Versions’safari‘Sportswear have been in fashion for a while. Inspired by the Porsche 911 SC that participated in the Kenya Safari Rally in the 70s, these modern – and sometimes not so modern – sports cars adopt an adventurous look in the style of Safari Rally. The search for originality and to be able to enjoy the car with more freedom and without regard for whether it is scratched or not, are some of the reasons that explain this fashion.
While most of the safari-style converted models are Porsche 911s, this time it is a Lotus Elise S1, that is to say, of the first generation. Modified in 2018 at the initiative of its French owner, the director and video producer Mathieu Echeverri, it is a unique model that the producer has just created. Put on sale.
This gray Lotus Elise left the factory in 1999 to be sold in the UK and therefore right hand drive. Its current owner imported it from the UK in 2016. The car had 66,000 miles (more than 106,000 km) when it arrived in France.
The engine and gearbox have been rebuilt by local trainer WS Competition, and since then he has traveled some 35,000 kilometers. It is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder Rover origin associated with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
This block has a 16-valve cylinder head and develops 120 CV a 5.500 rpm, while delivering only 165 Nm at 3,000 rpm. Okay, they are not flashy figures, but it does not matter. The first-generation Elise, later named S1, weighs only 720 kg.
With a weight-to-power ratio of 6.1 kg / hp, it allows the luxury of covering 0-100 km / h in 6.1 seconds, 0-1000 m in 27.5 s and reaching 200 km / h in top speed. It is a real toy. And as such it was turned into an Elise Safari.
Lotus Safari, a unique model and object of promotion
The transformation of the car, meanwhile, was carried out by DECL Concept, a local distributor of racing parts and various accessories. The car, equipped with off-road wheels and tires, sports a ground clearance 21 cm. To get an idea, it is roughly the same as a Subaru Forester (the Subaru is 22 cm). But in a tiny and lightweight Elise 21cm it’s a lot.
The car, despite being a toy, was converted to safari style for promotional reasons, both by DECL and its producer owner. So much so that Elise Safari even has her own Instagram account (@lotussafari). Thus, in the advertisement, he acknowledges that it was never used on off-road tracks or circuit. He only steps on gravel or dirt tracks on the occasion of filming after videos.
Finally, if you don’t like the safari configuration, you can buy the car in its original condition, as the transformations operated are perfectly reversible. They ask only 22.500 euros, a bargain considering the current price of the Lotus Elise.
Of course, you will have to go to look for it on the Côte d’Azur, but the good news is that you can return to Spain on dirt tracks almost without stepping on asphalt. In case anyone is interested, of course.