Between the three model lines and over the course of 26 years, a total of 51,738 cars will have come off the production line – representing nearly half of Lotus’ total production in its 73-year history. In addition to that, a further 9,715 cars were built for Lotus’ third-party clients, such as GM and Tesla.
The last examples of the Elise (a yellow Sport 240 Final Edition, #35,124), Exige (Heritage Racing Green Cup 430 Final Edition, #10,497), and Evora (Dark Metallic Grey GT430 Sport, #6,117) will be reserved for safekeeping in Lotus’ growing heritage collection.
As production of these cars draw to an end, the current assembly lines – which were installed in 2,000 to ramp up production – will be dismantled and replaced with new “state-of-the-art” semi-automated facilities for the production of the all-new Lotus Emira, which will jump into full-scale production in spring after the prototype and test phases currently underway are completed.
Lotus Cars Managing Director, Matt Windle said: “First of all, I would like to thank the Lotus team who have worked on the Elise, Exige, and Evora over the years and who are now transferring to Emira and Evija manufacturing. I would also like to convey enormous gratitude to all the customers of the Elise, Exige, and Evora over the last 26 years for their passion, enthusiasm and support.
“These customers have given our ‘three Es’ true cult status – usually reserved for long-out-of-production classics. As we say farewell to the last few cars, we look forward to the Emira and Evija in the all-new factories at Hethel and sub-assembly facilities in Norwich, which introduce greater efficiencies and automation, higher quality and flexibility and the hugely exciting next chapter in our Vision80 strategy.”
Design Director, Russell Carr added, “These iconic cars have not only played a huge role in Lotus’ 73-year history but have also been ever-present in my daily life. Together with the Lotus design team, I have lived and breathed these cars for over 26 years.
“We will miss them, but a bit like Christmas, once it’s over, the excitement for the next one starts to build – and that’s what’s happening now at Lotus with the Evija, Emira, and forthcoming Type 132. 2022 is going to be a great year as a new Lotus generation swings into action.”
Lotus Head of Vehicle Concepts, Richard Rackham, who was also the vehicle architect on the Lotus Elise and part of the team that pioneered extruded and bonded aluminium technology in the automotive industry said, “The impact of these three cars has been spectacular over the years, technically, structurally and dynamically.
“But all technologies and innovations move on and, if you had asked me of my proudest moment four years ago, I would have, without hesitation, said the Elise chassis. However, this has been usurped by our new Project LEVA architecture for our new range of electric sports cars, starting with the Type 135 in a few years’ time. This is now the zenith of Lotus architectures, as it has moved the technology game so much further. There is a lot to look forward to.”
These cars have not only played a huge part in Lotus’ history, but also the lives of many owners and fans. Enjoy your retirement, you absolute legends – cheers.