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Video Lotus

Video Lotus 1
Video Lotus 2
Video Lotus 3
Video Lotus 4

Video 2012 Exige
Video 2010 Evora
Video 1996 Elise
Video 1994 Type 109 F-1
Video 1987 Esprit Turbo
Video 1984 Type 95T
Video 1971 Type 69 Formula 3
Video 1969 Type 63 All-wheel
Video 1968 Type 51
Video 1967 Type 49
Video 1967 Type 41 B
Video 1965 Type 38
Video 1964 Type 30 Sports Rac.
Video 1964 Type 31 Form. 3
Video 1963 29/2 Indy Car
Video 1962 Elan
Video 1962 Type 22 Form. Jun.
Video 1961 Type 20 Form. Jun.
Video 1960 Type 18 Form. Jun.
Video 1959 Type 17 Sports Rac.
Video 1957 Seven
Video 1957 Elite
Video 1956 Eleven
Video 1955 Mark IX

          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  Lotus Elite

Lotus Elite Type 14
EngineIn-line four-cylinder
Displacement1216 cm³ (76,2 mm * 66,7 mm)
Crankshaftthree/fivefold mounted
Compression ratioFrom 10 : 1
Engine controlOHC (chain)
Mixture preparation1 or 2 SU carburettors/2 Weber twin carburettors
Performance55/77 kW (75/105 HP) at 6100/7000 rpm
Brakes f/rDiscs
Drive trainFront engine with rear drive
Wheelbase2.242 mm
Front suspensionDouble wishbone
Rear suspensionArmstrong spring unit, wishbone
Length3.759 mm
Width1.506 mm
Height1.181 mm
Drag coefficient0,29
Kerb weightca. 560 kg + driver
Maximum speedApprox. 200 km/h
Years of manufacture1957-63

It was a sensational car, because you will have to search a long time in the field of automotive technology to find a chassis made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. Now don't tell me about all these beautiful vehicles such as the Corvette with a body made of GRP. No comparison with this Lotus Elite, because at them was still present a lot of metal.

Early monocoque technology for motor racing

And it was a pretty unique thing for the year of presentation in 1957. Of course, you could argue now that this car, like almost everyone by Colin Chapman, was designed for the motor racing. But at least it was sold more than 1000 times. Such a series of pure plastic is not known to us.

Certainly, a little metal you'll find, for example, around the windshield. Case of bodies whose warping can not be excluded due to bad roads, one always fears the glass breakage as first thing. For glued car windows this is even worse. No, glass breakage was not a problem with this car. However, the chassis all in all had problems with the durability.

No, it's not a malicious gossip because Chapman himself has drawn the conclusions and the successor Elan again equipped with a central frame (pictured above). Of course, he also paid attention to low weight by large cutouts. Perhaps you can recognize how much attention was paid to include the suspension. After that, no manufacturer has probably final risked the method of construction without reinforcement.

Today it would perhaps be possible by CFRP material to absorb the shocks on duration, which a suspension gives out on the body sometimes. But production cars still need a broader crash zone in contrast to formula 1. Although, the meanwhile also getting stiffer and will balanced by stepped airbags, metal is still the appropriate material here. And there it is tempting to connect two crash zones front and rear by metal in the middle.

The design was by Peter Kirwan-Taylor and Frank Costin. You have probably heard of the latter, for he was the co-founder and later partially eponym by Cosworth. The achieved drag coefficient was phenomenal especially for the time, particularly when supposing that no wind tunnel was available. Please keep in mind that the enormously small cross-sectional area of this very low vehicle was multiplied yet, what reduced the air resistance again.

In the US, much more expensive than a Porsche

Expensive was the Lotus and was not even offered, for example, Germany. As you can find out e.g. from the second video (worth seeing, English language), Lotus has not done much itself, but in principle parts from suppliers mounted to a car. This arose from the tradition of the company, the sold tuning kits for years. Even the Elite was available as a kit. This firstly had tax reasons in the UK, but also with the possible use of the car for racing purposes. One does not need to buy later anyway replaceable parts.

It triumphed then with class wins at Le Mans and the Nürburgring according to its fulminant power to weight ratio and streamline shape. A not-mentioned drawback of the fiberglass body we do not want to conceal, namely the fact that there were certain tendencies to roar. But that could also have had the reason that Chapman even in case of production cars has saved something unneccessary like interior cladding on the roof. 03/15               Top of page               Index
2001-2015 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - E-Mail
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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