The ninetees have played a significant role in the story of Lotus Cars. In this era Group Lotus was owned by General Motors (until August 1993) and Proton (1996 onwards). Probably the developments in the interlude made that we can still buy Lotus sports cars nowadays. In these years Group Lotus was owned by Italian businessman Romano Artioli, who also owned Bugatti Automobili SpA at the time.
A new Lotus was developed during Artioli’s ownership of Lotus. It should be a ‘back to basics’ Lotus, like the Seven. An agile sports car with a revolutionary aluminium bonded chassis was developed. This car definately helped Lotus survive; press and public were amazed which was expressed in the sales figures in the years following.
When it came down to naming the new Lotus sprout, Romano Artioli didn’t have to think long. Since nearly all models of Lotus Cars start their name with an ‘E’ and he had just become grandfather of his granddaughter Elisa, it was easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Lotus Elise was born and little Elisa lived a life in the spotlights.
After these years of ‘celebrity life’ Elisa turned very shy and didn’t want to talk at the Lotus meetings. She spent many years behind the scenes. But with the 20th anniversary of the Elise in 2016 several Lotus clubs and dealers asked her to participate in meetings to celebrate the important date. Yet in her twenties she created a Facebook and Instagram account to support these developments and to share her adventures with her Lotus Elise. The one her grandfather gave to her as a young child. And Lotus owners cheered. Her posting was received with a lot of enthusiasm.
First road trip
Elisa was living in Spain at the time and before moving back to Italy she decided to do a roadtrip and take the chance to visit all the beautiful cities around Madrid and drive under the hot Spanish and Portugese sun for many many kilometers. After that she visited the United States due to an invitation of Lotus Owners Gathering (LOG).
She took the chance to visit more cities so she expanded the trip to the West Coast. After visiting Orange County, Santa Monica, San Francisco she travelled South (Houston) and to the East Coast to visit Princeton, New York City. This trip ended in Söderköping in Sweden for the 40th anniversary of Club Lotus Sweden.
What makes road tripping so special?
“What I love the most about road trips is the driving, of course, and enjoying the scenery. I enjoy seeing new places, explore, eat, see and take all the memories with me back home and some kg more too. It’s so great to drive and feel the breeze in my hair, to feel the heat of the sun on my skin that makes me feel relaxed while my skin slowly gets warm and red.”
“If I compare road tripping to a cocktail, there is no perfect mix but there are some basic ingredients to make it right. Sometimes you can mix it in a different way and see what comes out. For me the most important ingredients are: curvy roads, nice weather, awesome people, good food – coffee in particular – and a comfy bed.”
What’s your best road trip so far?
“When it comes to the car I used, it’s super easy … my Elise of course. But to name the best roadtrip so far is too difficult to tell. All roadtrips I took part in have been special in some way that made them unforgettable.”
Which road trip is on your bucket list?
“A good friend told me that the North Coast 500 in Scotland is awesome. That is definitely on my bucket list. Some others are: Amalfi Coast in Italy, La Route des Grandes Alpes in France and the road trip in Croatia that I will do soon … can’t wait to check that one off.”
What car would you take on that road trip?
“I might be biased but I haven’t found a car that gives me as many emotions as the Elise. She isn’t perfect, neither am I, but this makes the journey even more exciting. Perfection can become boring.”
Who would be your co-driver?
“I usually drive alone in the car during a road trip. Although sometimes I like to be the passenger, even in my own car, to benefit from the view and to unwind.”
What music would you be playing?
“Music is a good travel companion for long distance trips. I have different playlists to match my mood when I don’t listen to the engine sound, and many of the other Elise noises.”