Three great British institutions have joined together to produce the perfect car for the truly modern spy requiring a modish form of quick getaway.
The collaboration of Lotus Cars, the sportscar manufacturer, and Gieves & Hawkes, the Savile Row tailor, (two great British brands) is part of Truly British at Harrods, which runs until 15 October, showcasing the best this country has to offer, revelling in the fascinating melting pot of cultures that makes Britain Great.
Creating the ultimate vehicle for the secret agent demands a flair for creativity and a passion for engineering the latest innovations, therefore making Lotus the perfect candidate. With proven experience from the Lotus Esprit, made famous for its starring role in a couple of the James Bond films such as the "The Spy Who Loved Me", the Lotus Design Team led by Chief Designer, Russell Carr, was able to develop the one-off Lotus Exige "Espionage."
Based on the standard 189 hp Lotus Exige, the coupé sportscar combines the elegant sophistication of the Gieves & Hawkes collection with the engineering ingenuity and style of the high performance trackcar-for-the road. Complementing the Gieves & Hawkes-designed bespoke classic navy pin striped Spy Suit, the Lotus Exige features a navy exterior and a central white pinstripe flash. Inside the car, the design philosophy has been extended to the seat upholstery (squab and cushion), door inserts and dashboard, using the same Gieves & Hawkes pinstripe wool cloth used in the Spy Suit.
Silk, used in the lining of the suit has been used to clad the back of the seats. The interior also boasts tailor-made leather floormats with "eyelet" detailing, taking cues from the classic shoes worn by the ultimate English secret agent.
Commenting on the unique Lotus and Gieves & Hawkes partnership, Clive Dopson, Managing Director of Lotus Cars, explains, "In this prestigious celebration of British lifestyle and culture, it has been an exciting opportunity to change the rules, combining the style and elegance of fashion with the interior design of a high performance sportscar. To be associated with a fashion collection such as Gieves & Hawkes, synonymous with a rich tailoring heritage, has provided a unique platform for the demonstration of the design qualities which make Lotus cars such an exciting and special driving experience."
The Lotus Exige "Espionage" and Gieves & Hawkes Spy Suit will be on display in The British Tailoring Room, on Ground at Harrods, until 15 October, 2005. Following the high level of interest, the one-off Lotus Exige "Espionage" is to be retailed at the on the road price of £39,995 following the event.
For further details about Truly British at Harrods please visit www.harrods.com/trulybritish.
Text - Classic Driver
Photos - Group Lotus
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter