THE INCREDIBLE LIGHTNESS OF LOTUS
Even more than most small car companies, Lotus was the product of a singular vision – that of Colin Chapman, a brilliant engineer and designer of racing and road cars. His racers won Formula One world championships seven times as well as the Indianapolis 500, and his road cars set new standards for handling and driver feedback.
And what’s more, many of the early Lotus cars have become much sought-after – one of the very earliest, the stripped-down purists’ delight Lotus Seven, is still in production today under the Caterham name, proving that the appeal of a no-frills sports-racer endures endlessly.
Then there are the other Lotuses (Loti?) which became larger, more powerful and more civilised as the years went on, from the cute Elite to the pretty Elan, The striking Europa and on through a series of E-prefixed supercars like the Esprit, Éclat and Excel.
There have been many collaborations with other marques too, from ‘60s super-saloon the Lotus Cortina to the beefy Lotus Carlton for Vauxhall/Opel; there was a collaboration with Toyota too, Sunbeam Talbot, Opel and even a record-breaking bicycle.Some of these supercars popup regularly in our Find Your Passion supercar and prestige car classifieds.
Colin Chapman’s engineering mantra, borrowed from American engineer William Bushnell Stout, was ‘simplicate and add more lightness’. “Adding power makes you faster on the straights”, he said once, “but losing weight makes you faster everywhere.” This occasionally had unwanted side-effects – his techniques of making one component do multiple jobs and paring down every element to a bare minimum sometimes made his designs rather prone to failure compared to more sturdily-built rivals. The enthusiast’s joke that Lotus stands for ‘Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious’ is meant light-heartedly, but certainly contains a grain of truth. However, modern materials and uprated components mean that it’s now perfectly possible to run a well-fettled classic Lotus without a gold card breakdown membership.
Though he died in 1982, Chapman’s legacy very much lives on in the modern Lotus company. The engineering side is highly respected across the world and works for a variety of clients on all kinds of complex leading-edge projects. The car division, meanwhile, produces the Elise roadster and Exige coupé, the Evora supercar and the incredibly fast and single-minded track-only Exos. All share the Chapman DNA – they’re light, often with much use of exotic materials, grippy and quick.
And as an unexpected side-effect, that lightness makes them ideal for the latest hybrid or electric powertrains; the battery-fuelled Tesla Roadster was really a mildly re-engineered Lotus Elise, and in fact was largely built at Lotus’s plant in Hethel, Norfolk. As somebody who spent their entire life chasing new and innovative ideas in advanced engineering, Colin Chapman would surely have approved.
If you’re interested in acquiring one of these superlative British-built drivers’ cars, talk to us. We are experts in financing superb cars such as these, and would be delighted to help you achieve your aim.
If you’re interested in acquiring one of these superlative British-built drivers’ cars find out how to finance a classic car with JBR Capital. We are experts in financing superb cars such as these, and would be delighted to help you achieve your aim. Discover everything else you need to know about buying a classic car on our Classic Car Buying guide.
Things to consider:
1. Owning a Lotus
With the list price of a Rolls Royce Cullinan exceeding £265,000, Rolls-Royce ownership is not for the faint of heart. It is possible to find a used car for less, but this level of high-end luxury car tends to change hands on a regular basis with no meaningful depreciation for the first few years. The classic market is less forgiving, with prices that appear to be rising in some areas. There are no longer any bargains to be found, and prices should level off or even fall over the next few years.
2. Maintenance / Insurance/ Additional Costs
Insurance and maintenance on a modern Rolls-Royce will always be high, as will consumable running costs like fuel, tyres, and brake pads. However, depending on how you drive, the outlay here shouldn’t be any higher than that of any other high-end luxury car.
In terms of classics, Rolls-Royce engines are strikingly robust considering their influential engineering and attention to detail, despite being fairly complex and demanding of specialist attention. However, parts are expensive, and specialised labour will always be costly.
3. What to look for?
Any high-end luxury vehicle should also have a comprehensive main dealer or approved specialist service history, as any significant period of neglect could end up costing you a lot of money to repair.
How to buy a Lotus car?
BUY A BRAND-NEW LOTUS
BUY A USED LOTUS
A Lotus should never be purchased on a whim, but if you can afford the maintenance, a previously owned Lotus is a great way to appreciate the open road.
