Timelessly brilliant Lotus 2-Eleven for sale

Lusting after a truly lightweight Lotus? There's still nothing like a 2-Eleven

By Matt Bird / Monday, December 6, 2021 / Loading comments

Though consensus is generally positive on the new Lotus Emira, some have inevitably drawn attention to its kerbweight. Even allowing for the various requirements of a new sports car, 1,400kg seemed a lot to the Lotus die-hards. We’re still expecting the car to be brilliant, of course, but for those still committed to the tenets of simplification and lightness, the disappointment would be understandable. So, what about this?

The 2-Eleven is 15 years old in 2022, and no less extreme for the passage of time. At launch it was pitched as “an engineer’s response to the 340R”, that wild Elise-derived track car launched in 1999. Where that was described as “a styling led car”, with all sorts of difficulties if drivers damaged the one-piece body, the 2-Eleven was a “track day enthusiasts’ idea of a track car.” In fact, there were so many of them at Lotus back in the mid-2000s they formed a ‘Saturday Club’ to work on their vision of track-focused Lotus; having spent 11 weeks working on a Circuit Car concept, they had something. The response to that was sufficiently positive for a production run to be given the go ahead, and the 2-Eleven emerged 20 months later.

There were certainly no accusations levelled at this new Lotus about weight, as the pared-back 2-Eleven took hundreds of kilos from even an Exige – the 745kg kerbweight most often quoted only a few more than the first Elise. Yet with tweaks to the supercharged 2ZZ supercharged Toyota engine, the 2-Eleven had roughly twice the power and torque of the S1. Lighter than pretty much every single Elise derivative and more powerful as well, the 2-Eleven was ferociously fast: 60mph came up in less than four seconds, 100mph in less than nine. And you can imagine how much faster that felt without a roof…

The 2-Eleven’s compromises were obvious to all, yet they were deemed more than tolerable for the thrills on offer. That it was great to drive on the road, too – assuming you were in the right clothes – only increased the acclaim for the odd-looking Lotus. Sublime to drive on road, even better on track and phenomenally quick with it, the 2-Eleven overdelivered on traditional Lotus appeal. Which will no doubt feel even more exhilarating a decade and a half later.

This one is an early 2-Eleven build, assembled by Lotus Motorsport in early 2008. It’s the only one for sale on PH (which is no great surprise, as only 100 or so were built), with 10,000 miles recorded. The advert does mention “age and track related wear”, and six owners might put some off, but the 2-Eleven really isn’t a car just to park up and admire. Plus, it’s easy to imagine the Lotus proving a little too hardcore for some who thought they liked the idea. On the other hand there’s also plenty to be encouraged by: there was a service with four new tyres this year (less than 1500 miles ago), a 260hp ECU was supplied by Lotus Sport early in its life and the 2-Eleven is supplied with plenty of past paperwork.

The alternatives to the 2-Eleven now are as plentiful as when it was launched – there are all manner of Atoms and Caterhams that might tempt a buyer away. Moreover, for the £46,000 this the 2-Eleven costs, the appeal of a later, V6-engined Lotus Exige – with its roof, heater and radio – has to be considered as well. But even one of those is another third of a tonne heavier; for all that’s great about Lotus and lightweight sports cars, nothing quite does it like a 2-Eleven.

See the original advert here.

  • Lotus 3-Eleven | UK Review
  • 2022 Lotus Emira officially revealed

Source: Read Full Article