Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at Hethel, Norfolk, England. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and high handling characteristics.
Lotus cars include the Esprit, Elan, Europa, Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars and it had motor racing success with Team Lotus in Formula One. Lotus Cars are based at the former site of RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and fine handling characteristics. It also owns the engineering consultancy firm Lotus Engineering, which has facilities in the United Kingdom, United States, China, and Malaysia.
Lotus was previously owned by DRB-HICOM through its subsidiary Proton, which acquired it following the bankruptcy of former owner Romano Artioli in 1996.
It is currently owned by Proton, the Malaysian carmaker, who took Lotus over in 1994 on the bankruptcy of its former owner Bugatti.
Lotus Mark I (1948)
1948 Lotus Mark I
The Lotus Mark I was the first car designed and built by Colin Chapman in 1948, while Chapman was still a student at the University of London. The car was designed to compete as a trials car, and was constructed on an Austin 7 chassis and running gear and given registration number OX 9292. Chapman built the body utilizing a composite made of thin aluminum bonded to plywood.
Lotus Mark II (1949-1950)
1949 Lotus Mark II
The car that came to be known as the Lotus Mark II was created in 1949, while Colin Chapman was serving with the RAF. For his second car Chapman built on the knowledge gained from building and competing in the Lotus Mark I, so he again used the widely available and inexpensive Austin 7 chassis as a starting point. He boxed in the chassis rails and replaced the cross members with stronger tubular braces. He swapped the Austin engine for a Ford engine and transmission, first from a Ford 8, then from a Ford 10, but retained the Austin 7 rear axle. To be able to use a wider tire, Chapman adapted Ford pressed-steel wheels. He modified the engine as far as the club rules would allow.
Lotus Mark III (1951)
1951 Lotus Mark III
Lotus Mark III was a single-seater sports car built by Colin Chapman as a 750 Racer. It was the first car to ever be called a "Lotus".In 1951, Chapman began to focus on a car for road racing, rather than trials, to compete in the 750 Motor Club formula, which used the Austin 7 as a basis. To conform to the rules, Chapman had to retain the Seven's chassis, engine, gearbox, and differential. With the assistance of Nigel and Michael Allen, he modified the car to the limits of the rules. Chapman boxed the frame rails and added 14-gauge tubular cross-members for torsional stiffness. A sleek aluminum two-seater body, which weighed only 65 lbs. was added to cut down drag, and the engine was extensively modified to produce more power.
Lotus Mark IV (1952)
1952 Lotus Mark IV
Lotus Mark IV was a trials car by Colin Chapman built on an Austin 7 chassis. Chapman’s success at building trials cars brought another previous customer, Mike Lawson, to order a second trials car in 1952 to replace his Lotus Mark II, in which he won the Wrotham Cup. Once again Chapman chose an Austin Seven as the starting point, reinforcing the frame and installing a four-cylinder 71.5 cu in, Ford, sidevalve engine. Chapman used all the tricks he had learned in his previous cars, constructing a lightweight aluminum body with a rounded nosecone. He fitted a 3-speed transmission taken from a Ford 8 and the divided front axle as on his previous cars.
Lotus Mark V (1952)
1952 Lotus Mark V
Lotus Mark V was a prototype single seater sports car by Colin Chapman that was never built.
Chapman said that he believed a 100-mph road sports car could be developed using an un-supercharged Austin 7 engine. The Lotus Mark V was designed for it.
Lotus Mark VI (1952-1957)
1953 Lotus Mark VI
The Lotus Mark VI is the first production car by Lotus Cars. It was introduced by Colin Chapman in 1952 after previously building multiple trials and road racing cars. The heart of the Mark VI is a space frame chassis. Rather than a complete car, it was available to the general public as kit, wherein the customer could install any preferred engine and gearbox, making it eligible for a wider number of formulae.
Lotus Eleven (1956-1957)
1958 Lotus Eleven
The Lotus Eleven is a sports racing car built in various versions by Lotus from 1956 until 1958. The later versions built in 1958 are sometimes referred to as Lotus 13, although this was not an official designation. In total, about 270 Elevens of all versions were built.
Lotus Mark VIII (1955)
1958 Lotus Mark VIII
The Lotus Mark VIII car was Colin Chapman’s first fully enclosed aerodynamic design. Chapman's basic requirements for the design were for a car of 1100 lbs powered by an 85 bhp engine and a maximum speed of 125 mph. Work began on this design in late 1953 and Chapman was assisted in the design of the body by the aerodynamicist Frank Costin, who was the brother of Mike Costin, his main collaborator.
Lotus Europa (1966-1975)
1967 Lotus Europa
The Lotus Europa name is used on two distinct mid-engined GT coupé cars built by Lotus Cars. The original Europa and its variants comprise the Lotus Types 46, 47, 54, 65 and 74, and were produced between 1966 and 1975.
The name was later revived in the Type 121 Europa S, a Lotus Elise-derived design produced from 2006 to 2010.
Lotus Elan (1962-1975), (1989-1995)
1991 Lotus Elan
Lotus Elan is the name of two separate ranges of automobiles produced by Lotus Cars.
The first range of cars (1962–1975) comprised:
Two seater sports cars:
Lotus Type 26 drop head coupes (convertibles), marketed as the Elan 1500, Elan 1600, and Elan S2 (Series 2)
Lotus Type 36 fixed head (coupés) and drop head coupes, marketed as the Elan S3
Lotus Type 45 fixed head and drop head coupes, initially marketed as the Elan S4 then, later, in a higher performance model, marketed as the Elan Sprint
Lotus Type 26R racing version of the Type 26
Four seater sports car (rear seats suitable for children):
Lotus Type 50, fixed head coupe, marketed as the Elan +2
Lotus Esprit (1976-2004)
1976 Lotus Espirit Turbo
The Lotus Esprit is a sports car that was built by Lotus Cars at their Hethel factory in the United Kingdom between 1976 and 2004. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs.
Lotus Elise (1996-present)
2005 Lotus Elise
2020 Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise is a two-seat, rear-wheel drive, mid-engined roadster conceived in early 1994 and released in September 1996 by the British manufacturer Lotus Cars. The Elise has a fibreglass body shell atop its bonded extruded aluminium chassis that provides a rigid platform for the suspension, while keeping weight and production costs to a minimum. It is capable of speeds up to 150 mph. The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli who was chairman of Lotus and Bugatti at the time of the car's launch.
Lotus Evora (2010-present)
2019 Lotus Evora
The Lotus Evora is a sports car produced by British car manufacturer Lotus. The car, which was developed under the project name Project Eagle, was launched as the Evora on July
22, 2008 at the British International Motor Show. The Evora S was launched in 2010 with a supercharged 3.5-litre V6. A face lifted and more powerful Evora 400 model was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, followed by a hardcore and more powerful variant, the Evora GT430 which was unveiled in 2017.
Lotus Exige (2000-present)
2000 Lotus Exige Sport
2012 Lotus Exige Siaa
2019 Lotus Exige
The Lotus Exige is a British two-door, two-seat sports car made by Lotus Cars since 2000. Originally a more-hardcore coupé version of the Lotus Elise roadster, since the Series 3 the Exige has been the larger-engined model of the family - using a V6 engine in place of the Elise's straight 4 with convertible versions of both available.
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