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Fun, fast, sophisticated and intelligent. Words that come to mind when you think of Lotus supercars. They’re iconic both for their Formula One racing success and their on-screen personas in super-spy franchises such as the James Bond films or the 1960’s Avengers television series. When you own a Lotus, you own an extraordinary car.
Icons of Road and Track
The modern image of a Lotus supercar is synonymous with innovation and cutting-edge technology. In 1948, Lotus as a company is still several years off, yet founder Colin Chapman is busy planting its roots. While the first Lotus is absolutely innovative, it is built under limited conditions. He builds the Lotus Mark I, the very first Lotus trials-racer, in his garage while he is a student at The University of London. The Mark is constructed on an Austin 7 chassis using aluminum-bonded plywood with modifications for better handling. He is able to sell the car not long after, which allows him to continue designing competition racers.
Chapman and Dare
Colin Chapman goes on to design Lotus Mark II and is in the process of designing the Mark III when he eventually opens Lotus Engineering Ltd. alongside another Colin – Colin Dare, also a University of London Graduate, in 1952. The Lotus Mark 7 (what today is known simply as the 7) goes into production in 1957 and starts to truly develop the company’s reputation as a creator of formula cars for the road. Car aficionados gush over the rack-and-pinion steering and the aerodynamic shape. They marvel that the engine never seems overworked; no matter how fast the car is traveling, it only takes the slightest wheel turn to correct an imperfection. The Lotus seems to glide along at 120 mph rather than touching the pavement.
Formula One Racing
Lotus begins Formula One racing in 1958 with Team Lotus, which continues through 1994. Team Lotus helps shape Formula One racing as a sport, most specifically the standardized engineering of the vehicle underbodies and wings to create downforce. The company also encourages their customers to enter trial races with their vehicles as well. Team Lotus wins its first Grand Prix in 1960 with Stirling Moss behind the wheel of a Lotus 18, and again in 1963.
Building the Allure
Meanwhile, some smart branding moves assure that the Lotus becomes synonymous not only with speed, but with sophistication and intelligence, due to its association with famous fictional British superspies. The Lotus Espirit S1 famously appears in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and the Espirit Turbo is specially commissioned for For Your Eyes Only (1981). Additionally, the characters Emma Peel and Tara King in the popular 1960’s British series The Avengers drive a variety of Lotus vehicles including a Europa, an Elan +2, an S2 and an S3. Another little known fact is the DeLorean -famous for its appearance in the Back to the Future trilogy- has a Lotus-designed chassis.
Lotus of the 21st Century
While Lotus has evolved more than most car companies, it still stands strong today with three iconic models. The star of the current Lotus lineup is the Lotus Elise. Launched in 1996, it has an aluminum frame and composite body shell, with several racing variants. The Lotus Exige S is currently the only Exige engine on sale and has a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 engine, while the Lotus Evora is released in 2008 and the Evora S Modal was given as a rapid response vehicle to the Rome and Milan Cabinieri.
Customized Policies to Fit Your Needs
When you own a sophisticated speed machine like a Lotus, you want to protect it. At Classic Auto Insurance, we get that and can help you find the perfect coverage. We offer customizable policies that are not just a one size fits all. Our Lotus insurance plans are tailored to each individual customer and vehicle to fit your needs.
Agreed Value Not Stated Value
At Classic Auto Insurance, we offer you Agreed Value coverage on your Lotus. Unlike other insurance companies who want to tell you what your car is worth, we will work with you to determine the real value of your car and write a policy based on that price. In the event your Lotus is totaled in a covered loss, you will receive the exact agreed-upon value on your policy minus your deductible.
Flexible Plans and Rollover Miles
Choose from one of our three mileage plans -1,000, 3,000 or 6,000 miles- to tailor your Lotus insurance policy to your needs. Say for example your plans for attending that last Lotus event of the year never come together. No problem – Classic Auto Insurance offers rollover miles from one year’s policy to the next. We understand plans change and we don’t feel you should lose miles just because you didn’t use them.
Classic Auto Insurance – Affordable Rates for Your Peace of Mind
In addition to Agreed Value, our “Inflation Guard” provides an automatic increase in vehicle coverage every quarter, throughout the policy term, so you don’t have to worry your Lotus may be underinsured. This is just another way we offer peace of mind to Classic Auto customers.
Lotus Roadside Assistance – Call Anytime
Your Lotus is an innovative technical wizard of a vehicle – but that doesn’t mean you will never find yourself broken down on the side of the road. No need to worry – your Classic Auto Insurance policy includes nationwide Lotus roadside assistance with guaranteed flatbed towing. We are just a phone call away.
Track Day Insurance
If you want to drive your Lotus on a race track, we can protect you and your car with an OpenTrack policy, the first and only on-demand daily on-track insurance solution designed for high-valued cars, supercars and exotics.
