While Porsche might be grabbing all the birthday attention at Goodwood over the next few days, Lotus is also celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2018. So there, Stuttgart. Alright, so 1948 actually marks the first time Chapman built his first competition car (with Lotus not actually formed until 1952), but if that means two Lotus 70th parties then that's fine by us.
An array of special editions have already been released as part of the celebrations, although the latest pair - the Exige Type 49 and Type 79 - are special in being one-off vehicles; they won't be offered for public sale. Instead the Exige Cup 430-based cars are intended to "demonstrate the appeal of Lotus Exclusive."
The choice of F1 cars to model these Exiges on is no accident, either, with 2018 marking 50 years since Graham Hill won his F1 Drivers' Championship in a 49; this year is also four decades since Mario Andretti achieved the same feat in the 79. So if the 70th link is a bit tenuous for you, the F1 connection for these two is rather more tangible.
Both Type 49 and 79 Celebration cars have been designed by the Lotus Design team, with the aim to create a "bespoke yet tasteful interpretation of the marque's two iconic race cars." Using solid red (49) and black (79) paint with Championship Gold accents, the cars are immediately identifiable as homages to the legendary GP racers (see also the earlier Type 25), and we think rather fetching.
Moreover, while not offered for sale, there's nothing to stop prospective Lotus customers creating their own. Budget allowing, of course... Currently around a third of Elise, Exige and Evora buyers have some kind of Exclusive work undertaken, be that paint, decals, or bespoke upholstery features.
Mechanically identical to a Cup 430, the Celebration Elises will be on display at the Festival of Speed this weekend. The Type 79 will be on the Lotus stand, with the Type 49 in the First Glance paddock - keep a look out for it in the timed supercar runs on Sunday, too. Finally, although these special Exiges may not be available to buy, previous F1-inspired Lotuses most certainly are: see this Elise Type 49 from 2000, for example, or this one from 2003. Or this one from 2018. Spoilt for choice!