Lotus Exige special editions celebrate 70 years

New Exige Type 49 and 79 boast 424bhp and plenty of history to mark the British sports car manufacturer’s special anniversary

A number of manufacturers are celebrating their 70th birthdays this year, including Land Rover and Porsche. Also reaching this landmark anniversary is Lotus, with the legendary Colin Chapman having created his first competition car in 1948.

Lotus is extremely proud of its history, and as part of this milestone anniversary the Norfolk-based brand has revealed two one-off special editions based on the Lotus Exige Cup 410. Developed by Lotus Bespoke, a service that will tailor a car to your liking, the Type 49 and 79 take inspiration from the iconic grand prix machines of the same names.

The Lotus Type 49 was the first Formula 1 car to use the drivetrain as a stressed member in order to reduce weight and gain an advantage. Sporting distinctive shades of red and gold, the Exige Type 49 shares its paint scheme with the 1967 racing car. The interior mimics the exterior, with Lotus’ own in-house carbon racing seats being trimmed in the same colours.

Meanwhile, wearing the black and gold JPS colours, the Exige Type 79 honours the championship-winning car that helped Mario Andretti gain his F1 title. With naked carbon fibre on show and a set of distinctive alloy wheels, it’s certainly an eye-catching machine.

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Both models are powered by a 424bhp supercharged 3.5-litre V6 that’ll get this lightweight car from 0-62mph in just 3.3 seconds. Three-way adjustable Nitron dampers, AP Racing brakes and sticky tyres enable the pair to lap the brand’s Hethel test track faster than any other road-going Lotus.

Group Lotus CEO Feng Qingfeng said at the cars’ Goodwood Festival of Speed reveal: ‘To be able to unveil our celebration Exiges at the Festival of Speed is truly historic, especially as the cars that inspired them are also here on display and in action. These celebration cars are a fitting tribute to our past, but they reflect our future and show that we’re still true to our principles in building the very best luxury sports cars.’

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