Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan

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Lotus Elan
Manufacturer Lotus Cars
Production 1962–1973
Model years
  • S1 1962-1964
  • S2 1964–1966
  • 26R 1964-1965
  • S3 1966–1968
  • S4 1968–1971
  • Sprint 1971–1973
Assembly Hethel, England
Body style
  • 2-door coupe
  • 2-door Roadster
Layout Front Engine/Rear Drive
Engine Lotus 1,558cc Straight-4
Wheelbase 2,134 mm (84 in)
Length 3,683 mm (145 in)
Width 1,422 mm (56 in)
Height 1,156 mm (46 in)
Curb weight 688 kg (1,517 lb)

The Lotus Elan is a true sports car. A sports car is about being light, having finesse, and a focus on handling rather than speed. A true sports car is about the driver to feel like he is in control of what is going on. This is a Lotus Elan.



The Lotus Elan was introduced in 1962 at The Lotus Elan was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 1,500 lb (680 kg), the Elan embodied the Colin Chapman minimum weight design philosophy. Initial versions of the Elan were also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. The Elan was technologically advanced with a twin-cam 1558 cc engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, and 4-wheel independent suspension. The Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine was based on Ford's Pre-Cross-flow 4-cylinder 1500 cc engine, with a Lotus-inspired Cosworth alloy twin-cam head.

The Lotus Elan's rarity, beautiful lines, impressive performance and practicality are the main factors for the rising interest on these cars among collectors.

The Lotus Elan ceased production in 1973.

In 2004, Sports Car International named the Elan number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.

The Lotus Elan is commonly credited as being the design inspiration for the highly successful Mazda MX-5. Two Lotus Elans were intimately evaluated by Mazda in the process of designing the MX-5.

Design Evolution

Series 1 (1963-1964)

Paragraph about the S1.

Series 2 (1964-1966)

Paragraph about the S2.

Series 3 (1966-1968)

Paragraph about the S3.

Series 4 (1968-1971)

Paragraph about the S4.

Sprint (1971-1973)

Paragraph about the Sprint.



Special Models


IWR Elan Coupe

Hexagon Estate Sprint


In 2004, Sports Car International named the Elan number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.


Date Type 26 Type 36 Type 45 Types 36 & 45 Comments
January 1963 26/0001 Elan 1500 Introduced
May 1963 26/0023 Elan 1600 or S1 Introduced.
May 1963 26/0026 Hardtop is optional
January 1964 26/0330
November 1964 26/3900 S1 final chassis number
26/3901 S2 Introduced
January 1965 26/4325
September 1965 36/4510 S3 FHC (Coupe) Introduced
January 1966 26/5207 36/5201
26/5282 S2 SE Introduced
June 1966 26/5798 S2 SE final chassis number
26/5810 S2 DHC final chassis number
45/5701 S3 DHC SE Introduced
45/5702 S3 DHC Introduced
July 1966 36/5977 S3 FHC SE Introduced
January 1967 36/6679 45/6678 Non-SE Models
36/6680 45/6683 SE Models
August 1967 36/7327 45/7328 Non-SE Models
36/7331 45/7329 SE Models
March 1968 36/7896 45/7895 S4 Models Introduced
December 1969 36/9824 45/9823
January 1970 70.xx.yy.0001z xx - Month of Production
yy - Batch Number
z - Car Type Identity:
A - S4 FHC UK Market
B - S4 FHC Export
C - S4 DHC UK Market
D - S4 DHC Export
E - S4 SE FHC UK Market
F - S4 SE FHC Export
G - S4 SE DHC UK Market
H - S4 SE DHC Export
J - S4 FHC Federal (USA)
K - S4 DHC Federal (USA)
January 1971 71.xx.0001z See January 1970 explanation
February 1971 71.02 Sprint Introduced
January 1972 72.xx.0001z See January 1970 explanation
August 1973 73.08...... Sprint ceased Production

Famous Elans

The Avengers