• Feb 20, 2010
Vauxhall VX220 in a La Jolla garage - Click above for high-res image gallery

If you spend any time hanging out in the same areas frequented by the affluent, you'll inevitably stumble across plenty of exotic motorized conveyances. Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and La Jolla, California are riddled with Bentleys, Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins. Since those vehicles are readily available for sale here, anyone with enough liquidity can wander in to a dealer and pick one up.

Every once in a while, though, you'll stumble across something genuinely unusual, that clearly took some effort to acquire. Such was the case the other day when we came across this diminutive silver speed demon in a La Jolla parking garage. Those familiar with the Lotus Elise and Tesla Roadster will recognize the lineage. However, this machine is far more sharply chiseled than its cousins.

This is the Vauxhall VX220, complete with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the cockpit. During the first half of the 1990s last decade, Vauxhall and its continental counterpart, Opel, collaborated with Lotus to produce a rebodied and stretched version of the Elise powered by General Motors Ecotec four-cylinder engines. We have no idea how this car came to make its way to the Golden State, but if the owner (we're probably safe in assuming there is only one person in California with a VX220) reads this and cares to enlighten us, we're all ears.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      the vx220 came out in 2000 so your 5 years off ;-)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @TC:

        Yep, never showed up in the states. Although rumors floated around for a while that it would show up in the US, possibly as a Pontiac Fiero or something new under chevrolet. Mid-engined roadsters have always been a niche market here - which is why it never went into fruition and why lotus is really the only company that sells a reasonably affordable mid-engine car here in the states.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Vauxhall? Aka a RHD Opel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My 5 years off? What?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've heard horror stories of cars like this being crushed... truth is if it doesn't have a US DOT valid VIN (or it's not here on legal diplomatic use, or some manufacturer plan) it's just not legal.

      I've heard of cars here illegally (like switched VIN's, etc etc) involved in accidents where the insurance companies didn't cover the vehicle or damages caused.

      In any other case it's just truckload of money to get a car here younger than 25 years old that is DOT exempt.

      Nice car though!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I remember Top Gear did a bit on it. With a turbo it must really be a fun track car.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CbLPGywKiE&feature=related
      • 4 Years Ago
      if it's a turbo i'll get excited.

      i'm not familiar with that garage, care to give us car hunters a clue? I guessing not near prospect given the lack of underground parking... looks like a condo or something?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just and FYI, if you have ever seen the movie Blue Streak, the horrible buddy comedy with Martin Lawrence, there is a scene in which his character is standing on a bridge yelling at someone. If you look closely enough there is an orange VX220 that has to swerve around him since he is standing in the middle of the street during this scene. An odd and brief appearance but it was there none the less and caught my attention when I watched it 10 years ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why have I never seen this outside of Forza..?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Imagine a Mercedes wearing a Chevy badge without actual discounts.

        That's why.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I believe Franz von Holzhausen has one registered in California.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Guy thought he had something pretty unique here in the states. That is until he pulled up next to a Saturn Sky one day, poor guy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lotus is a transverse rear-mid engined car

        Kappas are longitudinal front or front-mid, rear wheel drive car.

        That is like saying that a Corvette and an Ultima GTR are the same car, since they both have GM engines.

        The only way you can say that is if you define "modified" as completely and utterly different.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As I understood it, the Krappa is a heavily modified Elise.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like the Opel Speedster Turbo, and I think I like the EcoSpeedster even more!

      http://www.matthiasstukenberg.de/safe/gallery/full/Opel%20Eco%20Speedster%20Concept%202002%20-%20007.jpg
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I remember correctly there was a GM executive that owned a VX220 in Michigan. Maybe it made it's way to CA now...
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM went to great lengths to re-engineer this vehicle into the Sky/Solstice. Why they moved the engine and ruined the balance, I have no idea.

      This is the Elise for the masses. They should have kept it as-is for the US market. To change it was beyond insane.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Rich:
        You seriously think GM took a mid-engine Lotus platform and re-engineered it to a front engine layout...and then sold it as a Pontiac in the low $20k's...wow again.

        The VX220 chassis was an aluminum tub...not something for the garden variety Pontiac/Saturn...I'm not sure what you think they have in common, but a chassis/platform is not one of them...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, I'm not your personal researcher.

        Stay on top of the motoring news, is the only advice I can offer...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm well aware the Kappa looks completely different to the Speedster platform. And while the Speedster is very closely related to the Elise, the Elise bears very little resemblance to the Austin Mini Metro from which it in turn was derived.

        You'll probably tell me next that the Toyota engine in my wife's Prizm is not at all related to the Toyota engine in the Elise. Because, well, the Elise only has two seats.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Rich:
        You still haven't supplied your "research" to relieve me of my "pig ignorance"...I was hoping you could really supply some information that Kappa and the VX220 really shared a platform...looks like you're still trying to find that information (that doesn't exist) Good luck with all that
        • 4 Years Ago
        For the last time...this has nothing to do with the Kappa platform...wow...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep, that's what I thought...I'm done here, and I think we all know who's right, whatever you define as "research", here's mine:

        http://westcoast.kappacarclub.org/What%20is%20a%20Kappa.htm

        http://cars.about.com/cs/automakers/a/Kappa_platform.htm

        http://www.economicexpert.com/a/GM:Kappa:platform.html

        I was never trying to put you down, but whatever information you had, I believe you were misinformed; just trying to set things right. This isn't a pissing contest.

        PS: watch out for vare9550's garbage compactor
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, nothing there negates the possibility of Elise heritage. There are hints in the Wikipedia article "GM Kappa platform", specifically the mention of the use of the Delta platform in the driveable concept and the subsequent realization that the Delta platform wouldn't be flexible enough for mass production. Bear in mind that Wikipedia requires editors to cite sources, so a lack of reliable sources means a claim won't be made there.

        If I was misinformed, fair enough -- you can only trust what you read, right? -- but the reason I *do* trust what I read is that it was part of a detailed article on the birth of the Kappa platform. Sure, I only read it in one place. Maybe the article meant to say the Elise was looked at as being the ideal proportions. Maybe there was no direct lineage like the article claimed. Or maybe it wasn't official: some structural ideas re-used here and there without credit to the original designers. I don't have the blueprints to compare the two! Maybe it's a copy in the same way Hitler's Beetle was a copy of Ganz's Meikaefer.

        There. I got "Hitler" in there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Opel and Vauxhall are the same thing and i don`t really know why they needed 2 names for the same cars.It looks great though
    • Load More Comments