Lotus Elite

There were two cars called Lotus Elite, this is the second produced by Lotus from 1974 to 1982. It marked a change in direction away from the kit-car image of previous cars to a luxury 4 seater shooting brake. The Elite had a claimed drag co-efficient of 0.30 and at the time of launch, it was the world's most expensive four-cylinder car. The Elite's striking shape was designed by Oliver Winterbottom. He is quoted as saying that the basic chassis and suspension layout were designed by Colin Chapman, making the Elite and its sister design the Eclat the last Lotus road cars to have significant design input from Chapman himself.

The first road version of the Elite (315) was added to the Corgi Toys range in January 1976, the colours are described as red and flamboyant golden yellow. It was withdrawn in 1979. The red is a sort of orangey brick red, the yellow I have not found. The car features opening doors and a well detailed interior, it also uses paper stickers for some of the detailing, like the rear lights and number plates, and while this is not very durable it actually looks pretty good. The number plates give a nice authenticity - van Cleemput says that 95P, used on the number plate, was also the original planned selling price. It also had a long and complex release history, you will find it in very many finishes.

This casting was used in the Lotus Racing Set (GS32) also released in 1976 where the car was painted black with gold trim and stickers. A very stylish set from the heyday of Lotus, Emerson Fittipaldi was winning Grand Prix in the Lotus 72, James Bond drove their road cars and those cars were as pretty as they have ever been. The Players Cigarette colours look fantastic too, I think I even smoked them myself in those days. I don't smoke now of course - gave that up more than 30 years ago. This set consisted of the Lotus 72 Grand Prix car in team Lotus colours of black and gold with the 315 Lotus Elite II painted black with gold & black stickers to match the racing car and a low-loader trailer sprayed gold. The Great Book of Corgi has this set running from 1976 to 1979 and the picture in the book has the racing car in its second release when the Players cigarette (JPS - John Player Special) graphics had been changed to Texaco. Ramsay's Guide has two versions. The first one running from 1976 to 1979 with the JPS racing Lotus and the revised version with Texaco graphics running from 1979 to 1983. This second version is not mentioned in the Great Book of Corgi.

Corgi Toys brought out a racing version of the car in March 1979 (301), this car is yellow with foil racing stickers and racing number 7. The car was reprised in May 1983 as a road car in dark blue with silver trim (382). Both cars were sill in the Corgi Toys catalogue at the time Mettoy went into receivership.

In 1978 the car appeared in three gift sets made for Marks and Spencer, in each of these it was paired with the Tipsy Nipper plane on a trailer, the cars are pale metallic green. The three sets varied in the other items included, all were branded 'Wings Flying School' or 'Wings Flying Club'. I have not managed to find any of these.

 

Corgi 315; Lotus Elite Corgi Toys GS32; Lotus Elite & 72 Racing Set; JPS Graphics Corgi Toys GS32; Lotus Elite & 72 Racing Set; Texaco Graphics Corgi Toys 301; Lotus Elite; Rally Livery, RN7, Yellow Corgi Toys 382; Lotus Elite; Dark Blue Metallic, Silver Detailing
Corgi Toys 301; Lotus Elite; Rally Livery, RN7, Yellow Corgi Toys GS32; Lotus Elite & 72 Racing Set; JPS Graphics Corgi Toys GS32; Lotus Elite & 72 Racing Set; Texaco Graphics Corgi Toys 301; Lotus Elite; Rally Livery, RN7, Yellow Corgi Toys 382; Lotus Elite; Dark Blue Metallic, Silver Detailing

 


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Last Edit: 09/09/2022   Page Added 13/08/2022