After the LS3-powered Mazda MX-5, another vehicle has been subjected to a V8 transplant and this time it was a 1999 Lotus Exige track car. Gone is the original naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter engine of the Series 1 as instead the hardcore Exige has received Ferrari’s prancing horse power thanks to a 3.5-liter V8 engine sourced from an F355. In addition, the standard five-speed manual transmission had to be dropped in order to make room for a six-speed manual borrowed from the track-only F355 Challenge from where it has also inherited a limited-slip differential.
In total, the heavily modified Exige has almost $63,000 worth of upgrades, including $7,500 carbon ceramic brakes to provide superior stopping power compared to the car’s standard setup. It comes bundled with multiple exhaust options as well as with a laptop and the necessary software to record engine data and track performance. According to the listing, the Lotus was modified by a “true enthusiast” with input from a “well-known Ferrari specialist.”
The race-ready Lotus Exige is currently up for grabs in U.K. and can be had for £49,950 (around $62,800). The seller mentions the asking price is quite a bargain taking into account it would cost “well into 6 figures” to modify a stock car to this exact specification. It remains to be seen whether the radical Exige will find a new home, but there are reasons to believe it will taking into account it seems to be the absolute track toy by combining everything that's great about Lotus with the power of a Ferrari.
As a side note, Lotus itself is selling a track-only Exige in the form of the V6 Cup R, but it’s a lot more expensive since it carries a starting price of £74,995 ($94,243). An alternative to the Ferrari-powered Exige for just about the same amount of money would have to be the Caterham Seven 620R (from £50,490 / $63,400), which was created primarily for the track, but it can also be legally driven on public roads.
Source: Piston Heads