal car's aluminium wheels. This louvered rear panel is three kilograms lighter than the old one. What they've done is they've actually shaved 50 kilograms off the car, and that's what makes it such a fantastic car to drive. [SOUND] This is the same philosophy and the same principle as the Anise. It's just of course, it's updated and a lot more powerful. And you guys, we have got better at this Suspension technique across here. The principle is exactly the same. It's a lovely stiff car, the stiff chassis, and it has precise handling, not too uncomfortable, it's not a racecar, it's a real track Everyday car which you can use every day, and you can use it comfortably. And it's benign, it's a bit of under steering. You can pull out the rear if want to, that power. I mean, that power is just, it's very difficult to catch this thing with anything. Barring out in a racing car on this track. Full and This car. He says this car is faster than one his early formula one cars. Lift your foot off and it's very secure. This will be a collective car, too, you know. This is an absolute modern classic. I promise you, any driver who gets behind this, the wheel of this, starts to. To use it. Okay, what the hell? Why I have not gonna like a Lexus? I mean this brings back the real Lexus for me. This is what a Lexus should be. And the Elite was one of Lexus should be in 1960. This is best [UNKNOWN] they make at the moment. I even like the noise of the engine, actually. [UNKNOWN]. [LAUGH] Great. These are two real drivers cars. Why do I say that? Well, their ultra-light. I mean, this weighs 500, just over 500 kilos. This weighs just over a thousand kilos. So they are the lightest cars of their type in their class. And that makes them incredible to drive, really beautiful. But I think this is the more groundbreaking car. This is the more groundbreaking car cuz it's the world's first monocoque. It's the first car built like an aeroplane where the structure, the stress structure is the body of the car. For me this car has not really been bettered or improved upon. I want to see a future version of this car. [MUSIC]