Well, I'm just stopping by, I stumbled over the petition
when I googled for "X1/99" - and signed it.
I've owned an 1979 Five Speed in the late 80s and
have switched over to first a Lotus Esprit S2 and
now a late model Esprit Turbo. As you keep mentioning
Lotus, here's a bit of factoids and opinion:
- Lotus is not owned by GM, but (effectively) by Proton.
That is a Malaysian car manufacturer under the umbrella
of a big state holding. Another company from that
stable is Petronas, btw, who purchase Ferrari F1 Engines
for the Sauber team.
- The Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster is manufactured by
Lotus in Hethel right next to the Elise. They build it
on a slightly modified Elise chassis. Aside from the
obvious differences, it's pretty much the same thing.
- Opel/GM apparently want to drop the Roadster in the
near future, and replace it with a "new GT" (awful POS
from what I saw, and nowhere near the Baby-Vette-but-
prettier the original was).
- That leaves production capacity at Lotus. They'll build
for anyone who pays significant amounts of convertible
- Did you know the Esprit S1 had X1/9 taillights? (And used
a Veglia instrument panel that might have been similar, too).
But since then, and with the ItalDesign connection gone,
there are little ties to Italy. Oh well, they built a Fiat
Twin Cam into a Lada for "Top Gear" lately...
So in theory, Lotus could provide a niche vehicle for
Fiat as sellable image booster. Is this a good idea?
I'm not sure. I guess Fiat have to shift units to survive,
so for the mass market something along the lines of the
design study might work, to take on the 206CC or the Corsa
TwinTop. They should just have the dignity to not call it
To warrant a mid engine, more performance would be required
anyway. I could very well imagine a one-ton, 250hp (Coupe
Turbo 20V Engine) sportscar that liberally stea..er.. shares
lines with the Gallardo as the X1/9 did with the Uracco,
has a targa top and is classwise aimed at or slighly below
Z4, SLK or entry Boxster, but to do that they really lack a
platform. Maybe the Stilo platform could be used, and that
possibly with the 20V normally aspirated at 170hp, and then
aiming between the MG F (not exactly a blockbusting seller)
and the other mentioned cars.
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