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>>> At this point in its history (i.e., as used on the federal Elise), the chassis goes by the codename 121 and has not altered a lot since the dawn of the Lotus Elise Series 1 at the 1995 Frankfurt motor show. The secret is in the bonded aluminum—actually bonded and then riveted at key stress points using self-sealing fasteners manufactured by EJOT in Germany.

Aluminum is a sensitive material given to heat distortion when welded, and bonding solves this problem for a small-scale maker like Lotus (as it does, indeed, for Panoz). Originally supplied by Hydro Aluminum Automotive Structures out of Tonda, Denmark, it still comes from the same company. Hydro was forced to open a U.K. subsidiary at Bromyard in Worcestershire in 1998 to meet volume requirements when the Elise-based Opel Speedster arrived. Ciba Polymers in Switzerland came up with the original bonding adhesive solution.

Today, both the red adhesive that bonds the aluminum chassis bits together and the black adhesive that bonds the fiberglass panels to the chassis are produced by Dow Automotive. The naked chassis weighs roughly 155 pounds and there have been no recorded failures to date.
 
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