Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lotus Elan - an alltime handling benchmark

The Lotus Elan, built between 1962 and 1972, was a significant success for Lotus. While its predecessor, the gorgeous Lotus Elite was a financial disaster, the Elan made up for it. Almost 10'000 cars were built and sold partially as kit cars, partially as completed cars. Lotus produced coup├ęs (from the S3 onwards) and convertibles, called DHC in this case.
Compared to other and bigger cars the Lotus Elan was quite expensive, but this didn't hinder people to buy them. Performance was good thanks to a low weight of 680 kg or so and power was with up to 128 HP sufficient to beat much bigger car. The best though was the handling. Different to other cars where good handling is reached by sacrificing ride quality the Elan offers quite a bit of comfort and still is a great handling car.
Lotus Elan were very successful in racing also and are sought after cars today to compete in the pre-1965 GT classes. The twin cam four cylinder engine can be tweaked beyond 160 HP and the Elans can even compete with cars like AC Cobra or TVR Griffith 200, assuming the right track and weather conditions come together.
I never owned one of these yet, but it keeps being on my shopping list.

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