The original Elan 1500 was introduced in 1962 as a roadster. After a very short production run of just 22 cars the engine was enlarged and the car was redesignated the Elan 1600. An optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupé version in 1965. The two-seat Lotus Elan replaced the elegant, but unreliable and expensive to produce Lotus Elite.
It was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 726 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 DOHC 1557 cc engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent suspension. Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1 supercar, reportedly said that his only disappointment with the McLaren F1 was that he couldn’t give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan.
This Series 4 example is extremely light and very agile and is said to drive fantastically, especially being converted from a street car to a semi-rally/hillclimb car – thus benefiting from a galvanised chassis, suspension and engine improvements/parts from a 26R. The Elan recently benefited from a repaint, new brakes, new wheels (the originals are included in the sale as are many other spare parts) and engine work (dyno file included to show 120 bhp). The Lotus retains its original seats and door panels and even has an original hardtop. Ideal to be enjoyed regularly and/or for classic events/rallys, the Elan is offered with Italian title and FIA papers.