In 2000 Lotus needed to upgrade the Lotus Elise Series 1 to meet new European Crash Protection regulations. At the same time former Lotus owners General Motors were looking to build a new sports car for their Vauxhall (UK), Opel (Europe) and Daewoo (Asia) brands that would eventually also be restyled for the Saturn brand in the US.
General Motors employed Lotus to design and build the new Vauxhall VX220, Opel GT and Daewoo Speedster models which are powered by mid mounted motors giving 145 hp normally aspirated or 197 hp in turbocharged form. Exterior design is credited to Niels Loeb and Martin Smith and interior to Steven Crijns.
Since the Type 116 is powered by variants of motors that were originally designed for Opel by Lotus while the similar Lotus Elise Series 2 are powered by Rover K series and later Toyota sourced motors arguably the Type 116 has more Lotus input than the Lotus Elise S2 with which it shares the same chassis design.
The turbocharged version of the 116 seen in these photos as the Vauxhall branded VX220 was capable of reaching 62 mph in just 4,0 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph.
Production of the 116 in all it’s forms except the Saturn ran from 2000 to 2005 at Lotus’s Hethel factory in Norfolk.
Thanks for joining me on this “Vauxhall VX220” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !