Good news for all you Lotus Elise fans out there: the marque is open to selling off the tooling required to build the iconic machine that will no longer be put into official production. That means that all you’d need is a little money, some space, and plenty of resources, and you could have your very own Lotus Elise factory in your backyard!
Well, you specifically may not get so lucky, since Lotus’s managing director Matt Windle told Automotive News Europe that he’d be willing to sell the tooling a discerning buyer. Or, as he put it, “If the right project and the right partner came along, I do not see why not.”
“We did deliberate around this a long time,” Windle added regarding the decision to keep or scrap the Elise. “The truth is that the whole of the manufacturing facility at Hethel [Lotus’s factory in England] is being transformed into an automated process. We just did not have the room to produce the Elise.”
If this sounds a little bit like deja vu, that’s because this is pretty much up Lotus’s alley. The company sold the tooling and rights to the Seven, its first production sports car, to Caterham back in 1973, and a version of that is still in production today. Obviously, Caterham would be an obvious choice to revive the Elise, but the company was recently bought out by VT Holdings, a Japanese importer. Windle notes that, “I think they are just trying to sort out what their plans are going forward.” Not a promising sentiment.
Another option here is Radford Motors, a coachbuilder that made its name modifying Minis in the 1960s. The company has recently been revived with the help of former Formula One Champion Jenson Button. Radford also announced earlier this week that it’s collaborating with Lotus to build a machine inspired by the Lotus Type 62.
Either choice would be a logical progression for the Elise, and a lot of fans would love to have the car back no matter who was making it. And if you’ve got the money, space, time, and Lotus' good graces, it could very well be you.