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Lotus will reveal its new electric hypercar in July

Lotus Type 130 teaser

Lotus has confirmed it will reveal its all-new electric car in July – which it describes as the ‘world’s first British all-electric hypercar’.

Currently carrying the project code ‘Type 130’, the new model will make its world debut in central London on 16 July, ahead of deliveries beginning in 2020.

Just 130 models will be built.

Lotus confirmed the new car at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. Since then, it says “several hundred” potential customers have expressed an interest.

Each one will be built at its Norfolk factory.

Lotus is describing the car as an all-new model – it’s first since the Evora more than a decade ago. A short teaser video reveals little (apart from a smart illuminated ‘LOTUS’ script) but is sure to raise interest further in the lightweight Lotus EV.

“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished road car in the company’s history,” says the firm, “continuing a bloodline rich in firsts and technical game-changers in automotive and motorsport.”

Earlier this year, Lotus announced a deal with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop advanced propulsion systems. The new Type 130 may be the first beneficiary of this partnership. 

Type 130: Lotus confirms all-electric hypercar

Lotus Type 130

Lotus has chosen the Auto Shanghai show in China, the home of parent company Geely, to confirm that it is preparing an all-new car. It will be Britain’s first all-electric hypercar, and the company’s first all-new model since 2008.

That’s right, the Norfolk firm’s first new car for over 11 years is going to be a world-beating all-electric hypercar. Geely isn’t holding back on the world-famous sports car proprietor that it’s now bankrolling.

Type 130: everything we know so far

In truth, we don’t know an awful lot. Given the word ‘hypercar’, we can safely bet it’s going to have over 700hp, but power is likely to be in the region of 1,000hp or more,if Pininfarina and Rimac fans are to be sated.

Given that this is Lotus, expect it to be lightweight, too. Not a feat easily achieved when electric power and the associated batteries are involved.

Let’s hope ‘simplify and add lightness’ hasn’t become ‘simplify and add electricity’.

Lotus insists the Type 130 will be the latest and greatest in a long line of game-changers. Indeed, the promotional video references plenty of Lotus’s past F1 greats. The name Type 130 is meant to follow on from the revolutionary Elise, the Type 111, as well as a lifetime of revolutionary F1 machinery.

What we can guarantee is that there will be no Cosworth DFV V8 soundtrack with this new Lotus… Still, the ‘For the drivers’ tag line makes us cautiously optimistic.

“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished Lotus in our history,” said Lotus CEO Phil Popham.

“It marks a turning point for our brand and is a showcase of what we are capable of and what is to come from Lotus.”

The car will be revealed in London later this year, so we don’t have long to wait before we learn more. What is certain is that this is the first in a coming onslaught of Lotus product. Let’s hope they make Bahar’s old plans look as pedestrian as they were ambitious.

Lotus to partner with Williams to develop ‘advanced propulsion systems’

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Two British titans of Formula One past and present are joining forces. Lotus and Williams Advanced Engineering have announced a ‘strategic technical partnership in which the companies will share research and development into advanced propulsion technologies’.

What’s obvious is this has nothing to do with Formula One. ‘Advanced propulsion technologies’ sounds like Williams-developed batteries in an electric Lotus  and potentially Volvos (via Lotus parent company Geely), too.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Both companies have a history of jumping into bed with other manufacturers to bring go-faster fruit to bear. Who fancies a Lotus Carlton versus Renault Clio Williams twin-test?

Also, both companies have industry-favourite engineering subsidiaries. Lotus Engineering has helped develop various technologies and many cars over the years.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Williams Advanced Engineering, meanwhile, is currently working on the Dendrobium electric hypercar. With these two performance and technology superpowers combined, the sky could be the limit.

Not coincidentally, we think, Lotus is rumoured to be working on an all-electric hypercar with more than 1,000hp. If true, you can bet Williams will be on the shop floor, further cornering the electric hypercar market.

“Our new technology partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering is part of a strategy to expand our knowledge and capability in the rapidly changing automotive landscape,” said Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars.

“Applying advanced propulsion powertrains can provide numerous exciting solutions across multiple vehicle sectors. Our combined and complementary experiences make this a very compelling match of engineering talent, technical ability and pioneering British spirit.”

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Likewise, Craig Wilson, MD of Williams Advanced Engineering, said, “We will be further developing next-generation powertrains in this partnership with Lotus.”

What do you want to see come out of this partnership? Could we see a Tesla Roadster-rivalling next-generation Elise or Esprit, or even a world-beating hypercar?

Lotus drifts into Christmas with tree-laden Evora 410

#DriftmasEvora being filmed during #MerryDriftmas video

It’s a very Merry ‘Driftmas’ from the fun-loving bods at Lotus, this morning. Watch an Evora 410 – complete with Christmas tree – carve some shapes around the marque’s compound, as employees look on in astonishment. There are a few choice car cameos, too…

The accompanying statement from the classic Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer claims: “while many look back over the year during the festive season, Lotus looks sideways” – that’s what we like to see. An appropriate vehicle is required to shuttle a Christmas tree around in suitable crossed-up style – meet the #DriftmasEvora.

