Lotus is a British car automaker. They were not one of the pioneer automakers that began in the early 1900's but had their founding in 1952 and is manufacturing cars at an old World War Two airfield. The company, Lotus Cars, is world renown for being a designer and builder of sports and racing cars. In 1952 the company was named Lotus Engineering Ltd by it's founder who was an engineering grad from University College in London England. Following bankruptcy in 1994, Lotus was taken over by Proton, a Malaysian automaker.
Lotus automobiles are known for their great handling and other engineering technology.In fact, today, Lotus Engineering which is a division of Lotus cars often acts as a consulting engineer for other automakers.
The 2006 Lotus Elise pictured on this page is a two seat, rear wheel drive sports car. This Lotus Elise has an ultra lightweight chassis and supercar performance. The power plant is a 1.8L four cylinder engine which is advertised at 19 MPG city and 27 MPG on the highway. The Lotus Elise model was designed in 1994 and was produced in 1996. The Elise has a fiberglass body and an aluminum chassis. The Lotus Elise is said to be able to reach a speed of 150 MPH. The first Elise put on the market in 1996 had a 0-60 MPH time of 5.8 seconds. The Lotus 340R which came on the market on 2000 was a convertible. Only 340 of those models were built.
The same year, Lotus Cars released the hard top Exige model that had the same engine as the 340R. The 2006 model like the one shown here had just a few changes from the 2005 car. The 2006 Lotus Elise models came with LED tail lights, more comfortable seats and better mileage. The 2007 model had again just some minor changes from 2006. The rear decals were were replaced with raised lettering and the front bumper construction was altered to comply with U.S. federal safety standards.
You may well know of the Lotus name as it applies to Formula One Racing and Indy Car Racing. Lotus has always been an advocate of people racing their cars. Famous Formula One drivers who have raced Lotus cars have been Stirling Moss and Jim Clark. Clark unfortunately was killed in 1968 when he crashed his Lotus due to a blown rear tire on a curve at a Formula One race in England.
Lotus Engineering is currently involved with electric and hybrid automobiles. Lotus Engineering is well suited to integrate their electrical knowledge into the entire automobile. This means their expertise can be utilized not only regarding the power plant but for the car's control and safety systems as well.
Another interesting and unique segment of Lotus is their driving school. The Lotus Performance Driving School. The school utilizes a 1 1/2 mile specially built track located on the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, about 45 miles outside of Las Vegas Nevada, using radio equipped cars. The radio is meant to help instruct the driver while actually on the course going through various turns and maneuvers. The radio provides instant feedback which should be a big aid to the learning process. The Lotus car in essence serves as your moving classroom. There is also a debriefing with instructors after each training session. Certainly one of the most technologically unique methods of race training.
In regards to pricing, used Lotus cars can be found at a wide range depending on availability, condition and of course mileage. To give you an idea of new car pricing, research shows that the MSRP on the 2011 Evora is about $64,000. A 2012 Lotus Evora about $66,000. A 2011 Lotus Elise has a MSRP of about $55,000 and a 2011 Exige model has a price about $66,000. Research on used prices show a 2006 Lotus Elise model listed for about $30,000. A 2005 Lotus Elise with about 14,000 miles is priced at about $28,000. Other prices on the 2006 Elise model range from about $23,000 to $30,000. Another asking price on a 2006 Lotus Elise with 25,000 miles at about $29,000. Again , much has to do with condition, mileage and added options. I have seen prices at this writing for the 2006 Lotus Elise in the range of $23,000.
Lotus Cars and their Lotus Engineering offshoot bring a lot of expertise to the table when it comes to race car design and performance. They're great looking sports cars and make an excellent addition to any performance car collection.
(Photos from author's private collection)