Lotus’ latest Exige special edition pays tribute to a classic Formula One car

One could argue that Lotus’ best days are behind it. The British automaker has been slow to develop new models, but it keeps launching special editions of its (admittedly good) existing ones, often slathered in nostalgia. The latest is the Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25, which honors one of the most influential Formula One cars of all time.

The Lotus Type 25 was the first F1 car with a stressed monocoque chassis, setting the template for all future cars in the sport. It raced from 1962 to 1967 in the hands of famous drivers like Jim Clark, Chris Amon, Mike Hailwood, and Richard Attwood. Clark, who died in a crash 50 years ago this week, drove the Type 25 to the 1963 F1 drivers’ championship, and Lotus won the constructors’ championship that year as well.

The Exige Cup 430 Type 25 comes in Lotus Racing Green or Old English White, with yellow accents that reference the livery of the race car. The interior is trimmed primarily in black Alcantara, with some trim pieces colored to match the exterior. The special edition also gets a wooden shift knob — just like the one used on the original Type 25.

The 3.5-liter supercharged V6 carries over from other Exige models. The mid-mounted engine produces 430 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Lotus estimates 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and a top speed of 180 mph.

The Exige is generally considered to be one of the best-handling cars around, but Lotus decided to sharpen things up a bit for the 430 Cup Type 25. It added Nitron three-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars, so the truly dedicated can fine tune the suspension for their preferred setup. The 430 Cup Type 25 also features AP Racing brakes with four-piston calipers, a titanium exhaust system, and, according to Lotus, the ability to generate 220 kilograms (485 pounds) of downforce. All of that adds up to a serious track car.

But while the Exige Cup 430 Type 25 deserves to be let loose on a track, it’s just as likely that owners will squirrel them away as collector’s items. Only 25 cars will be made, each with a certificate of authenticity signed by Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. Buyers also get a copy of the book Jim Clark: Tribute to a Champion signed by Clive Chapman (son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman) and Bob Dance, Clark’s principal F1 mechanic. All of this makes the Exige Cup 430 Type 25 sound less like a car, and more like a collectable you’d order off daytime television.

While it is street legal in some countries, the Lotus Exige can only be used on racetracks in the United States because it no longer complies with certain road-car safety regulations. Lotus did not list U.S. pricing, but in the U.K. the Exige 430 Cup Type 25 will sell for the equivalent of $150,000.

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