#DriftmasEvora drifts around the Lotus Cars site

Of course, the Lotus Evora 410 doesn’t come standard with provisions to mount a Christmas tree. So the ‘Driftmas’ Evora required a few modifications before it could carry a Christmas tree and hold it at speed.

#DriftmasEvora Lotus GT410 Sport rear with Christmas tree

In the video we see the Evora, complete with tree, slithering up to the security gates, as a somewhat perplexed and disapproving guard grants it access. A few token sideways laps of the roundabout thereafter set the tone. The Evora then heads toward the production facility, passing a famous Esprit along the way.

#MerryDriftmas video included some exciting Lotus Cars cameos including a familiar Lotus Esprit

Sliding into the production facility, things are calmed down for the quiet and clean assembly line. Production staff, complete with Santa hat, look on in disapproval once again. Note the John Player Special-liveried Lotus 72 sitting pretty.

Classic Team Lotus loaned an interesting addition for #MerryDriftmas filming, an iconic Lotus 72

Out into the quality testing area for some token skids, before slaloming round some Lotus loveliness in the car park. Up to the dealer before coming to a stop as the festive tunes ring out. Yes, we spotted the Lotus bike!

#DriftmasEvora inside the factory alongside a selection of Lotus cars being built at its Hethel, UK site

Obviously, this required some expert camera work and state of the art equipment. Check out those drone shots! 

What a fun way to see out the year as well as demonstrate the delicate dynamic capability of one of the marque’s fastest models to date. It’s nice to get a teasing look at the inner workings of Lotus as well as see some special historical cameos.

#DriftmasEvora Lotus GT410 Sport lines up outside #HandmadeinHethel factory before burning off sideways for #MerryDriftmas video

If Lotus goes into 2019 as it’s ended 2018, next year should be quite a laugh with our friends from Hethel. A very merry ‘Driftmas’ and a Hethel new year, to all.

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Elisa Artioli at Lotus HQ

Woman who gave Lotus Elise its name reunited with first car

Elisa Artioli at Lotus HQ

More than 22 years after the launch of Lotus’ iconic back-to-basics sports car, the woman after whom it was named has returned to Norfolk to meet the Elise.

Elisa Artioli was the granddaughter of Romano Artioli, chairman of Lotus in 1995. Back then she was a little girl and can be seen posing with her granddad on the first production Elise.

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As well as taking the Exige Sport 410 and Evora GT410 Sport for her first drive around Hethel, she was also reunited with that original Elise.

There’s no word yet on whether Elisa’s more hardcore brother, Exige, is planning a trip any time soon…

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Lotus Mark 1

Lotus needs your help to find its first ever car

Lotus Mark 1

In its 70th year, Lotus is rightly looking back at all aspects of its history, while also looking forward to a new era of investment from Geely. In going back to the very beginning, however, Lotus might just need your help. The marque is on the hunt for the very first car its founder, Colin Chapman, ever built: the 1948 Lotus Mark I.

It’s no surprise that Lotus is having a job tracking the car down. Despite its existence being well documented, there’s been no trace of the Mark I since it was sold in November 1950.

The car was based on an Austin 7. Typically, Chapman’s modifications comprised mainly of reducing weight, along with extensive chassis and suspension improvements. The car was campaigned in English Trials – primordial British rally events. His continued modification of, and success with, the Mark I proved to Chapman he had a future in motoring and racing. The “holy grail of Lotus’ history”, indeed.

Lotus Mark 1

“It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car” said Clive Chapman, Colin’s son and director of Classic Team Lotus.

“To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement. We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to.

“It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.”

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Lotus 70

Lotus celebrates 70th in tyre-smoking style

Lotus 70

This is a very special year for Lotus Cars. It’s the 70th anniversary of the historic British marque and it’s celebrating in style.

Remember Colin Chapman’s famous old mantra? Simplify, then add lightness? It is a methodology the marque has lived by for its road and racing cars since its inception – and it’s now followed suit with its 70th anniversary celebration video…

True to Lotus tradition, there’s no frippery or fakery here. “Rather than rely on artificial aids or electronic trickery, the new video perfectly reflects Lotus’s approach to sports cars”.

It depicts an Exige Sport 410 and an Evora GT410 Sport ripping around the company’s Hethel circuit smoking tyres in no particular direction. Nothing wrong with smoke for smoke’s sake. It is a special birthday, after all.

Then, we get a wide shot and, lo and behold, a rubber ’70’ is seen sprawled out, with the Exige adding just a bit more for good measure. Brilliant.

