• Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan was the sales name of two different sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. The first generation of the Elan was built from 1962 to 1975 and was available as a convertible and coupe available. The second generation was available from 1989 to 1995 only as a convertible.

The Elan was introduced in 1962 as a roadster (Type 26), as of 1963 there was a hardtop option and from 1965 a Coupé (Type 36). The two-seater Elan replaced the elegant but not tough and expensive to be produced Lotus Elite. In 1966, the roadster version with a convertible ("Drophead Coupe", type 45) was replaced, in 1967 was awarded the Elan +2 (Type 50), a version with a longer wheelbase and offered two seats in the rear. The Elan was the first Lotus production sports car with Steel frame and body of glass-fiber reinforced plastic. The vehicle has 680kg curb weight. Early versions of the Elan were also available as a kit to save the tax on finished vehicles. The Elan was technologically advanced with a 1558cc engine, four-wheel disc brakes and independent suspension. The Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine was based on Ford Kent engine, with a style inspired by Lotus Cosworth aluminum cylinder head with two overhead camshafts. This Lotus-Ford four-cylinder engine was used in a number of other Lotus sports and racing cars.

Instead of a vulnerable self-supporting plastic body, which would have to be purchased as the Elite, the Elan has produced a separate vehicle frame made of steel, the Lotus itself. The X-shaped central tube frame weighs 34kg/75 lb and contributes between his front ends of the engine and transmission, while the final drive and rear wheel suspension at the rear end sit. The seats are mounted in the fiberglass shell deep on either side of the central tube. The rear shocks are mounted on tall thin arms of the frame. Unusual were the rubber-sprung joints of the drive shaft, which provided for the building-up of the car when irregular gas was given.

The new Lotus engine with the engine block of Ford Cortina engine had five crankshaft bearings. The aluminum cylinder head was an evolution of the head with two overhead camshafts, hemispherical combustion chambers and two valves per cylinder from the 1950s. This new engine was more than ten years a mainstay of the company, he also worked in three models from Ford: the Lotus Cortina Mk 1, the Lotus Cortina Mk 2 and the Escort Twin Cam.

The new Elan was an immediate success. He was small, light, fast and economical, also it offered responsive handling, excellent roadholding and a comfortable ride. Although the car has been redesigned with time and improved, it was decried as unreliable, especially what the electrics involved. However, these gaps could be eliminated over the years, and the little two-seater has become a perennial favorite. The best convertible models were the final sprint Big Valve 1971-1973, especially the carefully crafted closed coupe. In retrospect, the models with Stromberg carburetors were probably the worst choice, but still a full generation of Elan was ahead of its competition when it came to driving behavior and technology. In just over ten years 9659 copies were produced.

The Plus 2 had the same engines, transmissions and suspension systems such as the Elan, but completely different chassis and bodies. Although the chassis also had a central tube structure as the well-established model, but with 31 cm longer wheelbase and a wider track. Each Elan Plus 2 had a fixed coupe roof, but by private manufacturers have also built a few folding roof coupe.

Just like the smaller the Elan Plus 2 was very fast and it surprisingly economical, also had his road-nothing to be desired. In addition, however, he offered more space and more practical than its little brother. Since he was heavier than the two-seater, the Plus 2 could not be just as fast, so Lotus sat him in 1971 Big-valve engines and from 1972, a new five-speed gearbox a. In 1974, the Plus 2 was taken off the market and by the replace larger and more expensive Elite the second generation. A total of 4798 Elan were at least built Plus 2..

The Lotus Elan S2 was technically identical to the S1, but had better front brakes, a dash of wood and wish wheels with center lock.

The Lotus Elan S3 (1965-1968) came either as a closed coupe and with SE-motor (85 kW) and with frame around the side windows in the open sports version.

The Lotus Elan S4 (1968-1971) had been revised and had wider fenders, a hood bulge and a modified dashboard.

The Lotus Elan Sprint (1971-1973) was the Big Valve engine with 93 kW and an improved drive train. Nevertheless, the top speed increased only to 189km/h

The Lotus Elan Plus 2S (1969-1971) was better equipped than the base version. He was not available as a kit.

The Lotus Elan Plus 2S 130 (1971-1974) had a Big-valve engine with 93 kW.

The Lotus Elan Plus 2S 130/5 (1972-1974) had the 93 kW engine and a five-speed gearbox. He was 193km/h fast.

Hexagon Motors, a Lotus dealer in the London district of Highgate, developed in 1971 a Shooting Brake based on the Elan. The car had large glass windows behind the B-pillar and a steep rear end financial statements. The rear window served as the trunk lid. The conversion costs amounted to £ 595, representing a third of the new car price. Hexagon only produced two copies of the station wagon.

The second Lotus Elan (M100) was published in 1989 as a front-wheel drive roadster. After Chapman’s death, the company was nearly bankrupt gone. The mid-1980s, it was back in big trouble until 1986, when General Motors finally took over the company Lotus. The first pep project in 1982 was the M90 ​​rear-wheel drive and Toyota engine, but this was dropped in 1985 in favor of also constructed with the help of Toyota X100. After the acquisition by GM, this project fell under the table, instead started in 1986 the development of the all-new M100.

The actual "new vigor" finally was then a front wheel drive car (for the first time at Lotus) and a transversely mounted 1.6-liter 16-valve Isuzu with five-speed manual gearbox. We chose this drive unit for obvious reasons, because GM was a partner at Isuzu. The new car had not only front wheel drive, but also a new sub-frame for the front suspension, thus from the base, that the central pipe and the frame is reinforced with steel floor assembly was isolated. Apart from this new design, the front suspension was, as usual, equipped with double wishbones, while the long-standing interpretation of Excel, including the wide-set handlebars came on the rear axle to the course. The engineers had left room for a possible all-wheel drive, which was never realized.

The car was short, broad, squat and stocky, with a huge front wheel and a narrow two-seater bodywork. The hood disappeared at the opening in a corresponding cavity behind the seats. The car was (119 kW) available with fuel injection engine (95 kW) or turbocharged. The sales forecast Lotus was soon confirmed by the sales figures. The Elan could be well controlled and offered a lot of quality for the money, the SE cost in 1990 Launch 20,325 pounds – compared to paid 26,400 pounds for a Excel. The performance of the Elan received a lot of praise, a SE accelerated from 0 to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and from 0 to 160km/h in only 17.5 secondsLotus was hopeful that the momentum for a renewed expansion would make, and although the start of the front-wheel drive sluggish designed, it seems as if it would still far carry into the 1990s, the Lotus Emblem, but seemed the sales were in the U.S. worse than expected, and the parent company GM ended 1992, the then production.

With the new owner Romano Artioli the S2 was launched from the remnants. Limited to 800 units series with some improvements ran from 1995. The car was only offered with the turbo engine and now came with 16-inch rims with 45s-profile tires as one of the first series manufacturer ever on the market.

After the end of production, the production was sold to the Korean manufacturer Kia Motors. He built the model between 1996 and 1999 as Kia Elan. The design was almost identical to the original except for the different lights. As an engine, however, came with a 1.8 liter engine with 113 kW Kia (151hp) instead of the 1.6 liter Isuzu motor for use. In exports to Arab markets, the model name Galloper Elan was used.

Kia Elan

Rear view

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