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Lotus Elise – a history in pictures

The Lotus Elise is 20 years old in 2015 - here are ten of the best Lotus ever made

Nothing makes you feel old like discovering a seminal vehicle has passed a major milestone.

In this instance, it’s the Lotus Elise. The original made its debut at the 1995 Frankfurt motor show, and while it went on sale to customers in 1996, that makes one of the Hethel firm’s most significant models 20 years old this year.

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Amazingly, not a lot has changed – underneath, you’ll still find the same bonded aluminium chassis, and while the modern Toyota power units are a far cry from that original 1.8 Rover K-series, the bodywork that shrouds it is only a little different from Julian Thompson’s original roadster.

Throughout its time on sale, the Elise has nevertheless spawned dozens of incredible variants, some of which bearing only passing resemblance to the car underneath.

While evo didn’t exist when the Elise was first produced, we’ve since driven every variant there is, exposing us to a car that’s undoubtedly one of a handful that truly represents evo’s ‘the thrill of driving’ ethos.  

From the original car to stripped-out specials and the latest, V6-engined Exige S, we’ve pulled together a gallery of the best Elise and Elise-based models Lotus has ever made.

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