This Lotus-y Sports Car Is Actually A 1985 Toyota Corolla

The Lotus brand has very different connotations for oil companies. For some the letters of the name can translate into a lot of (usually serious) mechanical issues, but for others it was the Formula 1 team that gave Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and many other pilots their world championships. Either way, this homebrew kit car called Locost Seven was inspired by the original Lotus and powered by a 1985 Toyota Corolla.

Rather than following the name of pesky bugs, Locost actually refers to the fact that this is a “low cost” interpretation of the Lotus. This vehicle, currently for sale on Cars and offers, is powered by the Corolla’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, producing approximately 120 horsepower (91 kilowatts) at the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Sure, it’s not a Bugatti Veyron, but with so much weight removed, the Toyota engine is probably more powerful than you might think.

Before starting a war in the comments, many might say the model is owned by Caterham. While that may be true now, the Lotus Seven came first, between 1957 and 1973 before Caterham bought the rights.

“Hah! This thing is hilarious. It’s hard to believe a 1980s Corolla is hiding under there, but it makes sense as a starting point for a build because of its relative reliability and rear-wheel drive chassis, ”said Doug Demuro, respected automotive journalist and creator of Cars and offers.

While it would be unfair to judge the structural integrity of the Locost from photos, the styling holds up relatively well at right angles. There’s a rough edge here and there, but it retains all of the good design cues from the original car: the side exhausts, front hubcaps and open-air cabin.

Regardless of the fit and finish of the vehicle, it’s clear that the British automaker’s philosophy of simplicity and featherweight performance lives on.

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