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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

11 cars you didn't know were tuned by Lotus

Lotus has a rich history of collaborating with other manufacturers. Some of the tie-ins are well-known, fêted even, the Lotus association being trumpeted loudly. Then there are the many projects where Lotus' role has been downplayed, or not mentioned at all in public.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/11-cars-you-didnt-know-were-tuned-by-lotus/
35 REPLIES 35
hyperv6
Racer

Thank you for not posting the Fiero. Lotus never touched the 88 Fiero suspension. It was a GM design and it Porsche engineering help tune the feel and turn in.

Lotus did work on the LNF turbo found in the Solstice, Sky, HHR SS and Cobalt SS. They did sone head work.

Note this is Lotus engineering not the car division.
OptimusPrime
Detailer

Not Fiero, but first-gen MR2 was rumored to have been helped along by Lotus.
hyperv6
Racer

That was false too. 

BiffNotZeem
Intermediate Driver

Was the MR2 designed in Hethel? No. Did Lotus provide input during its development? Yes.
Pathi
Pit Crew

As an owner of my FOURTH MR2 ( I now have a mint '89 supercharged version), I've done my homework on these cars and YES Lotus did indeed have a hand(be it quite small) in tuning the suspension on these cars.
DaveA
Instructor

Lotus did a lot of engineering work for the DeLorean Motor Company. The VARI method of body construction that Lotus used on the Elite and later Esprit’s was also employed by DMC.
BiffNotZeem
Intermediate Driver

Among some Lotus clubs, DeLoreans are often referred to as Irish Esprits. They use a backbone chassis that is similar to the Esprit's.
DaveA
Instructor

Though the DeLorean chassis was developed by Lotus it looks nothing like the Esprit chassis. Completely different animals.

JeffWeimer
Intermediate Driver

The Piazza/Impulse statement is incorrect. The US market Impulse had the "Tuned by lotus" suspension as well. My '88 certainly did.
OptimusPrime
Detailer

You are correct, a friend has a Tuned by Lotus Impulse.
WidjumP
New Driver

Isuzu I-Mark??? I had one. Loved it.
Tango42
Pit Crew

First think I thought of when I saw the headliine - IMark RS 16V - I had one too! Great car and loved it until it was stolen.
Blaine
New Driver

My hobby car for many years was a Jensen Healey with the Lotus 907 engine, it was a free revving, high revving joy to drive with a power band above 3000 RPM that i am sure exceeded it's modest 144bhp rating. I am now driving a Pontiac Solstice GXP and had no idea that Lotus participated in it's development.
3_Lightnings
Intermediate Driver

I'd love to see a profile picture of the Bulgari.
chrisawyer
Intermediate Driver

Imagine an M100 Elan with a long wheelbase, wedge-shaped body... Just a little more width and a slightly longer wheelbase, and those rear seats wouldn't need to be as splayed.
Smasher
Intermediate Driver
cueguy
Pit Crew

You missed another Izusu - Izusu I-Mark RS wore it's "Handling by Lotus" badges proudly. Really neat little four-door from the late 80's. 1600 cc 4-valve per cylinder, dual OHC, 125 hp with a 7500 RPM redline. Interior had Recaro seats, exterior had an aero package. A real boy-racer. I gave mine to my son at 220,000 miles. He drove it another 35,000 miles until somebody hit it and totaled the car.
BiffNotZeem
Intermediate Driver

To be fair, they missed a bunch of cars that Lotus worked on. Lotus Engineering's work with other manufacturers has been a big part of Lotus' income for a long time.
ppointer
Detailer

Didn't Lotus help tune the performance version of generation 2 of the Supra?
LesFender
Intermediate Driver

I can add one. I worked for Kia Motors America from May through October 1997. The then available Sephia had suspension tuning by Lotus. They actually did handle pretty well.
Passitbob
Pit Crew

Another shout out for the Isuzu I Mark RS. I test drove a used one on in the early 90’s.
It was a blast to drive. I am a VW GTI and Jetta GLI enthusiast but that car got my attention. I wish I bought it.
espo70
Advanced Driver

Conversely, I distinctly remember the steering wheel in a 1994 Lotus Esprit being the exact same as the one in my 1990 Firebird Formula. Lotus, tuned by Pontiac!
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The Corvette ZR-1 is easily my favorite. That engine alone does it for me. Lotus had it's hand in making lots of cars better. I feel they are best as a technology consultant myself.

A Lotus-Toyota V-10 unit? Sign me up. Too late that never happened. Makes me think of the LFA now.
Kewina50
Intermediate Driver

Thanks for an informative article. As a long-time Lotus fan, I was aware of many of the Lotus affiliated projects through the years. Silly me, to avoid all confusion as to how Lotus was involved, I put a Lotus Esprit Turbo in my collection. The thing goes like a scalded dog and the handling...oh, the handling!
MustangJim
Technician

I never realised the spirit r/ t was so cool. Thanks for the story
cortina_gt
Pit Crew

Before all these cars were the MK1 and MK2 Ford Cortinas.
Cmilson1
New Driver

The Dodge Spirit wasn't the first 16v DOHC turbo 2.2 Chrysler did, they had Cosworth do the same thing for the Chrysler TC by Maserati back in 89.
cashforce
New Driver

Lotus Opel Omega is missing or did I misread it. The Lotus Opel Omega was on par with MB 190 2.3 Evo and the BMW M3
SIMCA8
New Driver

BTW ALL corvette since 1963 have been mid-engined so the ZR1 was a mid engined car (before you say i'm all wrong and everything look up the definition of mid-engined) C3, C4, etc... are mid front engined
blueox76
Pit Crew

Yes! I keep reading how GM "finally" made it mid-engine. To be either front- or rear-engine, the mill has to horizontally cross the centerline of the front or rear wheels. That is why the Vette always had a long hood; the wheels were always forward of the engine. So it was always a front-mid layout until the C8 when it became a rear-mid like all the Italian and other supercars. Examples of rear-engine cars would be the Fiero and MR2, besides all the early VWs. Or even the Tucker!
bagadonuts
Pit Crew

Supercharged GM Ecotec engines have Lotus fingerprints all over them too.
Chieflief
New Driver

I'm pretty sure they were involved in the development of the Huffy Green Machine as well.
SAG
Technician

"tuned" is a funny concept.
for using 'patten rights'.
SAG
Technician

have a car that I installed a "Tri 'Y' " header setup back in the '90s.
the new Corvette runs the same idea.
?
Mozeby1975
Pit Crew

Other Isuzus like the ‘90s Impulse and Stylus wore handling by Lotus badges. The turbo Impulse RS engine ended up in the ‘90s Lotus Elan which would make me wonder if Lotus had something to do with that engine also. Lotus also developed the crazy Opel Omega and Lotus (Vauxhaul) Carlton 3.6 twin turbo motor.