The Lotus Elise Sports 160 had a total build number of 338 of which the first 50 SVA cars are the full fat 160bhp versions with Sports cats, GEM ECU’s, Lotus Sports Suspension, Adjustable anti roll bar and sports seats with Alcantara trim. The later 288 WVTA cars were slightly watered down versions and required modifications to release the full power. These later cars did benefit from an air fed oil cooler and smoother ECU mapping although the sports seats and Lotus Sports Suspension became an option.
This Sport 160 is one of the fabled first 50 SVA cars and number 4 of only 7 SVA Scandal Green cars – ensuring its rarity value. This very car had good media exposure being in EVO magazine, it was the Nelmes Lotus demo car used in their advertising and publications and more recently it was on front cover of Classic Cars. I purchased the car in 2009 with the intent of keeping it myself but I was repeatedly asked if I would sell even though it wasn’t for sale. I eventually gave in, something which I regretted almost straight away. More than 10 Sport 160’s have been through JGMsports but an SVA car in Scandal Green is widely regarded as the best of the best when it comes the Elises and I personally rate them over even the mega rare Sport Sport 190.
An SVA Sport 160 is an intoxicating drive and very much gives the racer for the road experience. They look purposeful and unique without losing the origins of the Elise. With their nose down attitude, lower ride height, rear spats hugging round the wider Victory wheels, raised rear spoiler and the subtle side decals you know this isn’t a standard model. Climb over the high sill and lower yourself into the skeleton sports seats and breathe in the heady aroma of alcantara before turning the ignition key. The stack dash lights up, the starter motor engages – although the phrase ‘starts on the button’ doesn’t necessarily apply to a Sports 160 they take at least 5 or 6 cranks until they fire into life. When the engine does suddenly kick in to life it has a lumpy and relatively high 1,150rpm idle. The sound the Sports 160 makes at idle is very unique. I heard comments that it sounds like a V8 or a motorbike but personally I think the 160’s sound like a rotary Le Mans car. As with a lot of track biased engines they are designed with a sweet spot and as such have two sides to their character. Below 3,500rpm they are lumpy however once past this point when the gas speed has increased the engine is urgent and silky smooth, singing around to the redline. Rather than this detracting from the driving experience it adds another dimension that only reinforces the road racer feel of the car.
To be continued!!!!.
To be updated soon a few photos of its current state…..