Published on October 12th, 2022 | by Sounder Rajen0
Celebrate 60 Years Of The Lotus Elan
See how the Lotus Elan influenced car culture for 60 years
60 years ago on 10 October 1962 on a Wednesday, Lotus cars introduced the iconic Lotus Elan 1500. Then, it was just another sports car, but today, it is the car that arguably gave us the blueprint to some of car culture’s most popular sports cars. Let’s go on a journey through time to see how this car influenced motoring in that time.
In 1962, Jaguar had the E-pace and Ferrari had thee GTO, both wildly popular, big, expensive and powerful muscle cars. Instead of trying to challenge that, Lotus took a different approach and in typical Lotus fashion, they built the modern, lightweight and fun to drive Lotus Elan.
The Lotus Elan was powered by a modified Lotus 1500cc 122E Consul Classic power unit. Although the initial engine was the 1000bhp 1499cc unit, Lotus replaced this engine with a 1.6 litre unit after 22 units had been completed. So all the 1.5 litre cars were recalled to the Lotus Factory in Chestnut and had their engines replaced.
If the pictures of the Lotus Elan look similar, that’s because this car was the design inspiration for many famous sports cars in the future such as the Mazda MX-5, which was the best selling sports car of the 1990s. This design was also the inspiration for the Lotus Elise, a name synonymous with the Lotus brand since its inception in 1996.
Moreover, the iconic open top design was followed up with a hard top cover for the Lotus Elan not too long after it initially launched. This hardtop version utilized the steel backbone chassis, a technology that Lotus continued to use in their cars until the year 1995.
After the success of the Lotus elan, Lotus gave us the Lotus Elan Sprint in 1973. This car was a more powerful version of the original Elan we all knew and loved. This car could achieve the century sprint in just 6.6 seconds. That may not sound like much by today’s standards for sports cars but it was wicked fast at the time.
Now we have an abundance of sports cars, some of which were heavily inspired by the Lotus Elan and we are glad because this iconic design is practical, stylish and induces a sense of nostalgia in us all.
What do you think of the Lotus Elan? I personally hope to see even more affordable sports cars built on a similar platform as I think it looks amazing.