Lotus Cars

This article looks at the contribution Lotus Cars have made to classic car development.

The marque started as Lotus Engineering Ltd in 1952. It was founded by engineers Colin Chapman and Colin Dare and the factory was in Hornsey, North London.


If you look closely, you can see the letters in the middle of the logo stand for Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman.

The company set up Team Lotus for various categories of racing including Formula 1 but quickly split it from the main car company. Between 1962 and 1978 it was extremely successful, winning seven Formula One Constructors’ titles, six Drivers’ Championships and the Indianapolis 500 race in 1965.

The F1 cars were also striking to look at with the black and gold finish of the John Player Special cigarettes.

Lotus 77, photo by Luca Varani
Lotus 77, photo by Luca Varani

The Road Cars

  • SevenĀ  – 1957 to 72
  • Elite – 1958 to 63
  • Elan – 1962 to 73
  • Europa – 1966 to 75
  • Elite – 1974 to 82
  • Eclat – 1974 to 82
  • Esprit – 1976 to 2004
  • Excel – 1982 to 92
  • Elise – 1996 to date
  • Exige – 2000 to date
  • Europa S – 2006 to 10
  • Evora – 2009 to date

Once again, we have some names that confuse things for anyone looking back at Lotus. First, the practice of starting model names with E makes it a bit harder to remember which is which. Second, recycling names like Elite when the two cars are very different types.


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