Named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Lotus's owner at the time, Romano Artioli of Bugatti fame, the Lotus Elise was launched at the Frankfurt Show in 1995. In the subsequent twenty-five years it has not only established itself as the embodiment of what Lotus stands for, it retains a unique place in the international sports car market.
The Elise story is one of steady evolution. The original car, conceptually a true Lotus complying exactly with the mantra ‘performance through light weight’, employed traditional Lotus construction practices, based on a radically innovative extruded aluminum chassis. The Series 1 Elise opened the gates for the Series 2 (S2) model and its principal derivative sibling, the more track-focussed Exige, and the concept matured steadily, with powertrain revisions, styling facelifts and chassis modifications though the next two decades.
No other manufacturer came up with a car to seriously rival the Elise, nor the Exige, in terms of handling dexterity on both road and racetrack, and it aptly characterizes the definition of a sports car.
About the Author
Johnny Tipler is an international motoring journalist and author, with over 30 books published on a variety of sports-orientated subjects. He ran the JPS Motorsport press office for three years, chronicling the fortunes of Team Lotus and Players sponsored events. Johnny was also an associate of the Motor Industry Research Unit, deputy editor of Restoring Classic Cars, sub-editor on CarWeek from 1993 to1995, and features editor on Land Rover Owner International in 1996. He has contributed regularly to 911 & Porsche World, Land Rover Owner, Octane, and Lotus Club International magazines. His features have included ‘drive’ stories, interviews with key industry figures, sporting events (eg Carrera Panamericana), buying guides, and historical articles on important vehicles. His books include Alfa Romeo Berlinas, Fiat & Abarth 124 Spider & Coupé, La Carrera Panamericana, and Mini Cooper - The Real Thing! Johnny has a BA in History of Art. He currently lives in Norfolk and has four children.