Evante 140TC with uprated sprint kit

  • 1988
  • Petrol Blue - looks dark bluey green according to light (Volvo colour)
  • Black Connolly leather interior
  • Black Wilton carpets
  • Electric windows
  • 170BHP
  • 49,000 miles
  • Complete engine rebuild by Vegantune 6000 miles ago!
  • Sprint Exhaust
  • Uprated adjustable Koni's all round
  • Momo steering wheel & gear knob
  • Brand new factory original alloy wheels plus 5 used spares
  • Sony Stereo, 4 speakers, 10CD Changer, Joystick Control
  • Clifford Concept 40 Alarm
  • Walnut dash & door cappings re-veneered July 2001
  • Colour-coded factory hardtop

So, what is an Evante? This is shamelessly pinched from the Evante Owners Club site, with thanks to Roger Pharo who runs it...

The car is based upon the 70's Lotus Elan ("the best Lotus ever made"- Classic Car); in fact the very first prototype was built on an Elan chassis. There is very little similarity however, apart from the 1700 cc 170 BHP twin-cam Vegantune engine. All cars were factory built, and finished to a high standard. The sales pitch at the time was to be a petite Aston Martin. Well, they were never quite that. How do they go? Well, from a member's testing at a dragway, a standard 140 Evante will go to 60 mph in about 6 seconds, the 160TC and 170TC being correspondingly faster. No one is sure what the top speed is; if peak revs could be reached in 5th gear, then around 160 mph. Maybe a 170TC fitted with a hardtop could do it. The car is lightly built, in the early Lotus tradition, before that firm starting trying to emulate Ferrari's style and prices, yet is considerably stronger than the original Elan. It weighs a little more, at 740 Kg, but has more power, 140 BHP in the standard MK1, rising to 170 BHP in the 170TC, and even more in some cars specially modified. One owner is at present having Nitrous Oxide injection fitted, which should give him a power-to-weight ratio even Lamborghini would envy. The ride and handling, according to magazine reviews at the time the car was in production, is "exhilarating".

The original finish of the cars was very good - they were aimed at the owner who wanted Lotus 7 type performance, but with a definite touch of luxury thrown in. The standard specification included walnut dash, Wilton carpet and Connolloy leather trim, electric windows, and a radio/cassette.

Two series of cars were built, appropriately known as series I and series II. The interior shot shows a MK1 dash. although the Mk2 is not disimilar. Most of the difference in the cars is in the power-plant (Ford Zetec in the later cars) and in the boot arrangement. There is space in the boot for more than a ladies handbag, including a full-sized spare wheel and tools under the floor. Most of the running gear used in the construction is from Mr. Ford's spares bin, as is the engine block, and some of the electrical fittings, so that finding spare parts is not a problem. Special parts, e.g.. clutch cables, are available from the owners club, or Vegantune. The body, being GRP, is of course, immune from corrosion problems, and is not suspect to the crazing problems that haunt some GRP cars of too light a construction. Not only do the cars GO WELL, but they are pretty frugal too, thanks to light weight and slippery shape.

To give an unbiased flavour of the car, I'll quote from the original sales brochure, itself quoting Peter Dron writing in the magazine "Fast Lane".

"I cannot recall having driven a small car (the Elan included) with such excellent ride and handling -- the Evante represents what the Elan might have developed into had Lotus continued to produce it"

and Lawrence Pearce, from "Motor"

"this car reminds me why I prefer a rear-drive sports car - for no front wheel drive machine can match the combination of grip, balance, traction, adjustability of line, and freedom from steering corruption that this one possesses".