Two weeks ago, we all had an LOL and OMG moment at the expense of Lotus, as a member of the failing company, which we assume to be head honcho himself, Dany Bahar, went berserk on Facebook. We all rant sometimes, but it was truly a high school-style “Wah” fest about who said what and so on.
As we put it after reading said Facebook post, which is still on Lotus’s site, the company that recently inherited Lotus from Proton, DRB-Hicom, would not likely deal with this immaturity too long. It rings especially true when you take into account that Lotus never turned a profit for Proton and currently has more than $316 million in debts.
Well, guess what… Reports have emerged that DRB-Hicom is actively shopping Lotus, and its money sucking black hole, to various Chinese companies. Things are obviously getting serious, as the U.K. government even put a hold on the £10 million (about $16 million) grant that it issued to aid in Lotus’ anticipated expansion out of fear of losing the struggling sports car builder to a Chinese company.
The question that begs to be asked is who in their right mind would purchase Lotus for anything more than a few spare tires and a couple boxes of spark plugs? Of course, at this point DRB-Hicom just might find a better use for some spare tires and spark plugs than it can for Lotus.
There is likely some company in China that will pick up Lotus for just enough to cover its debts, then maybe attempt to revive its name. We will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds and update you as new information comes down the pipe.
The standard Lotus Evora GTE made its debut last year at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, with an announcement stating that only Europe would be receiving at the moment. With a pout and foot-stomp, the rest of us were left without Lotus’ most powerful road-going model ever. China’s temper tantrum was short-lived, though, as they are now getting their own model: a special Evora GTE China Limited Edition which was revealed at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
Lotus’ eminent chassis engineers have adapted the GTE to suit Chinese roads, and the interior comes with more leather and carbon fiber to make it more luxurious inside, without compromising performance at all. Under the hood, Lotus has kept the usual 3.5-liter supercharged V6 engine that delivers a total of 444 HP.
Only 118 examples of the limited edition will be put on sale, making it all the more exclusive and collectable. Each car features a numbered plaque inside, marked with the China Limited Edition insignia.
Crashing a regular Lotus Exige is bad enough, but crashing an Exige so customized it could pass as a completely different car is something else entirely. Frank Profera built the car pictured completely by hand over the past six years, even fitting it with both a supercharger and turbocharger to help it produce in excess of 700BHP.
As a result, Frank claimed on the video past the jump when Matt Farah drove his one-off masterpiece for the Drive channel that it was the fastest Lotus in the world, even trumping the incredible Hennessey Venom GT in the twisty roads of the Californian canyons.
Unfortunately however, the car was recently involved in an incident on California’s Route 101, where Frank claims he was rear-ended by a Porsche before sliding backwards into the median strip. In what can only be described as an all-out attack on the Porsche driver, Frank posted a comment on YouTube continually swearing at the driver and taking no responsibility for the incident himself.
Just like any other car crash, there will undoubtedly be conflicting views in how it occurred, and if Profera is to be believed, the Porsche driver didn’t stop and instead continued on their merry way. Thankfully no one was injured in the accident, and the damage only seems to be external, but it will take weeks if not months for the owner to fix all the custom body panels.
Follow the jump to see Profera’s car in action and the pictures.
As we all know, Lotus Group has been in some hot water for a long time and has yet to pull itself out of its downward spiral. The latest news came when Proton, the unfortunate owner of the Lotus money pit, was bought out by DRB-Hicom. Well, this led several of our colleagues in the automotive journalism field to begin questioning the status of Lotus and its easily angered CEO Dany Bahar.
When you encounter this kind of bad press, there are a few ways that a global company, like Lotus, can handle it. Ultimately, it boils down to a right way to handle it and a wrong way to handle it. Well, Lotus took some the pretty innocent rib jabbing from the media and decided to take the wrong way to an entirely new level.
Lotus decided to take its frustrations out on everyone in the worst possible of ways… via a Facebook post. On their official page they call out several journalists for their “inaccurate reporting,” as Lotus group pretty much claims. They then proceed to entertain us with a long list of fact vs. myth tidbits that really tell us absolutely nothing, other then making clear the fact that they are completely pissed and have no idea how to contain their anger.
The rant almost reads like a 13-year-old girl whose best friend just stole her boyfriend, called her fat, and then spread a nasty rumor that she was kissing the town nerd under the bleachers during the homecoming dance. Yeah, it’s really that bad. What’s worse is a full 10 hours after that scorned-teenager-like post went up, it is still there for the entire world to see and laugh like hell at.
On the surface, it is starting to look as if Lotus is beginning to crack and DRB-Hicom did not become the giant they did by handling things like this lightly. Plus there have already been rumors of Lotus being sold off to China Youngman, Shanghai Automotive, or Beijing Automotive. This may be the straw that broke Lotus’ and Bahar’s back…
Hit the jump to read the unedited post from Facebook, it’s well worth it. Full story
Partnerships and collaborations have become an increasing trend in the auto industry these days, and we need to look no further than the agreement struck up between Lotus and Mansory to know that the trend is on the upward tick.
