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FINAL ELISE FOR ELISA

The Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise, predecessor to the new Emira, was the most successful model in the history of the Hethel-based manufacturer.

In late 2021, after 26 years and more than 35,000 cars, production was stopped of the roadster that kept the British automaker afloat into the 21st century. The Elise tale has a poignant ending, though, as a year ago, the very last production Elise was handed to its new owner – the same little girl (now all grown up) that served as inspiration for the name of the iconic sports car.

In 1995, the mid-engine Lotus, code-named M111, was introduced globally at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It wore the name Elise, and when the covers over the new roadster were pulled back before the assembled media, little Elisa Artioli, two-year-old granddaughter of then Lotus owner and chairman Romano Artioli was revealed behind the steering wheel, as she jumped up in the car and said: “I am Elise!”

Elisa, now 29 years old, visited Hethel in February last year for the handover and to take delivery of the last car to bear her name – an Elise Sport 240 finished in Championship Gold. It isn’t her first Elise, though; when she was four years old, her grandfather (now a sprightly 90 years old) gave her a silver Series I Elise. 

She has been driving the silver Elise since she received her driver’s licence at age 19, and nowadays runs an Instagram feed, @iamlotuselise, and a Facebook account by the same name, documenting her trips with the Elise. Living in the small town of Bolzano in northern Italy, close to the Stelvio Pass and the Dolomites, she has also started a business called Delightful Driving, inspired by her road trips. 

While Elisa has no official affiliation with Lotus, her unique connection with the Elise and association with the brand have made her an unmissable ambassador for the manufacturer. She loves to share her story and feels there is something unique about driving the Elise, saying the lightness in everything it does makes it an exciting car. Now the owner of two Elizes, her genuine affinity for the car that shares her name shines through…and according to her, as quoted by Hagerty UK, she feels like she is at home when she sits in an Elise.

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images © LOTUS CARS/I AM LOTUS ELISE FB

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