Weekly Motor Fix: the little Lotus from the big screen

7 September, 2015


Unlike our more hipsterish brothers over at NZ Performance Car, elderly classic car editors don’t often get to the movies. So you’ll have to forgive us for mentioning a movie that, although it came out a few years back, we only just saw for the first time a few days ago — Red 2. Well, actually, we really only watched the bit with the Lotus Exige S. And while the subsequent car chase was very good — taking full advantage of the Exige’s compact size to duck under barriers, dive between the axles of a container truck, and allow a spot of seriously cool drive-by gunplay — what really caught our attention was the scene where Dame Helen Mirren actually swept aboard the Lotus.

If you’ve ever crawled into the cramped cabin of an Exige — as we at New Zealand Classic Car have many times — you’ll instantly be aware that a spot of ‘movie magic’ was quite obviously involved during the filming of the aforementioned scene.

Our seasoned editor is almost 10 years younger than Helen Mirren — who was knocking on the door of 70 when she appeared in Red 2 — but he struggles to cram himself into an Exige with any degree of dignity, as can be seen in our photograph (an image that also explains why he rarely, if ever, puts the hood up on the editorial Elise).

Photo: sourced

Alright, Helen Mirren does appear to be rather better preserved than our editor (not to mention a whole lot better looking), but are we really expected to believe that an over-aged pensioner film star can demonstrate the flexibility of a teenager by diving into the cockpit of an Exige with such remarkable split-second speed?!

Ah, if only we could all utilize jump cuts to cover up those awkward, real-life moments!

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.