The Lotus Elise marked the beginning of a new era for the famed British automaker, known around the globe for its lightweight, focused sports cars. The nimble couple was introduced to the marketplace in the distant past of 1996, Over the years, it’s received a facelift, new engines and a smattering of updates. Now, after 25 years, Lotus is ending production of the Elise as it moves on to new things—but the story may not yet be over. Lotus managing director Matt Windle has indicated the company is open to selling the tooling to a third party manufacturer, reports Automotive News Europe.
“If the right project and the right partner came along, I do not see why not. It’s a wonderful car,” Windle told Automotive News Europe. There’s a historical precedent for such a move, with Lotus selling the tooling for the open-top Seven to Caterham in 1973. The latter company has kept the Seven name alive ever since, shipping its interpretation of the classic all over the world.
While Caterham might seem like a perfect fit to take on the Elise, the timing may be less than ideal. Recently purchased by VT Holdings, a Japanese importer, the company is going through a transitional period under its new ownership. “I think they are just trying to sort out what their plans are going forward,” Windle said, when asked about the possibility.
Occupying a unique spot in the marketplace, and with fans of the nameplate all over the world, the Elise makes a compelling proposition for a boutique manufacturer to snap it up. It has great pedigree, after all, demonstrated ably by its final edition. While it’s falling by the wayside due to Lotus moving on and running out of space to build it, it nonetheless could still live on if it finds the right home. Here’s hoping it does.
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