50th birthday of the quintessential Lotus roadster – the Lotus Elan

Recalling Sixties spy-fi show The Avengers, the first thing men of a certain age remember is Mrs Peel’s black leather cat suit. But the character’s object of desire was her cute-as-a-button Lotus Elan.

The Elan was launched in October 1962 at the British Motorshow, just as the Sixties started swinging. Jaguar had launched the E-Type the previous year, and AC had the Cobra and Ferrari the GTO. Big, expensive, powerful muscles cars. The Elan was very different, and typically Lotus – ultra modern, lightweight, rapid and huge fun.

It summed up the Sixties: a playful topless two-seat ticket to freedom, it was technically innovative with the first backbone tube chassis of any road car, a fiberglass body, four-wheel independent suspension, 670kg with a peachy power-to-weight ratio, bang up-to-date styling beloved by Kings Road cruisers, and a liberating, rock n’ roll attitude.

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Goodwood – Lotus Headlines the Loudest Summer Festival of Them All

Forty Lotus cars will fire up the hallowed hill climb this year, spanning seven decades and showcasing Lotus’ incredible racing pedigree; from championship winning F1 cars to famous GT and rally racers, some driven by Lotus greats including Emerson Fittipaldi, John Surtees, Jacky Ickx, Jackie Oliver, Russell Brookes, Doc Bundy and Martin Donnelly.

And to bring the track action bang up to date, Lotus will be blasting its most recent jaw-dropping models up the hill, like the Exige R-GT rally car, making its UK debut, the Lotus T125 and the car that has motoring magazines all over the world hailing Lotus’ wizardry – the tyre-squealing Exige S.

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Lotus Originals franchise store has opened near the Principality’s famous Monte Carlo Casino Square

Lotus Originals is the fashion arm of the legendary sports car and racing marque, and the collection is inspired by the British sense of style, heritage, innovation and rebellious spirit that goes into every on-road Lotus design.

Lotus is hailed for its engineering and thirst for competition. It is also known for style. Heroes of reality and fiction, from Jim Clark to James Bond, have outgunned their rivals from behind the wheel of a Lotus, and they looked good doing it. Partner Forza Rossa Holding, official Lotus cars dealer since 2011, recognise this and joins the Lotus family with the opening of the Monte Carlo store which carries the brand new Lotus Originals retail concept.

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Lotus Evora GTC from Lotus Racing

Flared wheel arches, more rubber, less weight, and new technologies have added extra spice to Lotus’ race winning Evora, the GT4 Enduro. The new GTC licks the Evora’s performance envelope, delivering more speed and increased grip.

Having been honed on Lotus’ Hethel Test Track, the car has already found its first customers. McMahon Raceworks with Condor Motorsport has just placed an order for their Evora GTC, and will enter it in America’s Grand-Am road races, the Rolex Sports Car Series. The team led by David McMahon with Armando Trentini as lead driver and consultant, spent two days this week getting familiar with the machine on the ragged edge at Lotus Headquarters.

Meanwhile, Team Bullrun’s Evora GT4 will be converted to GTC-spec in June. Raced by British drivers Richard Adams, David Green and Martin Byford, Bullrun’s Evora has proved phenomenally competitive in the 2012 Britcar MSA Endurance Championship and currently leads the standings.

The engine and gearbox of the GT4 Enduro are carried over to the GTC, but the car has been on a diet. Carbon-fibre doors, roof and engine cover have replaced fibreglass panels, and Plexiglas replaces the windows in order to trim yet more weight off what is already a very light car. At 1,130-1,140kg, depending on customer specification, the GTC is 30kg lighter than the Enduro.

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Lotus at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show

Lotus Evora GTE at 2012 Beijing Auto Show

Lotus Cars is showing off its full model range for the first time, including a very special supercar that’s been custom-made for China.

When the Lotus Evora GTE was unveiled at the Frankfurt show last year, the Chinese market went crazy for this, Lotus’ most powerful road-going model ever. Now the British sports car company has prepared the Evora GTE China Limited Edition, which makes its world debut in Beijing.

Lotus’ eminent chassis engineers have adapted the GTE to suit Chinese roads, and the interior comes with more leather and carbon fibre to make it more luxurious inside, without compromising performance at all. Its 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine fires out 444 horsepower. Well, this is the year of the dragon!

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