The Legendary, Lightweight Lotus
Lotus was founded in 1948 by British design engineers Colin Chapman and Colin Dare to cater to privateer racers who could afford to build nearly any type of specialty racing vehicle. Originally, all Lotuses were kit cars and custom-built, and over time Lotus evolved into a consumer automaker with a distinctly exclusive edge.
The Lotus Elise was released in 1996, surrounded by media buzz about the company releasing a radical and revolutionary super-light Lotus that was unlike anything the world had seen before. The Elise was the Lotus Company’s way of returning to the original engineering principles of its founders and rekindling a deep love for the brand that had withered away in the preceding decades.
A two-door roadster, the Elise was given a fiberglass body on an aluminum chassis that was both rigid and ultralight. Not only did its contoured body design keep weight and drag to an absolute minimum, but it also minimized costs at a point when Lotus was struggling to keep the sticker price low enough to appeal to a wide audience.
The original Elise Series 1 had a 1.8 L Rover K-series engine and a 5-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive. Its top speed was 126 mph and it could do zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Because of its low center of gravity and low overall weight, its speed barely dipped around corners and it had surprisingly low fuel consumption compared to other cars of its day.
In 1999, Lotus introduced the Elise 111S, upping the model’s engine power and torque. This Elise could hit a top speed of 132 mph but largely maintained the same look as the Series 1. Over time, Lotus offered many other versions of the Elise: the 340R, the Exige, the Evora, and a variety of Series 2 and Series 3 Elises that explored the outer limits of Lotus design for track and specialty vehicles.
Lotus has used the “Elite” name various ways over time, including two generations of production vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s, the Elite Type 75 in the 70s, and a new concept car in 2010. The first-generation Elite, which is perhaps the most famous, was produced in 1958.
This lightweight two-seater coupe represented many “firsts” for Lotus. It was their first car that used their now-famous all-fiberglass monocoque body, the first Lotus with a permanent hardtop coupe design, and their first model that was truly designed to be a road car rather than a race car. Nevertheless, it was popular among racers and won many class victories in the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Despite its small size, Lotus packed it with power, giving it a 1.2 L Coventry Climax FWE I4 engine with a snappy 4-speed manual transmission. The track version of the engine was known as the “racing fire pump” due to its uses in racing and civil defense.
Many Lotus fans have a special place in their hearts for the Elite. It’s the last of the Lotuses designed by company founder Colin Chapman, for one thing. There’s also something endearing about the original Elite’s prominent round headlights and plucky little lightweight body. Even the weird, angular Elite of the 70s has a certain kind of charm.
However, the Lotus is also known as the “Rodney Dangerfield of race cars” for its puzzling lack of respect in the collectible car market. Even in its heyday of the early 60s, the Elite failed to become a commercial success for Lotus.
Today, Lotus Elites are tracked on a world registry and there are only slightly more than 1,000 remaining on the planet. For a devoted Lotus lover, there’s nothing better than zipping around in a classic Elite – if you can find one.
The Lotus Esprit was designed by a man who is still considered one of the all-time best automotive designers of the 20th century: Giorgetto Giugiaro. He approached Lotus in the early 1970s about creating something as powerful as a Porsche and as beautiful as a Ferrari or Maserati.
By 1976, Lotus was ready to release the Esprit, a futuristic oddity that looked more like a spaceship than a car. It had a unique “folded-paper front end” that seemed to slice through the air. Bond movie fans watched it in a starring role in The Spy Who Loved Me, where the Esprit was given a bit of Hollywood magic to transform itself into a submarine and slide into the sea.
Back in the real world, the original Esprit had a 4-cylinder Lotus 907 engine that, unfortunately, was later discovered to have some major defects including overly high oil consumption and distorted cylinder liners. This tarnished the Esprit’s reputation a bit and caused Lotus to put huge sums of money into further refining the 900 line of engines.
Over time, Lotus would introduce more than 24 variations of the Esprit and would produce more than 10,000 of these seemingly rare vehicles. The Turbo Esprit is one of the most famous variations, with its turbocharged version of the updated 2.2-liter 16-valve engine that could hit a top speed of 152 mph. The Esprit was arguably the first true supercar Lotus ever produced and holds an important – and perhaps peculiar – place in supercar history.
Classic Auto – The Perfect Coverage for Less
Personal service is what we at Classic Auto Insurance pride ourselves in. We love the smooth ride of a sports cars like the Lotus. We also know how much time and effort goes into caring for them. That is why we assist our customers in finding the perfect policy for their individual needs.
Get a free instant Lotus insurance quote online or give us a call today at 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your Lotus. When you drive one of fastest high-performance cars around, the last thing on your mind is insurance. We take the worry out of finding the right policy so you can drive your Lotus in style.
Find out what makes Classic Auto Insurance policies so different right here.