The Recent Lotus Elise Series 1 Sports Car

A review of The Recent Lotus Elise Series 1 Sports Car, covering development, important features, and technical data of this the twenty ninth model in the Lotus range.

In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at the Recent Lotus Elise Series 1, one of an elite group of classic cars, which was manufactured during the period 1996 to 2000.

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The Lotus Elise Series 1

Originally, in 1994, the Lotus Elise sports car was projected as a two seater, mid-engined, low production convertible.

It featured a fibreglass body on a lightweight aluminium spaceframe chassis, together with a galvanised steel subframe which supported the engine.

It was powered by an all aluminium Rover K-Series, 1796 cc, 4-cylinder, 16 valve, double overhead cam engine.

Fitted with fuel injection, it developed 118 bhp at 5500 rpm, and 122 ft/lbs of torque at 3000 rpm.

With its high power-to-weight ratio, it produced a top speed of 126 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 secs.

The Series 1 Elise was launched in 1996, and was designated the Type 111.

Elisa, the granddaughter of the chairman of Lotus and Bugatti, leant her name to the Elise.

Julian Thomson, head of design at Lotus, was instrumental in the car’s styling.

It had independent suspension all round, a five speed gearbox, and disc brakes fitted on all wheels.

With the passenger’s seat fixed, the adjustable driver’s seat was positioned near the centre of the car, so maximising peripheral vision.

The Lotus Elise GTI

Introduced in 1997, and designated the Type 115, the Lotus Elise GT1 sports racer was powered by a 3506 cc, twin turbo, V8 engine, developing 580 bhp at 7500 rpm, and 288 ft/lbs of torque at 6500 rpm.

With a body made from carbon fibre on an Elise spaceframe chassis, and fitted with a Hewland six speed gearbox, it had a top speed of 195 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 secs.

It used vented disc brakes all round.

At least one GTI sports car was built in a street legal format.

The Lotus Elise Sport 135

The Lotus Elise Sport 135 sports car was introduced in November 1998 as a limited edition of 50 units, and its Rover K-Series engine was modified to develop 135 bhp.

It was fitted with a close ratio gearbox, sports exhaust, stiffened suspension, drilled disc brakes, metallic silver paint with a blue tinge, sports seats, roll over bar, and distinctive Sport 135 body graphics.

In 1999, additional units were built which featured Elise 111S wheels, and “Sport 135 99” logos.

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