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Alfa Romeo C43 F1 Show Car

$ 30,000

The one and only 1984 Lotus M90 (Elan Prototype)


Partial restoration. Car is complete with all photographs of the restoration recorded.

  • History: "What is an M90?" After all the comprehensive "Lotus Book" skips from M89 (Excel) to M91 (Formula 1 race car) with no entry for the M90 or any mention of its designer, Oliver Winterbottom, in the index. The former omission is not surprising since the M90 project (also known as X100) never got further than clay models and one prototype. However, the second omission is not as understandable, since Oliver Winterbottom was responsible for the wedge shaped designs of the Elite and Eclat. In March 1981, Oliver Winterbottom was brought back to Lotus from working as a freelance with TVR, where he had designed the Tasmin. The design goal was to develop a low(er) end sports car to compliment the Excel (derived from the Eclat) and Esprit, and bring profitability back to Lotus. Like the Excel, the new Elan was to have Toyota components, specifically it would use the 115 bhp 2-liter single overhead cam Celica engine and rear-drive transmission. Although the M90 was to be the new Elan and hence one would image would be a convertible, the early designs were all of a fixed head coupe. The first iteration was deemed to look too much like the Porsche 928, due to its fastback shape. A revisions were made to give the car a notch back style, before a true hatch back was settled on for making into a full size model. This model was displayed at Hethel, along with contemporary TR7 and Mazda RX-7 models. The M90 was smaller than either, but with a more spacious interior. Chapman was not impressed, but gave the go ahead to try and use this model to raise the financial backing. Unfortunately, the backing didn't come and Chapman died in 1982. The post Chapman era for Lotus was bleak with creditors snapping at their heals. However, Mike Kimberley, then the Managing Director and member of the Lotus Board, arranged for significant financial support from Toyota. This in turn led to David Wickens of British Car Auctions taking a controlling interest in Lotus. These events reinvigorated the M90 project and Winterbottom went back to work. The new M90 was to have the Toyota 4A-GE 1.6 Liter, twin overhead cam, 16 valve, engine which allowed it to be shorter than before. During this time, David Wikens decided to re-name the M90 as X100 (of course M100 was later used for the front wheel drive Elan). However, most people, including Oliver Winterbottom, still call this car as the M90. Despite some meddling with Lotus traditions (like changing the Lotus badge) Wickens did give the go ahead in 1984 for one car to be made. The prototype was to be a convertible, despite the majority of the previous work being aimed to a 2+2 fixed head coupe. The car was produced to a high level of finish, with full interior, and painted two- tone silver-gray. However, the M90 was to go no further. By 1985 Peter Stevens was working on a front wheel drive Elan. The one and only M90 thus languished in a warehouse at the Lotus factory at Hethel.
  • Weight: 1973 lbs
  • Engine Builder: Toyota
  • Engine Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Engine Type: 4A-GE
  • Displacement: 1600 cc
  • Horsepower: 123 @ 6600
  • Torque: 105 @ 5200
  • Induction: NA
  • Pistons: 4
  • Valves: 16
  • Clutch: Toyota single dry plate 7.9
  • Exhaust: stainless steel (custom)
  • Fuel Tank
  • Manufacturer: stainless steel
  • Fuel Type: unleaded
  • Radiator: Y
  • Water Rad Location: Front
  • Water Pump: Y
  • Oil Cooler: N
  • Ignition: electronic
  • Alternator: Y
  • Battery: Y
  • Logger: N
  • Computer: Lotus/Toyota ECU
  • Transmission Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Type: T50
  • Gears: 5 + reverse
  • Trans Cooler: N
  • Rear End Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Type: Supra
  • Cooler: N
  • Construction: composite/fiberglass
  • Color: silver/grey
  • Condition: Restored - excellent
  • Notes: All new interior/paint
  • Chassis Type: backbone
  • Builder: Lotus
  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Powder coated
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Front Suspension: Double wishbone,
  • Rear Suspension: Double wishbone,
  • Shocks: New spec built
  • Brakes: Toyota ventilated disc (10.2
  • Steering: manual rack and pinion
  • Wheels: alloy
  • Tires: Goodyear
  • Interior Color/Finish: Red/grey
  • Material: fabric
  • Fire System: N
  • Restraints: DOT belts
  • Steering Wheel: Y
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Spare Part: All parts needed to finish rebuild
  • Spare Part: spare light lenses


Joined January 2009
  Mike Walters
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Country: United States of America
Phone: +1 737 241 3999
+1 737 241 3999
Condition Used
Trade or Private: Private
Price: $30,000
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Added: 03/14/2016
Views: 1477

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