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Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan Published: 1st Feb 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Lotus Elan
Lotus Elan
Lotus Elan
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The Elan remains the blueprint for the modern sports car – you only have to look at the best selling Mazda MX-5 to confirm that. This Lotus is as desirable as ever and, thanks to more than 50 years of development and experience, they are now a far more durable design than when contemporary.

DRIVING

Like the Seven, the Elan was the first sports car that demanded to be driven with fingertips and set new standards for handling although, like all thoroughbreds, they need watching in the wet. But what makes the Lotus Elan entertaining is not just its speed or even its great handling, but rather its light weight and compact dimensions, both of which ensure there’s much more ‘road room’ to play with, in safety. B-roads show up car best as they can be fussy on motorways.

BEST MODELS

The most valued Elans are the Big Valve engined Sprints or the earliest models, which are eligible for FIA racing, although any good one is worth having. Having said that, the S4 of 1968 with its emission-regulated Stromberg carbs were slated for poor running. Roadsters are always worth more over fixedheads but the best value Elan has to be the Plus2; a larger four-seater that some say handles better than the original.

Elans have soared in value and Paul Matty says the 100K model isn’t far away, witness the very average ex-Peter Sellers car selling for some £60,000 at a recent auction. Sprints are worth the most and £50-£60K for top examples common with decent cars for half this. Good Plus2s can be found for under £20,000. Projects need careful budgeting as Elans can cost an exorbitant amount to bring back to life and in many cases it is better to buy the best you can run to than resurrect a basket case.

BUYING ADVICE

Standards vary enormously so check out and drive as many as you can to set a benchmark. If a car has been restored, ensure there is evidence of a thorough job. Look for rust and repairs, especially around the suspension points – sometimes a new chassis is the only cure, especially if the frame has been distorted, which even kerbing can do. GRP body can’t rust of course but 1960’s fibreglass is prone to decay and cracks; new shells are available however. The engines are quite tough and you can make a better one now than ever. Look for all the usual suspects – oil smoke and noises/rattles from the timing chain. Suspension is Herald-based at the front so expect usual trunnion wear problems. Ford transmissions are employed but the Austin Maxi five-speeder is hard to repair.



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