In their early days, Lotus cars weren’t meant for the roads. They weren’t meant for the casual enthusiast, or for the driver unwilling to repair their own vehicle. They were purpose-built for performance and domination on the racetrack, just as Colin Chapman wanted.
A young graduate of University College, London, Chapman set to work on creating his first car in 1948. Dubbed the Mark 1 only after the creation of the Mark 2, his first design was used for local trials races. After winning a few, he had enough money saved to create his second car in 1949, officially named the Lotus Mark II. Just three years later, the Lotus Engineering Company was created.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Lotus produced road cars in order to finance their endeavors into the world of F1 racing. The Elite was the first production Lotus for sale, a Lotus kit car with a price of $5,700 in 1960, which equates to approximately $40,000 today. With a body and structure constructed from fiberglass, the Elites became too expensive to produce, leading to the steel frame under a fiberglass body developed for the Elan.
The Elan Plus Two was the first car from Lotus to be sold exclusively in factory-form, followed by the Eclat and the revived Elite of the mid 1970s. Each was a four-seat car aimed at attracting a different type of clientele, offering air condition and automatic transmission options. At the same time, they were developing and selling the Esprit, which retains its popularity to this day.
Lotus dominated the F1 circuits until 1995, at which point the team retired from racing after decades of instilling innovative practices and designs into the racing world. From the first use of a monocoque chassis in 1962 to the first multi-element rear wing used in 1970, Lotus effectively redesigned the racing world one aspect at a time.
Whether you’re searching for a new or used Lotus, a member of our trusted network will be able to help you find the perfect fit with ease. Be sure to browse our inventory and reach out to the Lotus dealer nearest to you.