However, buying a used Lotuses may come with some risks so run comprehensive checks before purchasing. This is especially true of the very old UK made models (See above). Here are some areas to be aware of:
- A full service history from a main dealer or reputable specialist is required. All scheduled services, as well as interim maintenance, should have been completed.
- Check that the engine starts and runs smoothly.
- Check for leaks in the turbo oil and cooling pipes.
- Examine the rear main seal between the engine and the gearbox for oil leaks.
How to finance A Lotus?
BEST WAY TO FINANCE A LOTUS CAR
There are several financing options available to get you behind the wheel of a new or used Lotus
Hire purchase allows you to pay for your car in monthly instalments with the option of purchasing it outright at the end of a fixed-term contract. Lease purchase agreements, like hire purchase agreements, allow you to make regular payments, but with lower monthly fees due to a final ‘balloon payment’, usually paid at the end of the term.
The classic car market is heavily reliant on auctions, which can be a good hunting ground for an older Lotus whose value is more difficult to determine. You can access pre-approve funds from independent finance specialists, like JBR Capital, allowing you to bid confidently up to an agreed-upon value during the auction. If your bid is successful, the auction funds will be available immediately.
If you want to buy a car without selling your current one, equity release is a great option that allows you to borrow against the value of your existing car collection.
Which Lotus should I buy?
The Lotus Evora is a mid-engine sports car that was introduced in 2008. It is available as a 2+2 or 2-seater coupe or convertible. The Evora is designed to be a versatile sports car that is comfortable for daily driving while still being capable of high-performance driving on the track.
The Evora is powered by a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces up to 400 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Evora is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in around 4 seconds and has a top speed of over 180 mph.
Lotus has also produced several special edition versions of the Evora, including the Evora 400, Evora GT, and Evora GT410. These models feature upgraded performance components and design elements to enhance the driving experience even further.
What makes it special?
The Evora features lightweight construction with an aluminum chassis and composite body panels. The suspension is designed for high-performance driving and provides exceptional handling and grip. The interior is spacious and comfortable with premium materials and advanced technology features.
How much is A Lotus Evora?
As of June 2023, prices start at around £52,000 and go up to £63,000.
The Lotus Exige was first introduced in 2000 and is based on the Lotus Elise, but with various performance upgrades and modifications.
The Exige features a lightweight aluminium chassis and bodywork, which makes it agile and responsive. It is powered by a range of engines, including a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine or a supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine sourced from Toyota. The car is available with a manual transmission and has rear-wheel drive.
What makes it special?
The Exige is known for its exceptional handling and driving dynamics, with a focus on balance and precision. Its design features aggressive styling and aerodynamics, which provide improved downforce and performance on the track. The car’s suspension system is also specifically tuned for high-performance driving.
Over the years, Lotus has produced several special editions and variants of the Exige, including the Exige S, Exige Cup, Exige Sport, and Exige 430. These models feature various upgrades and improvements to the Exige’s performance, handling, and design. The Exige has a reputation for being a pure driver’s car that is meant to be driven on the track or on twisty roads.
How much is Lotus Exige?
The price of a Lotus Exige varies depending on the model year, trim level, and options selected. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the starting price for a new Lotus Exige in the UK was around £67,900 for the base Exige Sport 390 model, while the more powerful Exige Cup 430 started at around £100,600. However, prices may vary depending on the region and the dealer. It’s also worth noting that Lotus Cars is a low-volume manufacturer, so the availability of the Exige can be limited in some markets.
The Lotus Elise is a two-seat, mid-engine sports car. It was first introduced in 1996 and has since become a popular and iconic model for the company.
The Elise features a lightweight aluminum chassis and bodywork, which makes it agile and responsive. It is powered by a range of engines, including a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter or 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine sourced from Toyota or a supercharged 1.8-liter engine. The car is available with a manual transmission and has rear-wheel drive.
What makes it special?
The Elise is known for its exceptional handling and driving dynamics, with a focus on balance and precision. Its minimalist design and lightweight construction mean that it is a pure driver’s car that is meant to be driven on the track or on twisty roads. Despite its performance-focused design, the Elise is also known for being relatively fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Over the years, Lotus has produced several special editions and variants of the Elise, including the Elise S Cup R, Elise Sprint, Elise 250 Cup, and Elise Cup 250 Final Edition. These models feature various upgrades and improvements to the Elise’s performance, handling, and design.
