Final Lotus Elise delivered to Elisa Artioli, the person that gave it its name

If you somehow haven’t heard yet, Lotus is discontinuing the Elise and Exige to make way for a new generation of sports cars. But not all endings have to be bitter; in fact, it was pretty much the complete opposite in this case, because the final Elise that just rolled off the factory floor in Hethel last week has been delivered to a very special person: Elisa Artioli, the Elise’s namesake. A perfect full circle.

Elisa’s grandfather, Romano Artioli, was the Chairman of Lotus and Bugatti from 1993 to 1996. And when it was time to name the sportscar that would ultimately change the marque’s fortune, Artioli looked to his granddaughter. It was an obvious choice for him: he loves both dearly, and her name too begins with the letter ‘E’ – a perfect match for Lotus’ eccentric naming structure.

Come 1995, when the Lotus Elise was unveiled for the first time ever at the Frankfurt Motor Show, little Elisa – who at that time was just two and a half years old – even helped with the car’s presentation!

Her new Elise is a Sport 240 Final Edition, which she has named Sunshine after its championship Gold paint. The 240 in the name stands for 240 bhp (243 hp), supplied by the Toyota 2ZR-FE 1.8 litre supercharged inline-four cylinder engine. Specs wise, Elisa’s Sunshine comes decked out in blacked-out trims both inside and out, alongside anthracite wheels and red brake calipers.

Aside from the new Final Edition, Elisa also has a Series 1 Elise that was gifted to her by her grandfather when she was just four years old – more than a decade before she can even (legally) drive it! Elisa still drives the silver-coloured S1 almost daily as part of her motoring life, which she documents on her Instagram account and YouTube channel, which also features interviews with her grandparents.

Twenty-seven years and 35,142 units later, the Elise’s saga has now come to a close, but Lotus’ new era is just about to begin, starting with the Emira – the Elise’s direct replacement and Lotus’ last pure internal combustion sports car – and to be followed by the Evija, kick-starting the marque’s electrification future.

Sending off the iconic sports car, Elisa penned an emotional letter which ended with this tearjerker: “Dear Elise, I accompanied you from start to finish, just as you will with my life.”

Closer to home, the Lotus Elise and Exige’s Final Edition models are still available for sale via Lotus Car’s distributor here in Malaysia, Lotus Karz. Although, as the name suggests, very limited units are available.


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