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  Lotus Elan

EngineIn-line four-cylinder
Displacement (bore * stroke1558 cm³ 82,55 mm * 72,7 mm)
Compression10,3 : 1
ValvetrainDOHC (chain)
Mixture preparation2 Twin Weber carburetors 40 DCOE
Torque153 Nm at 5500 rpm
Performance94 kW (128 HP) at 6500 rpm
TypeFront engine with rear drive
ClutchSingle-disc dry clutch
Wheelbase2.310 mm
Front suspensionDouble triangular wishbones
Rear suspensionSpring strut-trapeze arm
SteeringGear rack
BrakesFour discs, servo
Tyres155 HR 13 (4,5")
Length3.670 mm
Width1.420 mm
Height1.170 mm
Top speedApprox. 190 km/h
Kerb weightApprox. 700 kg without driver
Years of construction1962 - 1966
Electric12 V/ by underpressure extendable pop-up headlights

Small and lightweight cars, the concept of Lotus. Interior is built in as little comfort as possible and it is narrow, too. For this you will be compensated with a more normal displacement with unusual performance despite a four-cylinder engine.

The Lotus boss Colin Chapman focus uncompromisingly on lightweight construction. This includes at this vehicle not only the body from fiberglass reinforced plastics, but otherwise any linkage is placed on the gold scale. Lotus is one of the companies, indicating that one can hang on a M8 bolt at least 500 kg. Like this flanges on the steering will be slimmed down in comparison to the competitors. A two-bolt flange should be enough, important for those who manually itself create. Here really should nothing be forgotten.

The distribution of thes cars is low in Germany. And who wants to get a car in the UK, should have a particularly good look under the plastic skin at the usual prices there, because processing is not just the strong point even of new Lotus of the time.

The backbone of this construction is a central tubular steel frame. Where one is looking for a pipe in vain. It is more an open downwards tunnel, which houses in front the engine and gearbox and rear the axle drive. So there is little steel plate to see from the bottom. The so-called floor panels are all made of GRP.

This is nothing in comparison with driving performances which are possible at slightly over 700 kg kerb weight by 88 kW (120 hp) and more. The statement of power to weight ratio is only limited information because such a Lotus is certainly more interesting than twice as heavy car, also with redoubled performance. If at the Elan many components are problematic, the engine is not. For the originates of Ford, but with a substantially reworked head. Also the sound is adapted to the sports car.

Of course there are still examples with more performance. Approximately bored out to 1.8 liters and provided with appropriate camshafts are even possible 110 kW (150 hp). Then the acceleration comes in absolute sports car ranges for the time. In addition, the rear independent wheel suspension and an engine almost behind the front axle, best conditions for attractive handling.

For the repairer the car is also not bad. Conventional construction with front engine and rear drive promise after all, still plenty of room during assembly, despite rellay small floor space. Everything seems to be attached with a maximum of two screws, eg the bumpers. The wheels even have central locking, which is solved and tightened with a not too hard hammer.

But the quirks. Harmless the front ball joints. The others have too. But as independent rear suspension is still relatively rare at the time, the constructor has decided for joints made of hard rubber. Something like this, BMW has just dared at the 700, with less than half the performance.

However, there is hope. As the British love old stuff, especially their own, perhaps even more than we articulated shaft, you can upgrade the Elan afterwards by cardan shafts, worthy of the name. They are provided with constant velocity fixed joints and will keep well, so long as such a car is still alive. Bought in the UK, they are not even excessively expensive.

A drawback of the car, the space conditions. In front of the engine, it is yawning void, but inside the people over 1.80 even have difficulties. Also the height leaves something to be desired, even though one sits only a few centimeters above the asphalt. With the top down, that's no problem with accident-free driving, but there's a hardtop, and even a coupe with fixed top. 03/12               Top of page               Index
2001-2014 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - Email
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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