The Lotus Evija is an all-electric hypercar produced by British sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. It was unveiled in July 2019 and is the company’s first-ever electric production car. The name “Evija” is derived from various words that mean “the first in existence” or “the living one”.
The Evija is an exclusive, limited-production vehicle with a total production run of just 130 units. It features a unique and futuristic design, with a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis and an advanced aerodynamic profile that enables the car to achieve a top speed of over 200 mph (320 km/h).
The Evija is powered by four electric motors, one at each wheel, which together produce a total of 2,000 horsepower and 1,254 lb-ft of torque. This immense power allows the Evija to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in under 3 seconds and from 0-186 mph (0-300 km/h) in less than 9 seconds. The car’s advanced battery technology provides a range of over 250 miles (400 km) on a single charge.
What makes it special?
The Lotus Evija is considered one of the most powerful and fastest electric cars ever produced and is a showcase of the latest in automotive engineering and technology. Its limited production numbers and high price point make it an exclusive and highly coveted vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts.
How much is Lotus Evija?
The Lotus Evija is a limited-production electric sports car that is not yet available for purchase in the UK. According to the official Lotus website, the starting price for the Evija is £2.04 million (excluding taxes and delivery costs).
The Lotus Emira is a sports car produced by British sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. It was first unveiled in July 2021 and is scheduled to go on sale in 2022.
The Emira is a two-seat, mid-engine sports car that features a lightweight aluminium chassis and bodywork. It is powered by a choice of two engines: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG or a supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine sourced from Toyota. The car is available with a manual or automatic transmission and has rear-wheel drive.
The Emira is designed to be a more practical and comfortable alternative to Lotus’s existing models, such as the Elise, Exige, and Evora. It features a more refined and luxurious interior, with advanced features such as a digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system.
What makes it special?
The Emira represents a significant shift for Lotus, as it is the company’s first all-new model in more than a decade and is the last Lotus to feature an internal combustion engine, as the company is planning to transition to electric power in the future.
The Lotus Eletre is an all-electric performance SUV that was unveiled in March 2022. It is the first fully electric vehicle from Lotus, and it is also the first SUV from the company.
The Eletre is a five-seater SUV with a sleek, aerodynamic design. It has a long wheelbase and a short overhang, giving it a sporty stance. The Eletre’s interior is luxurious and spacious, with a panoramic glass roof and a large infotainment system. The Eletre is also equipped with a variety of advanced driver assistance systems.
The Eletre is based on a new platform that Lotus has developed specifically for electric vehicles. It has a range of up to 370 miles, and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds.
What makes it special?
The Lotus Eletre is a significant step forward for the company. It is a high-performance, all-electric SUV that is sure to appeal to a wide range of buyers. The Eletre is also a sign of things to come from Lotus, as the company plans to launch a number of new electric vehicles in the coming years.
How much is Lotus Eletre?
The Eletre is priced from £89,500.
Lotus Elan & Lotus Elan M100
One of the most famous Lotus cars is the Lotus Elan, which was produced from 1962 to 1973. The Elan was a two-seater convertible that was known for its nimble handling and lightweight construction. Another notable Lotus car is the Esprit, which was introduced in 1976 and gained worldwide recognition when it was featured in the James Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977. It was designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and was known for its lightweight construction, exceptional handling, and advanced engineering.
The Elan was powered by a range of small-displacement engines, including a 1.5-liter and 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It featured a fiberglass body and a steel backbone chassis, which made the car lightweight and nimble. The Elan was also one of the first cars to use a fully independent suspension system, which gave it exceptional handling and ride comfort.
What makes it special?
In addition to the original Elan, Lotus has produced several other models bearing the Elan name over the years. These include the Lotus Elan M100, which was produced from 1989 to 1995, and the Lotus Elan Concept, which was introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The Elan Concept was a convertible sports car that was intended to be a modern interpretation of the classic Elan design, but it was never put into production.
How much is A Lotus ELAN?
The Lotus Elan was offered to any prospective buyer in kit form at £1095 or fully built for an extra £400. Yes you read that correctly. But now in the 2020’s it can be anywhere from £45k to £65k,
Get a Quote
Talk to our team