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  Lotus 340R

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1999 - 2000
Numbers built:340
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 04, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOne of the most famous of all Lotus cars is the Seven, the marque's first true road car. Its lightweight and minimalistic approach has inspired every Lotus design since, although sacrifices were made to make the cars more suited for road use. After Lotus ceased production of the Seven in the 1970s, the production rights were sold to Caterham, who have been building replicas ever since.

When the Lotus Elise was launched at the 1995 Frankfurt Motorshow, many agreed that it was the Lotus closest in design to the Seven in years. Like the Seven did forty years before, the Elise brought racing car performance to the road. Lightweight materials were used throughout and little to no luxury was fitted, making it a pure driver's car. In an age where cars were getting increasingly bulky and heavy, Lotus managed to produce a car that, even though it complied with all the rules, with a dry-weight of no more than 690 kg.

In 1999 Lotus took the Elise design one step further, with the 340R. Technically it was very similar to the Elise, but it was further stripped of all but the bare essentials. Most of the bodywork was removed, giving the 340R a cycle-fender appearance, reminiscent of the Seven. Carbon fibre was used for the few remaining body panels, the wings and the fenders. The end result of the strict diet was a dry weight of just over 500 kg, which combined with the 177 bhp engine gave the 340R rocket-like acceleration. The power to weight ratio of 340 bhp / ton gave the lightweight car its name.

With next to no weather protection and a feisty engine, the 340R was best suited for track-day use. Despite its race car look and feel, it was fully approved and homologated for road use. When production ended, 340 examples were completed.

The featured example is seen here at the 2005 Palm Beach International, a Concours d'Elegance.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications User Comments (5)