Lotus launched the Elise in 1996. Variants apart from the 2005-2011 “Federal Elise” models remain in the forbidden fruit for North Americans, but enthusiasts elsewhere in the world can still buy a new Elise while these pure sports cars are available. Lotus just launched a limited edition of 100 cars based on the Elise Sport 220, complete with heritage livery and a bunch of extras thrown in for good measure.
Joining Alfa Romeo in celebrating racing victories with fancy paint jobs, the Elise’s four new color combinations start with red, white and gold, echoing the Lotus Type 49B that Graham Hill raced in 1968. With the help of the race car’s Ford-Cosworth DFV 3.0 V-8, Hill helped Team Lotus win the championship by 12 points ahead of Matra’s first F1 car, the also-DFV-powered MS10 driven by Jackie Stewart.
Up next is the famous black-and-gold car, referencing the livery of the Lotus Type 72D which Emerson Fittipaldi raced to five victories over the course of the 1972 Formula 1 season. Once again, Team Lotus finished ten points ahead of the Tyrrell-Ford of Jackie Stewart.
More into blue, red, and silver? Those colors sure look good on an Elise, even if you remember that the car originally wearing them, the 1980 Lotus Type 81 driven by Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis, and Mario Andretti was not exactly Colin Chapman’s finest racing machine. Zero wins and a fifth place finish of the season pushed Team Lotus towards coming up with its innovative twin-chassis Type 88 for 1981.
Finally, there’s the blue-and-white Elise Heritage Edition, a tribute to the Type 18 of 1960. Exactly 60 years ago, this was the first Lotus car to achieve a Formula 1 pole position and victory, courtesy of the late Sir Stirling Moss at the Monaco Grand Prix. That year, the championship’s 1-2 trophies went to Cooper-Climax’s Jack Brabham and young Kiwi Bruce McLaren.
An Elise doesn’t come with a long list of options to begin with, but for these Classic Heritage Editions, Lotus made pretty much everything standard. In addition to a DAB digital radio with four speakers, air-conditioning, cruise control, forged alloy wheels, two-piece disc brakes, and black floor mats, these models also come with the interior color pack, which includes the upper door trim and central seat insert finished to match the exterior. There is colorful detailing on the doors, gear selector surround, and dashboard, as well. The blue-and-white car comes with red Alcantara seat inserts.
Naturally, buyers also get a numbered “build plaque” on the vehicle’s dashboard, along with flat pricing for all four variants at £46,250 in the U.K. Lotus points out that the equivalent of $57,179 makes this limited edition $7850 more expensive than a base Elise Sport 220 despite having $14,508-worth of options onboard.
Style and value for money—the Lotus way.