Everyone seems to worship at the shrine of Enzo Ferrari, whereas cars designed by a bloke called Colin are regarded less than reverentially sometimes.
That is outrageous, because when it comes to racing heritage, I’d argue that Lotus has a more illustrious and innovative one than Ferrari. When it comes to the plastic bodies, they are no less beautiful and a lot less rusty than the Italian ones (early Ferrari 308s excepted, of course).
We can all agree that company founder Colin Chapman's unique way of using customers as development engineers wasn’t perfect, but the problem has been not so much shoddily built Lotuses as badly looked after examples.
The fact remains, you should want a Lotus because they're brilliant, and here are a few of my later-generation favourites. Which ones do you adore?
Lotus Esprit Turbo
The first British supercar? That would have to be the Esprit Turbo. A second-generation Turbo model from 1987 did 163mph and 0-60mph in 5.3sec. Two years later, though, came the SE, which had 264bhp and cut that 0-60 figure down to just 4.7sec. Golly.
Lotus Esprit S4
Without a doubt, the friendliest Esprit of all is the S4. That isn't surprising, as it has ABS brakes and power steering, really transforming the Esprit into a car that you can actually park. The higher-performance S4S is the most desirable model of all, though. It is a V8 lookalike, with very similar performance but none of the problems.
Lotus Elise S2
Launched in 2001, the Elise Series 2 with its distinctive lizard-eye headlamps was a leap forward for the model and the marque. It still had the MG 1.8-litre K-series engine, which many forget was re-engineered by Lotus to be better, although it is still worth checking for head gasket issues.
Even more than a Seven, the Exige is a road-legal racer. The revamped Series 2 model from 2004 ditched the Rover engine for Toyota power and received a minor facelift, and many believe that it was all the better for it. Available in Touring Pack, more comprehensive Super Touring (airbags) and track-focused Super Sports guises.
Lotus Elise S1
Launched in July 1996 with the 1796cc Rover engine previously seen in the MG F and the 200, it produced an adequate but not overwhelmingly impressive 118bhp. However, the car weighed just 725kg, and that translated into a 0-60mph time of just six seconds. Acceleration is awesome and only the slightly notchy gearchange can slow you down.
The Elan was revived in 1990 as a thoroughly modern sports car. Composite plastic body, brilliant handling, effortless performance… all the usual Lotus magic ingredients were there. A Japanese Isuzu turbocharged engine meant that it wouldn’t break down, either. Purists didn’t like the engine, or the front-wheel drive layout, or the fact that it was as wide as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, though. Not the big hit that it could have been, largely due to the presence of the Mazda MX-5, so just 3855 were built.