Lotus has always been the poster-brand for lightweight, tossable sports cars meant for one thing: the most pure driving experience possible. Whether it be in 1957 with the Le Mans-class-winning Elite, or today with the new Exige Sport 350, Lotus has been the go-to choice for people wanting the most out of a spirited drive. Charles Morgan is here to show just how much—and how little—Lotus has changed throughout the years in his latest video.
The original Lotus Elite debuted in 1957, complete with a fiberglass monocoque, independent suspension, and a minuscule 1110-pound curb weight. It had a small four-cylinder motor that made anywhere from 75 to105 horsepower. That might not seem like much, but equipped in a body with virtually no weight, it made the Elite one of the quickest cars around. It won its class at Le Mans six times, solidifying itself into the history books forever.
The Exige Sport 350, though it looks quite different, carries the Lotus philosophy of "simplify, then add lightness." Sure, at 2480 pounds, it might be more than double the weight of the Elite, but that's the consequence of progress. In the late 1950s, a sports car this heavy would be unacceptable, but nowadays, its rivals are nowhere near as light. Plus, its 3.5-liter V6 engine is mounted in the middle, making 345 horsepower. That sounds like a reasonable tradeoff, right?
Whatever the case may be, Charles Morgan has brought these two exceptional Lotuses together on track. It's clear that even 60 years later, Lotus cars still carry the same ideals to make its machines.
Watch for yourself as Morgan wheels these two legends around a stereotypically soggy British road course and discovers just how little Lotus has changed.