With all the months of commotion surrounding the excellent new Lotus Evora, it came as a surprise to me to see that the first customer didn’t actually get their hands on the car until yesterday.

The most recent winner of Autocar’s Britain’s Best Driver’s Car award has deservedly received lots of praise, but now it’s time for the really hard work to begin at Lotus.

The company has rebuilt itself around the Elise since it was first launched in the 1990s and the Evora is its first proper all new model since then.

The Mr Melling of Twickenham who received his car today is a very lucky man and Lotus will be hoping he is the first of many happy Evora customers.

The first peek inside a car factory I ever had was at Lotus at one of the Norfolk firm’s open days around 10 years ago. Its Hethel plant was right on my doorstep growing up so I’ve always had a soft spot for a Lotus, almost as if they are my ‘home team’.

On my way to work at an old job, I would always go past the famous Stratton Motor Company on the Ipswich Road and cast an envious eye at the cars there behind the green iron bars and large showroom windows.

The initial signs for the Evora are good. Lotus has a full order book for the next five months and production won’t even reach full swing until November. The 150 new jobs too are good news, especially at a time of great uncertainty for the car industry as a whole.

The Elise is still as highly regarded today as it was when it first came out. If the Evora is still winning praise in ten years time then it will certainly have done something right – and with talk of it being built with the next Espirit in mind, the future’s looking very good for Lotus.

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