The essential 1960s British sports car, the tiny Lotus Elan, remains a benchmark for handling. With its pop-up headlights, curved windshield, and roll-up windows, it was a symbol of Swinging London, immortalized in The Avengers television series.
The Elan was built with a backbone frame and a fibreglass body, and had four-wheel independent suspension. Its Ford 1600-cc four-cylinder engine developed a lively 105 bhp, and featured Lotus’s own twin-cam head, like the Lotus Cortina. Weighing only 1,420 pounds, early cars could do 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds, with the quarter-mile in 15.7 seconds (at 87 mph).
Four series of Elans were built between 1962 and 1973, with Plus 2 and Plus 2S 2+2 models added from 1967 to 1974. All Elans were roadsters until 1965, with a removable hardtop optional, but all Plus 2 models were coupes and never sold as kits as other Lotuses were. The second series Elan arrived in late 1964, offering a full-width dash with glove box, oval tail lights, the battery in the trunk, and optional knock-off wheels. The Series 3 fixed-head coupe arrived in late 1965, followed by a companion roadster in mid-1966. Estimates of Elan construction vary widely, from 9,569 all the way up to 12,224, but the lower figure seems more likely.
Chassis 457637, a 1967 Series 3 Drophead Coupe, is a UK car from new which spent 25 years in the sunny climate of Australia. Unlike many original Elans, the chassis is described as being in perfect condition, testament to the warm weather which this example has enjoyed for many years. Much mechanical work has been completed (including an engine rebuild by specialist Farnham Engines) which is supported by a large file of invoices and receipts. Although not a pressing issue, the vendor advises there is room for a little cosmetic improvement here and there.
This is a very quick little Elan indeed, which we’re sure will be a rewarding car to own for years to come.