It may be getting on a bit, but the Lotus Elise remains one of the most engaging sports cars money can buy. If you want to know what’s meant by ‘steering feel’, the Elise is the car to teach you the lesson..
With that in mind, we can’t be mad at Lotus for bringing out a seemingly endless succession of specials while we wait for the elusive next-gen version of the car. Particularly as the latest batch of Elises - the Classic Heritage Editions - pay homage to classic Lotus F1 liveries. Right in the retro feels.
There are four to choose from, starting with the black and gold ‘John Player Special’ colour scheme (top and above images). It’s been used over many seasons, including very recently after Genii Capital bought Renault (only to sell it back to the French company a few years later). Specifically, though, the Type 72D served as inspiration for this one. Emerson Fittipaldi drove this version of the multiple championship-winning 72 to great success, bagging numerous wins and the 1972 Driver’s title.
Next up there’s the red, white and gold theme, taken from - you guessed it - more cigarette company sponsorship. Ah, the 1970s!
The ‘Gold Leaf’ scheme was daubed on the Type 49B, the car Graham Hill used to win the Driver’s Championship in 1968.
Heritage Edition number three is an homage to the Type 81. Driven by Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis and Mario Andretti in the 1980 season, it’s one of the less competitive entries in Lotus’ incredible back-catalogue, with its best result of second-place scored by de Angelis at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The fourth and final special Elise features a blue and white livery, echoing the design used for the Type 18. As well as being Lotus’ first mid-engined car, the 18 also provided the brand’s first F1 pole position and victory via Sir Stirling Moss. The location? Fittingly, Monaco.
As for the car that gets to wear all these snazzy liveries, it’ll cost you £46,250, just under £12,000 more than the Elise Cup 220 used as a starting point. You’re given more stuff as standard, though, including DAB radio, air-con, cruise control, lightweight forged wheels and upgraded brakes. Production is limited to 100 units.
Which of the four would it be for you?