In the 1990s, Lotus was busy preparing a sports car that’d go on to define the company’s modern era. It needed a name, and going by Hethel convention, that title needed to start with the letter E. In the end, inspiration came from the granddaughter of Lotus Cars owner and Romano Artioli - Elisa.
While only two and a half years at the time, Elisa took part in the car’s original presentation at the Frankfurt Motor Show. When she was four, Romano (who also once owned Bugatti in the mad EB110 era) bought her an Elise - a silver Series 1 she still owns and drives today. On Thursday, Elisa personally picked up the keys to another Elise at Hethel - the final customer car.
Part of the Final Edition series, it’s a Sport 240 finished in Championship Gold. It’s considerably more powerful than the S1 revealed in Frankfurt all those years ago, with a supercharged 1.8-litre Toyota inline-four producing 240bhp. While quite a bit heavier than the original, it’s still an exceptionally light car by modern sports car standards, tipping the scales at just 922kg.
After a quarter of a century on sale over 35,000 Elises were built by Lotus across three generations. Elisa picking up the last one seems like a fitting end to the car’s success story.