Speedsters are all the rage these days, with everyone including McLaren, Aston Martin, and even Ferrari fielding their own windshield-less poster cars. However, back in the early 1990s, Lotus were already swapping glass for goggles with this amazing, forward-thinking Elan M200 Concept. What’s more, unlike most purely-static concept cars, this 1991 Elan is totally functional and drivable, being based on a blue Lotus Elan that was returned by a customer.

First presented at the 1991 Frankfurt Motor Show, and then again at the Geneva Motor Show the following year, Lotus wanted the M200 to represent a more exhilarating alternative to the M100 Elan. Perhaps this was an attempt to distract from the Elan’s obvious departure from Lotus heritage, being the first front-wheel-drive car from the marque. Regardless, Julian Thompson — who would go on to design the Elise — did an admirable job of adapting Peter Steven’s original design into what appears to be an oversized Hot Wheels model. We’d even argue it might have been a sales hit, provided it was included with a giant orange loop de loop.

According to Thompson, he styled the windshield after that of the Ferrari 312B Formula One car, while interior designer David Brisbourne claims he took inspiration from female swimwear. That may sound strange, but the separated cockpit is almost more spectacular than the vibrant yellow bodywork. Just one look at the wonderfully-1990s purple fabric combined with black leather and Alcantara has us wishing modern manufacturers would take more risks with their textile choices. Today, this jaw-dropping little Lotus is available with Andreas Wüest and has covered a mere 100 km, but that should encourage the next owner to get out and share this fabulous prototype with the world!