Lotus vehicle history

Lotus was started in 1952 by Colin Chapman, an icon of motor racing. It is currently owned by Malaysian auto manufacturer Proton, after the bankruptcy of former owner Bugatti in 1994, and is located in Norfolk, England. The company has had success in motor racing, especially Formula 1, having won 7 world championships between 1963 and 1978. Their very first race win came courtesy of legendary British driver Sir Stirling Moss in 1960.

Lotus is actually a group of two companies, Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering. The engineering division has worked closely with other manufacturers to produce suspension and powertrain components; for example GM’s 4-cylinder Ecotec engine was manufactured by Lotus, and it powers several cars in GM member companies, among them Vauxhall, Opel and Chevrolet. These engineering feats have also been achieved in racing, with Lotus having made the mid-engine layout popular for IndyCars in the U.S. In addition, they developed the first monocoque Formula1 chassis, and were the first to integrate engine and transaxle into the car’s chassis.

Lotus Models

By this time it should come as no surprise that all of Lotus’ offerings in New Zealand are sports cars, and some even have a more hardcore track variant. First up is the 2-Eleven, which is an open-top racer that actually has to be changed to make it road-legal. It’s really more of a trackday tool. Next is Lotus’ best-known model the Elise, a small lightweight roadster that despite its anaemic-sounding 1.8-litre engine is capable of amazing acceleration and speed, mainly due to its light weight. The Europa is Lotus’ concession to making a more upmarket, usable sports car, but it is still sorely lacking in equipment and practicality compared to rivals. The Exige is a coupe brother to the Elise roadster, and is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission and supercharged 1.8-litre engine.

Looking at buying a Lotus? Check the vehicle history of any Lotus by entering its number plate in the field above.