Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photos: Lotus/Classic Team Lotus
Lotus is bringing an example of its glorious motor-racing past and it bright electric future to London’s Concours on Savile Row (May 24-25, 2023), in association with The Deck. Although the cars on show will be very different, both hold true to the British brand’s ethos.
The Lotus 79 was one of the first Formula 1 machines to use ground effects, following on from the pioneering developments on the Lotus 78. Changes included refinements to the underside, such as venturi tunnels that allowed the low-pressure area to be evenly spaced down the length of the car. To aid this, the rear bodywork and suspension were designed in a way that would allow the air to exit in a cleaner fashion, thus meaning a smaller rear wing could be fitted. This would, in turn, mean less drag. Its 480bhp came from a Ford Cosworth DFV engine, and the 79 was constructed from sheet-aluminium honeycomb.
The example on show will be chassis 79/3, otherwise known as JPS21. It was the most successful of the five Lotus 79s built. Mario Andretti took three victories – at the Spanish Grand Prix, and in France and Germany later in 1978, helping to bag the Driver’s Championship for the American. The following year, after the new Lotus 80 failed to live up to the pre-season hopes, 79/3 was pressed back into service by Andretti and Carlos Reutemann.
You’ll also get a change to see the Eletre close up. This model is the start of a new dawn for Lotus. Not only is it the first sports utility vehicle from the famed British marque, but it is also the company’s first mainstream production EV to wear the badge. Although this puts the brand into new territory, it still maintains the founding principles of exotic design, innovative use of lightweight materials and excellent handling.
There are three versions of the Eletre – two using the same 603bhp peak-output motive power, but with distinctly different personalities, one more sporting than the other. Meanwhile, the range-topping R has a system total of 905bhp. Both powertrains use a 112kWh battery pack that supports DC charging at 420kW. The car’s range is 373 miles (304 for the R), while you can gain up to 248 miles of range in 20 minutes.
Performance is equally impressive, with the R scorching to 62mph in 2.9 seconds. The entry-level versions are not far behind, at 4.4 seconds. The R variant also benefits from a Track mode, which drops the air-adjustable ride height to its lowest position.
Lotus has teamed up with The Deck for Concours on Savile Row. Founded by Daisy Knatchbull in 2019, The Deck is the only female-only tailor on Savile Row, making elegant, contemporary and timeless suits and separates to complement all elements of a woman’s life. With core values built on craftsmanship, empowerment, sustainability, diversity and community, The Deck offers women an alternative to the homogenous global fashion houses that dominate what successful women wear.