The Lotus legend started in 1947 when engineer Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (the ACBC initials on the Lotus badge) started building 750 specials. The first four Lotuses were all based on the Austin Seven, the Mk5 never happened but was to have been a 100-mph sports-racing car. Public demand for replicas led to the forming of Lotus Engineering in 1952 and, a few years later, the first production Lotus, the 6 appeared. The Mk7 lives on today, known simply as the Seven and built by Caterham Cars
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The next road car was the pretty, glass-fibre Elite which was effectively superseded by the Elan in late 1962. In December 1966 Lotus announced their first mid-engined road car, the Europa. Initially Renault-powered, it eventually sported the same Ford based, twin-cam engine as its stablemates.
Following special and expensive derivatives of the Elans and Europas, Lotus finally cut their ties with the enthusiast and launched an executive dream; the Elite, in 1974. With only the badge in common with the original car of the same name, it started a new era for this company which soon afterwards added the Eclat (a coupe version of the Elite) and the mid-engined Esprit to complete its range of fast, sleek rich man's toys.