In our discussion of the all-time greatest liveries there were a lot of mentions of famous Lotus paint schemes (BRG & Yellow, Team Essex Blue & Red, JPS Black & Gold), but the Elan Sprint of the early 1970s didn't get a mention. This was an oversight on our part, because this limited run Elan was sprinting to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds in 1971 (approximately the same as a new WRX). Lotus is paying homage to the Elan with 40 RHD Lotus Exige Sprints done up in the Solar Yellow (or Persian blue) and Alpine White paint scheme. This special Exige comes with lightweight forged alloy wheels and just about every modification Lotus offers, allowing the car to reach 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 146 mph. Press release below the jump.
Lotus Exige Sprint
Lotus Cars has taken one of the most recognisable and iconic Lotus colour schemes from the early 1970s and reintroduced it for the first time with the limited edition Exige Sprint.
Just 40 right hand drive Lotus Exige Sprints will go on sale in the UK and Ireland in a duo-tone paint scheme of Aspen White on the lower portion of the body and a choice of Solar Yellow or Persian Blue on the upper portion of the body. The two colours are separated by a gold stripe bearing the name Exige Sprint on the doors on either side of the car.
To celebrate the start of Lotus production at Hethel in 1967, just 40 cars will be built for the UK market and each one will have an individually numbered chassis year build plate covering1967 to 2007, except for 1982, the year of Colin Chapman's untimely and tragic death. Each car will also come together with a heritage pack containing a certificate signed by Lotus' Chief Executive Mike Kimberley and "The Lotus Book" written by William Taylor featuring in depth reviews of the models produced at Hethel.
The Exige Sprint honours the colour scheme of the legendary Elan Sprint, which entered production in early 1971, 37 years ago. The design was adapted from the red and gold and white colour scheme of the Team Lotus Formula One sponsors at the time: Gold Leaf Tobacco. Other colours were also introduced including the blue, gold and white and yellow, gold and white, both of which are honoured on the Lotus Exige Sprint.
More that just a colour scheme The Lotus Exige Sprint includes as standard, ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels, air conditioning, Sport Pack, Touring Pack and the newly available Performance Pack giving phenomenal acceleration of zero to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds (estimated), reaching 100 mph in just another 6 seconds (estimated) before topping out at 146 mph. The Sprint also features a unique interior trim with distinctive embroidery and exterior decals.
Lotus Exige Sprint
Even without the unique paint and trim features that the Exige Sprint benefits from, equipping a standard Exige to the same specification would cost a customer £44,050 (MSRP), so the £42,550 (MSRP) for the Exige Sprint provides superb value for performance.
Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive for Group Lotus plc said, "Back in 1970, I was working on the Elan Sprint with a team of talented engineers led by Tony Rudd. It was a car that at the time was virtually unbeatable on a quick country road dash. The Elan Sprint with its sophisticated and elegant colour scheme was my particular favourite of the Elan range and it is fantastic to see the colour schemes being reintroduced for this limited edition of just 40 UK cars. Of course, being more than just a colour scheme, we are offering the driver an unparalleled Exige driving experience in a car that will, in a few years time, cement itself into the Lotus legend".
The Lotus Elan Sprint: 1971 to 1973
The Lotus Elan Sprint was the last version of the quintessential 1960s sportscar. Using the 126 bhp Lotus "Big Valve" Twin Cam 1558cc engine and weighing just 1570lbs (714 kg) the Elan Sprint shot to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds -a great performance by today's standards and almost unheard of in 1971. The Elan sprint ended production in August 1973 after 1353 examples were built.
[Source: Lotus via World Car Fans]