Lotus' latest is a tribute to the Lotus Type 25, the Formula 1 car that gave the British firm its first World Championship.
Storied British sports-car builder Lotus has had a rough go of it over the last decade. The company hasn't produced a truly new car since the Evora in 2009 and struggled under the ownership of Malaysian automaker Proton. Lotus has since found a new benefactor in Geely, the same Chinese automaker that owns Volvo, so development dollars are rolling in for a new SUV. But until the first high-riding Lotus comes to fruition, the company needs to keep the lights on with special editions. The latest is this: the Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25.
Despite a 1,586-word press release announcing the model's addition, the Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 is just two steps away from being a paint-and-sticker pack for the normal Cup 430. There are no mechanical changes. As such, the Type 25 makes do with the same Toyota-derived 3.5-liter supercharged V6 producing 430 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque as the normal Cup 430. So, what's the point, you may ask? It's a tribute car that pays homage to the Formula 1 car of the same name. The original Type 25 is famous for earning Lotus its first Formula 1 Driver's and Constructor’s World Championships with the formidable Jim Clark behind the wheel.
Setting the Type 25 apart is a choice between British Racing Green or Old English White exterior paint, “with subtle but sharp contrasting pinstripes on the front splitter, front access panel, new and unique bargeboards, roof panel and rear wing, as well as unique decals on each rear buttress,” said Lotus in the release. Owners will be able to pick up the car at the factory and each will be given a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. It also comes with a book about Lotus' first champion driver, “Jim Clark: Tribute to a Champion” by Eric Dymock, which is signed by Colin Chapman's son Clive and Bob Dance, Jim Clark's principal mechanic.
Just like the Cup 430, the Type 25 takes just 3.2 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start, on its way to a top speed of 180 mph. Only 25 copies of the Cup 430 Type 25 will be built. Lotus didn't release pricing details, but expect it to be fairly steep as it is considered more a collector's item than a car you take out on track days. And if you're American, I just wasted your time: it won't be coming here, no matter how much money you're willing to pay for it.