Opel Speedster

2002 Opel Speedster

In 2000, Lotus introduced the Exige — a hardtop version of the Elise with the 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS) engine from the 340R; as well as different front and rear clams, larger wheels, and a rear wing. Many models received an upgrade to 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS) with better driveability due to changes to ECU and cam timing.

The Series 1 was unable to be produced beyond the 2000 model production year due to new European regulations around crash sustainability, and so Lotus needed a development partner to meet the investment requirement. General Motors offered to partner/fund the project, in return for a badged and GM-engined version of the car for their European brands, Opel and Vauxhall.

Announced on October 9, 2000, the Series 2 Elise was a redesigned Series 1 using a slightly modified version of the Series 1 chassis to meet the new regulations, and the same K-series engine with a brand new Lotus-developed ECU. The design of the body paid homage to the still-born M250 project, and was the first Lotus to be designed on computer.

Both the Series 2 Elise and the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 were built on the same production line, in a newer facility at Hethel. Both cars shared many parts, including the chassis, although they have different drive-trains and power-plants. The VX220 carried the Lotus internal model identification Lotus 116, with the code name Skipton for the launch 2.2N/A version and Tornado for the 2004 introduced 2.0 L Turbo. Fitted with 17 inch over the Elise's 16 inch front wheels, the Vauxhall/Opel version ceased production in 2004.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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