The British automaker and the Swiss tuner recently announced that the two companies will be working hand-in-hand with each other for a number of future projects.
While details are still slim pickings at this point, the partnership between the two will make Mansory the "official customization studio" of Lotus with the former working hand-in-hand to build and contribute "bodywork, trim, and special finishes" for some of the latter’s vehicle offerings, including the Evora, Exige, and Elise.
According to Wolf Zimmerman, Lotus’ Chief Technical Officer, the partnership between Lotus and Mansory was sealed to further bolster the profiles of both companies, giving the tuner an opportunity to build programs for the automaker, similar to what they did last year when they debuted a program for the Lotus Evora at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
"Mansory are leaders in their field, and having worked closely with them on the Evora GTE and the special editions we’ve unveiled recently, we now wish to take the partnership to an official level," he said. "Together, I am confident we will continue to produce outstanding sports cars, with the bespoke qualities that many of our discerning customers look for."
The official timetable for the first tuning program under this new partnership will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this coming September. Be on the look out for that bad boy because something tells us it’s going to wickedly out-of-this-world.
In Britain, a sports car isn’t officially launched until it takes a few runs up the Goodwood Hill Climb, so Lotus had to send out their Exige S that was launched last year at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show to put it through its final test at Goodwood. This hill climb may not be anywhere near the status of the Nurburgring, but for Brits, it’s a huge deal. The video includes a few rapid launches from the start line on the legendary course as well as flybys and accelerations on track.
As a reminder, the new Exige S is powered by a 3.5 liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine that delivers a total of 345 HP. It sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and up to a top speed of 170 mph.
There are some amazing things you can do with cars and we have seen plenty of world records broken with people showing off those very things. Now, it’s time for another one that’s a it more unusual; the largest loop de loop in a car.
This record was broken while driving a Youngman Lotus L5 Sportback - a car developed by Youngman - a local Chinese maker that builds cars under Proton’s license. The car is powered by a 1.6-liter four that produces just 130 HP - not powerful, but enough for what this guy needed.
The largest loop de loop in a car measured 12.87 m (42 ft 2.69 in) in diameter and was achieved by Li Yatao (China) from the Car Team of Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., Ltd. in Shanghai, China, on September 23, 2011. The loop was made from steel and was 3.68 m (12 ft 0.88 in) wide and weighed 33,000 kg (72,752 lb).
Lotus has already unveiled the new Exige S, but that doesn’t mean people have forgotten about the old version. In fact, Frank Profera from California wasn’t very pleased with his stock Exige so he did some improvements that transformed the car into the "world’s fastest Lotus." Or at least that’ what he claims.
Profera has spent six years making his Lotus go faster, stop shorter, and corner harder. After all this work, the 1.8 liter engine of his Exige model delivers a total of 680 wheel horsepower. And when the sports car’s 2,150 lbs weight is considered, that’s a better power-to-weight ratio than Mario Andretti’s Formula One Lotus. That being said, this a project that may never be finished because of Frank’s never-ending obsession with speed.
Watch the car in action in this 14 minutes video!
Olav Glasius will be auctioning off his impressive Lotus collection on Friday, June 29, 2012 at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed. His collection includes 24 vehicles starting from 1953 to the present day and he hopes to raise an impressive £1.5million by selling them all.
His collection includes racing cars ranging from Mark VI through Marks VIII and IX, Team Lotus Le Mans Type 11s, Formula Junior Lotus 27, and ex-Formula 1/InterContinental Lotus Type 18. Next to these impressive racing cars, the collection includes road-going supercars from the Lotus Elite Series II to a Lotus Esprit Turbo, and a trio of prototype and one-off concept cars.
Doug Nye, Bonhams Motoring Historian and author of some 70 books including several on the Lotus marque, said, "There are few teams that encapsulate the romance of the ‘little guys beating the big guys’ better than Team Lotus and Olav Glasius’s remarkable collection, which he has assembled with such love and painstaking care over so many years, truly embodies the essence of what Colin and his successors have been all about."
When Proton announced they may sell Lotus to a large Malaysian industrial
conglomerate (DRB-Hicom), everyone knew the future of the Esprit supercar would be in danger, and everyone was right. During a recent interview with British magazine, EVO, Lotus boss Dany Bahar announced that development of all future models, including the Esprit has been suspended.
As a result of the sale, Lotus is taking an NBA type break with a three month "lockdown" - meaning that only normal trading activities could be continued. Translated, this means that the production of the current models will continue at a reduced level, but the development of the future models has been delayed. This decision obviously affects customers because the official market launch of the new Exige S and Evora GTE have been delayed, and we won’t get to see the production Esprit until early 2014.
"This difficult period for Lotus finishes at the end of March and that’s
when we will know then whether DRB-Hicom will want to continue with our
business plan," said Bahar. "I really hope they will but I cannot call it at the moment, it’s still 50:50."