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Lo­tus-in­spired bar­gains

CAR (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words Ben Barry | Photography Alis­dair Cu­sick

NOT ONE CAR on this page is a Lo­tus. Yet in one way or an­other they all are. The first-gen­er­a­tion Mazda MX-5 fa­mously took the best bits of the Lo­tus Elan and remixed them with Ja­panese de­pend­abil­ity. Now al­most 30 years old, it’s a clas­sic in its own right, and still a de­light to drive. Prices start from just £1000.

The Vaux­hall VX220 and Cater­ham are Lo­tuses in a more lit­eral sense – the for­mer a sis­ter model to the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Elise, the lat­ter pick­ing up di­rectly where the Lo­tus 7 left off. But each has a dis­tinct char­ac­ter of its own. To­day, you’ll get in a VX220 from £7k, and there have been so many Cater­ham 7 vari­ants pro­duced over so many years that you’re sure to find a car on-bud­get. Some­where be­tween £10k and £50k will give you a good va­ri­ety of ap­peal­ing en­gine and body op­tions.

These ex­cep­tional sports cars are united by all be­ing rear-wheel-drive road­sters that shun weight and em­brace ex­cite­ment, with the fo­cus firmly on pu­rity and pas­sion for driv­ing. Colin Chap­man would recog­nise all three as be­ing in the true Lo­tus spirit.

The vir­tu­ous cir­cle of small en­gines, modest tyre di­am­e­ters and tiny brakes means you won’t blow the bank when you in­dulge, adding to the feel­good fac­tor and the rea­sons to buy.

Over the page, we show you how…

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