lotus sports cars, guaranteed classic motoring satisfaction
Lotus sports cars are British cars which was established in 1952 by Colin Chapman as Lotus Engineering Ltd. The first factory was in old stables behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. Team Lotus, which was split off from Lotus Engineering in 1954, was active and competitive in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994. The Lotus Group of Companies was formed in 1959. This was made up of Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited which focused on road cars and customer competition car production respectively.
The history of Lotus Sports Cars can be traced to postwar Britain's club racing movement. Colin Chapman wanted to create a relatively inexpensive yet high-performance vehicle for the club racing market. His Lotus Seven, launched in 1957, met both these criteria. Colin Chapman was known for engineering the lotus sports cars as being light weight and having very fine handling characteristics.
For example, he adapted monocoque chassis construction, in which the body covering bears as much or more of the vehicle's stress as the frame, from aircraft design.
Many of these ideas were applied to racing models, then adapted for street cars.
The first car ever built and designed by chapman was the lotus Mark 1 and it was built in 1948.The car was designed to compete as a trials car, and was constructed on an Austin 7 chassis and running gear.
Chapman built the body utilizing a composite made of thin aluminum bonded to plywood. His approach to automobile construction using sound engineering principles and ingenious chassis design set the stage for many more revolutionary designs to follow.
Chapman continued to develop and modify the Mark I. First larger wheels and tyres were fitted and the front beam axle was split and hinged in the center to provide independent front suspension. The success of the car helped encourage Chapman to continue designing lotus sports cars.
After building multiple trials and road racing cars, Colin Chapman introduced his first 'production' car, the Lotus Mark VI, in 1952.
The heart of the Mark VI was a space frame chassis. Rather than a complete car, it was available to the general public as kit, wherein the customer could install any preferred engine and gearbox, making it eligible for a wider number of formulae.
The Mark VI became a popular sight on Britain's racetracks, and was a frequent winner, beating many more powerful and expensive cars, earning praise for very good handling and superior low-speed acceleration. The success of the Mark VI in competition and sales (100 built by 1955) established Chapman as a manufacturer of specialty cars.
The Mark IV was to be taken over by the lotus seven which was built from 1957-1972. The Lotus Seven began as an uprated version of the successful Lotus Mark 6. The Seven was powered by a 40 bhp (30 kW; 41 PS) Ford Side-valve 1,172 cc inline-four engine. It was mainly for lower budget club racing on short tracks (750 motor club).
The Lotus Seven Series 2 (S2) followed in 1960, and the Series 3 (S3) in 1968. In 1970, Lotus radically changed the shape of the car to create the slightly more conventional sized Series 4 (S4), with a squarer fibreglass shell replacing most of the aluminium bodywork. It also offered some "luxuries" as standard, such as an internal heater matrix.
The rights to the Seven were sold in 1973 to Caterham Cars, who continue to produce it today.
In 1957, Lotus launched its first passenger car, the Elite. The Elite's most distinctive feature was its highly innovative fiberglass monocoque construction, in which a stressed-skin unibody replaced the previously separate chassis and body components. Independent front suspension by coil springs and wishbones. Independent rear suspension by Chapman struts incorporating coil springs. Powered by a 1216cc all aluminium Coventry Climax engine.
Like its siblings, the Elite was run in numerous formulae, with particular success at Le Mans and the Nürburgring. Elites won their class six times at the 24 hour Le Mans race.
The Elite's successor, the Elan, would become an icon of the sports car segment. Introduced in 1962, this convertible roadster became Lotus's all-time best-seller. This classic sports car featured the sleek fiberglass body and pop-up headlamps that became industry standards. Its engine was based on Ford Motor Co.'s 1500cc block, which was modified to be more powerful.
By the time the company ceased production of the Elan and its derivatives in 1973, it had sold over 17,000. A Lotus corporate release asserts that "the Elan became a legend; it was a sports car by which owners were judged."
Lotus sports cars continue to grace the 21st century and hopefully they will be cars that will be loved for a lifetime.
The Europa was another successful model introduced by Lotus during the 1960s. They were built from 1967-1974.
It featured a race car-inspired mid-engine layout and had a glass fibre body draped over a steel backbone chassis with 4 wheel independent suspension. Early cars were powered by a Lotus modified Renault engine. Later this engine was replaced by the Lotus Twin Cam engine and a 5 speed gearbox.
The car's handling prompted automotive writers to describe the Europa as the nearest thing to a Formula one car for the road.
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