Lotus Cars put its chief designer, Russell Carr, on the case of developing a one-off version of the Lotus Exige called the “Espionage.” While Lotus certainly isn’t as famous as, say, Aston Martin when it comes to spy drives, it has had product piloted by Roger Moore on film (certainly not the foremost Bond). While U.S. vehicle manufacturers have had product created with fashion designers such that they’ve had some rather bizarre cars, in the present case, (1) Lotus worked with Gieves & Hawkes, a clothier with the appropriate address of No. 1 Saville Row, and (2) the vehicle was created for a display at Harrods (“Truly British”). Gieves & Hawkes designed a “Spy Suit” for the event, which is echoed on the 189-hp Exige. Specifically: the car has special (“bespoke”) navy paint that’s, of course, pin-striped like the suit; the seat inserts, dashboard, and door inserts are also pin-striped. The rear of the seats are lined with silk. And because a secret agent ostensibly wears brogue shoes, the floor mats are black leather. Price for the “Espionage”? £39,995.
Whilst (as they’d say Over There) on the subject of Harrods, this brings us to something somewhat more practical. Premier Pedal Cars Ltd.(PPC) was established in 2003 by Stuart Colmer, who imports metal pedal cars from China and sells them at places including that grand department store. He realized that although the British motor industry may have all but disappeared, there was the opportunity for U.K.-built cars in his niche. Omega Plastics, a British firm, worked with the Polymer Center of Teesside and Responsive Engineering of Gateshead to develop a concept for the Noddy pedal car, which PPC had secured the license to build. The team produced parts for the prototype in 12 days thanks, in large part, to the use of PowerMILL CAM software from Delcam (www.delcam.com; Birmingham, U.K.). Tooling for manufacturing the Noddy was produced by D&S of Newton Aycliffe, another Delcam user.