LOTUS has called time on its Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars, with the very last examples of the trio photographed on site with many of the team who contributed to the design, engineering, assembly and sales of the vehicles.
Between these three model lines and over the course of 26 years, a total of 51,738 cars will have come off the production line. Combined, they represent almost half of the total production of Lotus in its 73-year history.
In addition, 9,715 sports cars were built for Lotus’ third-party clients, including GM and Tesla. From 1996 to 2000, the first-generation Elise and Exige sports cars were built in a small assembly hall at Hethel alongside the Lotus Esprit.
The current assembly lines, which were installed in 2000, will be dismantled and replaced with state-of-the-art facilities in support of the Emira factory. Full production of that car begins next year, after the prototype and test phases currently underway are completed.
The last examples of the three core models are reserved for Lotus’ growing heritage collection, with the final Elise, a Sport 240 Final Edition, finished in Yellow and the last of 35,124 cars.
The last Exige, a Cup 430 Final Edition in Heritage Racing Green – number 10,497; and the last Evora – a GT430 Sport finished in Dark Metallic Grey – the last of a production run of 6,117 – complete the collection.
“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,” Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle said.
“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,” he added.
“These customers have given our ‘three Es’ true cult status – usually reserved for long-out-of-production classics.”
Design director Russell Carr echoed the sentiment, saying he and the team would miss the iconic trio.
“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,” he said.
Next out of the Lotus stable is the Emira, the critically acclaimed new mid-engineered sports car from Lotus. Launched last July at Hethel and on a world tour ever since, it’s the last petrol-powered car from Lotus.
Joining the first electric Lotus – the Evija hypercar and the most powerful production car in the world – will be the all-electric Type 132, Lotus’ first SUV, which will be revealed to the world in quarter two next year.