The Elise may live on as Lotus considers selling tooling
After 25 years of lightweight thrills, Lotus is stopping production of the Elise—but it may not be the end of the line after all. The small British sports car maker says it is open to selling the car’s tooling to another manufacturer.
Lotus boss Matt Windle told Automotive News Europe, “If the right project and the right partner came along, I do not see why not. It’s a wonderful car.”
The innovative bonded aluminum chassis was what made the Elise and the subsequent Exige and Evora such a success. This revolutionary manufacturing technique did away with heavy and difficult welds, to give the Elise the Lotus trademark of minimal mass. The platform was also modular and capable of handling a number of different powertrains from the original 1.6-liter Rover K-Series up to a 3.5-liter Toyota V-6.
If the idea of Lotus selling the tooling and rights to a diminutive sports car sounds familiar that’s because it would be history repeating itself. Back in 1973 the Seven was sold on to Caterham Cars which has been manufacturing it in kit and ready-to-run versions ever since. Caterham itself was recently sold to its Japanese importer VT Holdings which also sells Lotus cars in Japan. As you can imagine, the forums are buzzing with the possibility of another Lotus being reborn with a Caterham badge.