The Classic Lotus Elan is Totally Unhappy at Rest
The classic Lotus Elan just begs of you to take it out on the open road where it belongs. The elan driver truly revels in its ability to slice quickly through a series of challenging corners, best done of course in the wee small hours of a mid summer’s morning with the top down, it is the kind of car where you lightly put on and take off seemingly small increments of steering lock with the fingertips, you gently brush the brake pedal, and squeeze the throttle & clutch with your toes. Driving an elan requires finesse similar to piloting a light plane.
Rush through the steep alpine country and listen to the crackle and rasp of the twin cam exhaust note bouncing off the rock wall cuttings at 6500 rpm in the intermediate gears is an aural mechanical symphony. The short moments when you call on the disc brakes when you run deep into a corner, then tippy-toeing in second gear deep into the apex of the next corner, such is the joy of a manual four speed, ultra close ratio gearbox with which the elan is equipped.
With a 3.5 to 1 ratio diff, there’s 50 mph in first, and a tad less than 70 mph in second… zero to 100 mph in less than 30 seconds is always an invigorating feeling in a classic lotus sports car. Remarkably, the elan has the ability to do it all so quickly, you often surprise yourself by almost running over the top of a slow driver in a mundane tin top with a large speed differential.
The elan is proof that you don’t need cubic inches for exhilarating performance; just the opposite is true, the performance that this small but very willing twin cam 1600cc engine delivers when coupled with the ultra close ratio gearbox is almost one of disbelief? It has far more performance than one expects from only four cylinders.
To anyone not familiar with, or not ever the pleasure to drive an Elan, would be alarmed, but a lotus elan (Most now over 40 years old) possess impeccable handling, braking and acceleration abilities that in its day was hailed as incredibly outstanding… even today, a well cared for & maintained elan is still a brilliant sports car to own & drive, leaving many a modern car in its wake, such is their race-bred heritage.
The classic elan is arguably truly undervalued as an exciting and extremely rewarding high performance classic sports car to own, you need only ask any long-term Elan owner, many of whom have snapped up several examples to rebuild, maintain and enjoy.
There is a burgeoning & thriving global after market spare parts industry that caters for the Elan owner wanting to maintain, rebuild & restore the elan to better than new condition, the classic lotus Elan is sure to be a much sought after classic sports car for a long time to come, and if you have ever dreamed of owning an elan, you should act quickly to secure yours soon, as the values will surely skyrocket in the short term.
While the lotus elan is an incredibly rewarding car to own & drive drive, they are not without their shortcomings, if you fail to understand the mechanics of the twin cam engine, based on the Ford 1600cc block & capped with a complex alloy twin cam cylinder head, or you do not have a well equipped workshop where repairs, rebuilds, or fibreglass body repairs can be undertaken, think carefully, because for all of its joy, the elan may not be for you.
But, if you are blessed with considerable financial resources, this will afford you an alternative to outsource the servicing and rebuilds. There are numerous lotus specialists in many countries ready to service & maintain your elan at a reasonable cost, their valuable knowledge and expertise has been hard won through many years of involvement with the classic lotus elan marque.
One of the major nemeses of the elan is that of the rear drive train, from the inception of the elan, rubber dough-nuts were employed as flexible drive couplings on the rear intermediate axles, they gave no end of trouble with breakages once several thousand miles and age had taken effect.
The modern answer to this problem is to install a well-designed, robust CV drive shaft conversion. There is an exceptional Australian designed and built drive shaft conversion which many elan owners around the globe have been attracted to for the bullet-proof design and build quality provided. This CV drive shaft system will provide years and years of trouble free elan motoring, and the best part is that the system can be easily installed by the average elan owner without the need for any special tools. Many owners comment on the new driving sensation they experience with their elan after installation of the elantrikbits CV solid drive shaft system.