Lotus Elise Gets An F1-Inspired Makeover

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Nevermind the Evija for a moment, have a look at this.

It's been nearly a decade since the plucky, lightweight little Lotus Elise has been sold new in the US. A casualty of strict NHTSA airbag rules, the Elise was rendered ineligible for registration with the arrival of the Series 3 in 2011. We've been forced to admire it from afar ever since. Sure, there's the upcoming Lotus Evija electric hypercar on the way, but that's a completely different animal.

A new collection of factory racing liveries for the road-going Elise is seriously making us consider phoning our democratically elected representatives. The liveries, along with corresponding matching interior treatments, constitute a lineup of Lotus Elise Classic Heritage Edition models, introduced to celebrate Lotus's long, proud history in Formula 1 racing.

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Lotus
Lotus

The dark blue-and-white design scheme, for example, commemorates the first F1 pole position and victory Lotus ever had, delivered by the late Sir Stirling Moss at Monaco in 1960. The red-white-and-gold car recalls the Type 49B race car that Triple Crown-winning legend Graham Hill raced in 1968, and the black-and-gold design, among the most famous F1 liveries of all time, pays homage to the Type 72D that Emerson Fittipaldi drove to five race wins in 1972.

The blue-red-and-silver car was inspired by the sharp-looking Type 81 race cars driven by Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis, and Mario Andretti during the 1980 season.

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Lotus
Lotus
Lotus

Just 100 of these Lotus Elise Classic Heritage Edition cars will be built, each standard with a special serialized dash applique, super-lightweight forged wheels with a racing livery finish, and high-performance two-piece disc brakes. They're based on the 220-horsepower Lotus Elise Sport 220, and priced at €47,848 - about $51,600 US.

Making waves in the racing world "has been at the heart of the Lotus philosophy for more than seven decades," Lotus's Head of Product Marketing, Ema Forster, says. "What better way to celebrate than by... launching four new Classic Heritage cars which fans will instantly recognize?"

If, like us, you're feeling a twinge of sadness and jealousy reading this, worry not; an all-new Lotus sports car could bow as soon as later this year, possibly ahead of a next-generation Elise, Exige, and Evora, and the new model will almost definitely be sold in the US.

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