Classic Sports Cars

Lotus Elan (1962-74)

November 1, 2012

Lotus Elan SprintThe Lotus Elan was introduced in October 1962 at the British Motorshow. Elan was first launced as a roadster. An optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupe version in 1965. Elan +2 was introduced in 1967 with two rear seats. Elan was the first Lotus road car to use the a steel backbone chassis, a technology that continued until 1995 on all Lotus road cars including the Europa, Excel and the Esprit.

The technically innovative Lotus Elan had disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspension. It was powered by a technologically advanced twin-cam 1558cc engine. It came with luxuries that were a rarity at the time, like electric windows, carpets, a heater, and in vogue wooden fascia, but it was still light enough on the scales to outrun the competition. With the backbone tube chassis and fiberglass body, Elan weighted just 670 kilograms and had great power-to-weight ratio. The Lotus Elan Sprint, which was introduced in 1973, could accelerate from zero to 60mph in 6,6 seconds.

Elan was also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. Although a kit was not really the best description of these cars. They could easily be assembled in a weekend, as only a few key components had to be mated together. Lotus Elan production finished in 1972 and the +2 ended two years later. With a production run of 17,392 cars, the Elan family was one of the most successful in Lotus’ history.