The typical method of making a car faster is to fit the largest and most powerful engine as you can find, but in his late ’20s, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman started to realize other ideas for going more quickly.
In school, Chapman studied structural engineering from the University College London, and eventually found employment with British Aluminium, a place where he started to see the benefits of lightweight materials.
The amateur racer and enthusiast soon learned a simple maxim: making a car lighter will make it faster everywhere, while adding power will only make it faster in a straight line. This approach became the foundation on what his company, Lotus Cars, was built upon. Lotus designs performed well—particularly on the track, where they were usually lighter than rivals—despite often using smaller, less powerful engines.
Here, the key word is often…but not always. Sometimes, engineers were allowed to push the Lotus formula as far as it would go. Here are our favorite fast Lotus road cars.