No, it may not be the normal route to a high-performance Lotus, but Caral, a British tuner, will get some attention with its V8-powered Vauxhall VX220. Indeed, it’ll no longer be a VX220 but a V8XS.
See, when Lotus introduced the Elise Part Deux, General Motors’ UK subsidiary decided it would like a version for itself. With a hefty restyling, a (slight) softening and a turn towards all-rounder, the Vauxhall VX220 was born. As was the Opel Speedster.
It became apparent, however, that if people wanted a Lotus they were more than willing to pay a little more for… a Lotus. And they did. GM stopped its deal with the sportscar maker and Lotus became the only badge on the front of the Elise.
Although Lotus hasn’t been building any cars for Vauxhall or Opel in quite a while, that isn’t stopping Caral from getting hold of performance lovers who want their lovingly cared for VX to be stepped up a notch. Caral wanted to begin fitting a longitudnally-mounted GM V6 at first but has moved past that. For a car that originally powered up to the tune of 147 or 200 horsepower, the 450-bhp supercharged Jaguar V8 must be quite a thrill.
No doubt Caral puts in quite a bit of labour to jam a 4.2L V8 in the midst of a very tiny roadster. Nevertheless, they figure the job can typically be done for less than £30,000. The process includes the addition of a roof air intake, a six-speed gearbox, and a wheelbase lengthening for a very Audi R8-like effect.