Lotus is fervent in stressing that “no CGI and more than a few pairs of tyres” were all that went into it. That, combined with some very skilled driving courtesy of Gavan Kershaw, head of attributes and Daniel Peck, vehicle dynamics engineer…

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Lotus Evora GT430

Lotus Evora GT430 review: the fastest and most expensive Lotus ever

With a six-figure price tag and a top speed nudging 200mph, the Lotus Evora GT430 is a superb track car – and a formidable road machine, too

Ford Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

We reunite Ford Lotus Cortina TV star with its owner after 40 years

Ford Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years onSome people remember names, others never forget a face. A select few of us even recall our online passwords. Rob Jones, however, has an uncanny memory for car number plates. Hey, we all need a party trick.

Rob knows the registration marks of every car he’s ever owned, from the MG Midget he bought after passing his test to the SEAT Leon Cupra he drives today. And one of those remembered registrations – FGF 113C – led to an emotional reunion with the car he owned 40 years ago.

Like many great love stories, our tale begins on a sofa in front of the telly. The show was ‘Car SOS’, and presenters Fuzz Townshend and Tim Shaw were battling to restore a Mk1 Ford Cortina GT from little more than a bare shell.

Made in DagenhamFord Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

Seeking inspiration, the team visited Ford’s heritage workshop in Dagenham. Their mission: to drive the GT’s big brother – the legendary Lotus Cortina. Rob nearly fell off his sofa. This immaculate white-and-green classic, hailed by Tim as “a sensation of the era”, wore the same number plate as a Lotus Cortina he’d bought in 1976.

“It had to be the same car,” explains Rob, “but I searched through my old photos to be sure.” The Polaroid print he found proved it beyond doubt. There was Rob, in glorious faded sepia, wearing a pair of turned-up flares and leaning on a Lotus Cortina, registration: FGF 113C.

The Ford heritage workshop is usually off-limits to the public, so Rob contacted Motoring Research – having seen our gallery feature on the Dagenham collection. A few excited emails later, Rob had a date in Dagenham. Even better, it was on his birthday.

From road to racetrackFord Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

Before our heart-warming ‘boy meets car’ moment, a few words on the Lotus Cortina. This skunkworks special was launched in 1963 and is arguably the first fast Ford. It packs a 106hp 1.6-litre Lotus engine and close-ratio Ford gearbox, clothed in lightweight alloy panels.

Tipping the scales at just 826kg, the Lotus Cortina reached 60mph in 9.9 seconds, plus a top speed of 108mph. It was an instant hit on the racetrack, with Jim Clark winning the British Saloon Car title in 1964, then Alan Mann Racing clinching the European title in 1965.

A total of 3,301 Mk1 Lotus Cortinas were built before the squarer Mk2 arrived in 1967. By this point, well-publicised reliability problems and the launch of the Escort Twin Cam meant the Cortina’s star was fading. But it has gone supernova since, with prices for concours examples stretching well into six figures.

Show some appreciationFord Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

Rob negotiated a rather better deal. “I paid £370 for my Cortina,” he laughs, “then sold it for £500 eight months later. I didn’t own it long as I kept having problems with the starter motor. The ring gears would slip or jam – I ended up replacing them about once a month.”

There are no such issues when, four decades on, Rob twists the key of his old car. The twin-cam engine bursts raucously into life, its throaty bark reverberating off the walls of Ford’s workshop – a huge warehouse that used to be a truck factory. Rob’s smile says it all.

“This brings it all back,” he beams. “I was a Lotus fanatic, but I couldn’t afford an Elan – so this was my dream car at the time. It’s been lowered a couple of inches since I owned it, but otherwise nothing much has changed.”

For the custodians of Ford’s heritage fleet, Rob’s visit provides a valuable chance to fill in the blanks about this Cortina’s history. “We don’t know much about the car before it came to us,” they admit.

A Christmas crashFord Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

One story in particular raises a few eyebrows. “Yeah, I crashed it,” admits Rob. “I’d just finished my Christmas shopping. I pulled out of a pub car park in Newbury [sober, he adds] and got sideswiped by an Austin 1100. It ploughed into the nearside wing and I ended up paying a £25 fine as it was his right of way.”

On the rain-drenched roads of Dagenham, Rob is being extra-careful: “I didn’t want to push it in the wet. I’m very conscious the car is worth a few quid more than when I owned it.”

It’s clear Rob loves being back behind the skinny wooden wheel, though. “It’s just lovely. I remember that twin-cam sound – and the smell. But the steering is so heavy compared to a modern car. You need muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger to do a three-point turn.”

A great motoring memoryFord Lotus Cortina TV star reunited with owner 40 years on

Rob has owned many cars over the past 40 years, including several self-built Ginetta sports cars, but the Cortina is the one he wishes he’d kept. “Just being back behind the wheel felt special. I’d have another, definitely. I just need to discover one in a barn.”

Seeing Rob reunited with his Lotus Cortina reaffirmed our belief that cars are more than mere transport. They bookend periods in our lives, our memories of past journeys and destinations inexorably linked to the vehicles we travelled in.

For Rob, driving the car he owned in 1976 is the closest he’ll get to time travel. And unlike his flares, the Lotus Cortina hasn’t aged a day.