Lotus Elise: Saying goodbye to an iconic British sports car
The 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show notice launch something new, small, affordable and with driver engagement at the forefront it both hark back to the old days of Lotus but also looked forward It was packed with new technology and materials and looked unlike anything Lotus had done before it caused waves and put Lotus on the top of plenty of people's lists.
That car was this, the lease.
Following on from the complex front wheel drive and comparative flop that was the M 111.
The Elise had some work to do.
Julian Thompson currently top dog jaguar design was the man who drew it.
Thompson, along with engineering best mate Richard Rackham were at the time, two things, single and intimate motorbikes.
Things like confidence and technology aren't really a thing.
Inhale after all, why would they be this is a sports car for young people to go and do young people things in.
Its engine is slap bang in the middle and it's angry and aggressive to look at.
And under those aggressive looks, is an industry first, an extruded bonded on the minium platform This kept weight down which was good for handling and the new tech kept costs down, which was good for the customer.
Not content with having a brand new platform.
Lotus also decided to develop some new brakes.
The metal matrix composite or MMC brakes were made of silicon carbide sintered aluminium, which kept breaking performance high.
They were quite expensive though and later cars [UNKNOWN] Regular stock when the bodywork Lynch's originally thought about aluminium paneling but instead when the glass fiber composite clamshells 1 on the front One on the back.
It's great once again for keeping cost and weight down, but can be a little fragile in places one mine and knock in the wrong spot means you could end up.
Reading a new clamshell entirely.>>> Behind the driver is a 1.8 liter riversource k series engine.
Now this is likely where some audience members may start making jokes about head gaskets going pop at known k series foible.
So, go on Get out your systems
The case series was at light motor and combined with a light body, light platform, light brakes, and light everything.
The S1 at least weighed in at just 725 kilos.
Despite a modest 118 brake horsepower and 122 pounds of output, the lease went from nought to 60 in 5.8 seconds up To 126 miles per hour.
He was referred for 1995.
And to be honest, it's still rapid today.
When it came out it was the benchmark for handling because it was just that good.
Also the press said However, it does have a slight reputation for being a little bit spiky in the early days over the years suspension mods and what have you were introduced so it was more sanitized.
It still was in line then well The steering is just it's an add on the stage of course.
But, the slightest input, the slightest, tiniest input on the front wheels just do it.
And they feed everything back.
Do you know exactly what's going on underneath the front of the car?
It feels incredible.
It feels so good.
This is You don't find steering like this anymore.
Now the gear box, It's a really nice shift.
It's short and it's sharp.
So you dip the clutch in, its a tiny motion like that far which some gentlemen would say is about six to 12 inches but really it's about that far.
Dip the clutch and in done.
It's not cheap.
It's not spongy.
This is aged really, really well.
To really engaging shift again, it's the kind of thing that you go yeah short throw in.
Not as good as this.
Punch itself is super super lane change.
So none of this is difficult.
Through the on top of the engine that case series motor, get your head gasket jokes out of the waiver.
Case series motor is really ready and it seems pretty good.
Going through me in the cabin there with that roof.
The cabin does sound quite echoey which is a little disconcerting considering there is absolutely no room in here.
There is no space for anything.
You can feel why people were so obsessed with this car you know why?
It was so well phrased and why when you get it when you decide you once in a nice you drive it you understand Where it all came from?
This thing is absolutely magic.
Before you didn't know this was a car from the 90s and the airbag should be.
It's quite conceivable that someone could release something like this today as a box fresh car and people would lose their minds over Okay, there's a few things here and there but come on.
Interesting name the Elise wasn't supposed to be called in Elise.
It was supposed to be called the 111.
It's Lotus type number.
Every Lotus, has ones the electric hypercar, the Avaya.
And that's the type 130 However, at the last minute then chairman of the company Romano artioli decided that the new sports car wasn't gonna have something as crass as a number being the groundbreaking breakthrough mega car that he was instead of is going to have a name and he decided to name it after his granddaughter Lisa, and with that a legend was born.
It's fair to say that Lisa and her namesake left something of a mark.
The Elise was affordable, looked great and move the game on from the old guard of small British sports cars.
Over the years there were a heap of special edition s one Elisa each with different power outputs and What stuff?
Of course, there was the race car derived exhibit and the frankly Mad 340 ar as well but those are other stories all have their own.
Okay, there were a few flaws that we can't really overlook.
It was difficult to get in and out of the sales were quite wide and Mac and floor, if you had slippery shoes just made it even harder.
Getting in and out with dignity, not an easy thing.
The roof was a pain to put on and take off.
And there were some build quality issues here and there.
Rumors of magazines.
Long-term test cars, rooms.
Just injecting themselves at speed have done the rounds, but the least was a big deal and it didn't stop with the s one in the year 2000s.
The s one did have to go the way of the dodo, thanks to crash safety regs, but that meant the S team came along.
Well the K series versus this one has Stayed on for a while it was soon replaced with a Rivia Toyota Motor.
In 2010, the s3 came along given a nip and tuck over its life.
The s3 came with plenty of engine suspension setups and limited edition colorways.
Some had wings, some didn't.
Some had modest power, some Did not the least ethos lasted a long time but now it's time for something rather sad.
This friends is the last at least the sport to 40 and by last Denise I don't mean there'll be another one along in a couple of months.
This is the last time this body and platform combo We'll be put together and sold by Lotus after a quarter of a century.
It's finally time for the Elise to end.
In the middle is a 240 brake horsepower 181 pound foot 1.8 liter supercharged four cylinder motor wedge, very very slick exposed six speed manual gearbox fires it's grunt to the rear wheels only.
Note 262 takes four and a half seconds and it'll top out at 147 miles an hour.
It also gets a host of cosmetic upgrades including some Look at me.
I'm the last ever release final edition badging.
There's a Natty TFT instrument binnacle and it weighs just 931 kilos.
Okay, that is 206 more than the original car but it's still naphthol you can pick from a variety of paints add carbon to the car, trim your seats in different materials, there's loads of options, as you'd expect from a car's last triumphant outing.
Lotus wants just under 47,300 pounds rich strong money.
Sure, but this is the last time you'll be able to spend that on a lease.
And there are some people out there who will have to have the last car off the line.
Under here is 25 years of evolution.
A quarter of a century of work, and it's all gonna go away.
The Elise as one two or three may never have reached Porsche Boxster levels of notoriety may not be hanging out on every street corner.
But it was something daring, something new, something exciting.
That nailed its brief so well the first time out the gate.
That it barely changed for a quarter of a century, and that needs to be celebrated.
It's still an absolute joy machine.
The original is rule.
It doesn't care about things like stereos and airbags Stuff like that.
This feels like a more substantial car in every sense of the word.
It's everything you expect a Lotus Elise to be.
You don't buy it to do school runs in big shops you buy it because you want a sports car and to have a bit of a giggle and guess what?
I have more than a bit of a giggle with it.
This is a bittersweet moment.
This is the last release that hefele will produce, or at least last at least, like that's what they do with the name I don't know.
But it is one of those kind of take stock moments.
This is actually an ending
I dont like endings.
Endings are rubbish, because sometimes you look back afterwards you think, what could have been, what could have carried on, but in this case, this is what could have been.
This is kind of an alternate route going in nice.
In 1995, the 'lease' was a groundbreaker and for its entire life, it was used as a benchmark of how great a small sports car could be.
The fact it's going means it will be missed by millions of people all over the world, but.
As the cliche goes, it is better to have love and loss and all that jazz.
Basically for a short while there we have something truly brilliant
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