Cars

The United States Government Won't Allow You to Have This Lotus

Meet the Lotus LF1. It's an exclusive version of the Exige celebrating the marque's rich Formula 1 heritage. Lotus plans on making 81 editions—one for each victory they've notched up over the decades—and selling them to people all over the world...except in the states, as the US government forbids Lotus to sell the Exige here. (A temporary regulatory exemption was granted for several years, but it expired, and the US wouldn't renew. Under the agreement, Lotus didn't have to comply with all US safety requirements, which of course, it still doesn't.)

If the predominantly black and gold color scheme seems familiar, it's because Lotus used it for much of the 1970s and '80s, when people like Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, and Ayrton Senna won races for it. Underneath it all is an Exige S, where 345 hp in a ridiculously light body means never being bored. Ever.

Inside, it has all the badging and contrasted stitching you'd expect from a limited edition...

...and the LF1 option includes Lotus's race pack, some beefy brakes at the front and back, these gorgeous matte gold wheels you see here, and some of the stickiest rubber Pirelli makes.

How's this for a cool incentive: every LF1 comes with a factory tour at both the manufacturing facility and the F1 team's headquarters, plus a scale-sized replica helmet of Lotus's current lead driver, Romain Grosjean.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He's kind of glad they're offering a Grosjean helmet, because Lotus's other driver needs all the safety he can get.