Enzo Ferrari, Ayrton Senna, Valentino Balboni – the cadre of characters who happen to have sports cars named after them is impressive to say the least. And Elisa Artioli, namesake of the universally beloved Lotus Elise, is a card-carrying member.
Grandaughter of famed Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli, Elisa was in the right place at just the right time to land a spot in automotive history. Romano owned Lotus (and Bugatti!) while the Elise was in development in the mid-1990s, and insisted the car be christened in celebration of his beloved Elisa. A perfect name for a nearly perfect roadster.
The younger Artioli was born in Bolzano, Italy, and moved back to that lovely spot on the Earth two years ago, after time spent in the UK, Austria, and Germany. An architect by training and education, Artioli has carried her enthusiasm for driving and the Elise wherever she’s gone.
These days she can be found working for a classic car club, and organising epic road trips through the Dolomites by way of her Delightful Driving organisation – the keys to her signature S1 Lotus Elise rarely far from hand. Artioli also squeezed in a bit of time to answer our five little questions.
Which car was the most important to you when you were growing up?
"I might be biased of course, but the most important car to me was the Lotus Elise. The fact that such a famous car was named after me has made a huge impact on my life. With my link to the Elise being so strong, I almost see it as a character more than simply a sports car."
You have a ticket to go anywhere in the world with any vehicle. What are you driving and where?
"My first instinct is to say I would take an Elise, even if I could choose any kind of vehicle. The Lotus would allow me to feel more connected with the whole road trip experience, of course.
"In fact, some years ago I was dreaming of doing a once-in-a-lifetime crazy road trip in my Elise S1 – just getting in and driving as far as I could go!
"These days – maybe I’m getting older and a bit less brave – but I might consider taking a slightly more comfortable car on a long journey."
Tell us about a person, product, or company that we should be paying attention to in the next year?
"I am really curious to see how people will react to the new Lotus Emira. Lotus is opening an exciting new chapter by going fully electric. But as the last combustion engine-powered car from the company, Emira will mark an important chapter in the Lotus story. I’m definitely looking forward to a test drive at some point!"
What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
"I am working on the next car meeting for Delightful Driving. For the last few years I’ve been leading guided driving tours of the Dolomites for car enthusiasts. For me, it is very satisfying to share my passion for driving on these amazing mountain roads, and we always get amazing feedback about the experience. "
What are three interesting items that can always be found on your desk?
"On my desk there is always a to-do list – it’s something that I rely on to keep my mind organised. I usually also have a calendar lying around for a quick check about when the next event is taking place. Of course, I also have digital forms of both on my phone and on my computer, but I still prefer to have these important pieces of paper next to me!
"The third object, and perhaps the most important, is the scale model of my car, which is my motivation every day."
You can catch up with Elisa at her Instagram account, or sign up for the drive of a lifetime in the Italian Alps with her company, www.DelightfulDriving.com. And if you have an idea for the next 5 Questions subject (or that person is you), email us at email@example.com