Add M to X: Own the Final Colin Chapman Lotus! ""
Posted on: September 20, 2017

Lotus M90/X100

Most casual fans of the Lotus marque know that two distinct vehicles carried the Elan nameplate. The first, which bowed in the 1960s, gained fame for its sprightly handling, light weight, and fine aesthetics, and it ultimately went on to inspire the original Mazda MX-5 Miata. The second, brought to life under General Motors’ stewardship of the brand in the late 1980s, was an Isuzu-powered front-wheel-drive (!) roadster that ultimately ended its sales career badged as a Kia. But there was an interim car—not badged as an Elan—of which only one was built. Variously known as the M90 and the X100, the car bridged the gap between the Excel and the later GM-ified machine. And now you can buy it.

Lotus M90/X100

Based on the early-1980s Excel’s running gear, but carrying a 123-hp Toyota 4A-GE up front instead of the Lotus 912 slant-four, the stillborn M90/X100 was designed to fill the hole in the Lotus line where the Elan once resided. Whether or not that Initial D–grade 4A-GE was meant to be the car’s powerplant in final specification, we’re not sure, but the Excel carried versions of the Lotus engine all the way to the end of its run in 1992.


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The project began as the M90 under Colin Chapman’s stewardship, but it stalled out after his death in 1982. By 1984, when this prototype was built, it was underway again under the name X100 but was shelved shortly thereafter. The sole car found its way to Texas, where the frame was restored, the glass replaced, and the seats reupholstered. It recently showed up for sale at Hemmings with only 1250 miles on the clock. The seller would like 86,000 of your dollars in exchange for granting you the honor of taking home this piece of Lotus history, the missing link between the original Elan and its successor. Simplify your wallet, add lightness to your garage.

Colin-Chapman-Lotus-REEL

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