Lotus Elan DHC (1962 – 1973)

The Lotus Elan started life as a lightweight roadster in 1963 and was constantly being developed through its four series life span. The Elan was a technologically advanced sports car compared to its rivals of the time such as the MG’s and Austin Healey’s, designed by the late Colin Chapman the Elan was Lotus’s first car to be built on a steel backbone chassis with a lightweight fibre glass body shell, its outstanding performance and handling was partly due to the Elan’s lightness weighing just 585 kg less than a mini!

The Lotus Elan started life as a lightweight roadster in 1963 and was constantly being developed through its four series life span. The Elan was a technologically advanced sports car compared to its rivals of the time such as the MG’s and Austin Healey’s, designed by the late Colin Chapman the Elan was Lotus’s first car to be built on a steel backbone chassis with a lightweight fibre glass body shell, its outstanding performance and handling was partly due to the Elan’s lightness weighing just 585 kg less than a mini!

Buyers Guide

If you are thinking of buying a Lotus Elan then we have a few tips on what to look for starting with the body work. Elan’s have a fibre glass body which is strong and light, however years of constant flexing result in some wear and tear such as cracks so look out for minor splits in the body. The paint job may have been replaced over time so ask the buyer if it’s had a re-spray and find out when, as any signs of cracks and splits may indicate it has been done poorly.

Most Elan’s will have had a replacement chassis by now as the original ones were not galvanised. A replacement will be, inhibiting any corrosion problems.

The Elan engine is legendary. It’s a Lotus twin cam based around the Ford 1500 block giving 1556 cc. These are old engines today and will leak or burn a little oil.

The main weak point of the engine is the water pump. Look for leaks at the front of the engine. A replacement water pump means the head must be taken off before the front cover and pump can be removed. Some engines have a water pump conversion which involves fitting a special front cover so the pump can be removed easily. This is identifiable by bolts around the water pump.

The Stamped steel wheels are light but do show signs of cracking with age so look out for this. Electrics are sadly typical 60’s British and like most fibre glass cars suffer with poor earthing problems.

Lotus Elan

Specification

Year Produced1962-1973
Performance0 - 60 mph 8.0 sec / Top Speed - 120 mph
Power & Torque105 bhp / 108 lb ft
Engine1556 cc four cylinder / 8 valves
Drive trainfront engine / RWD
TransmissionFour speed manual
Weight585 kg

Valuation

ConditionLaunch201020112012201320142015
Concourse£1,499.00£35,000.00£40,000.00£45,000.00£50,000.00£55,000.00£60,000.00
Excellent£30,000.00£32,000.00£35,000.00£38,500.00£40,000.00£45,000.00
Good£18,000.00£19,000.00£20,000.00£21,000.00£22,500.00£25,000.00
Fair£10,000.00£12,000.00£13,000.00£14,000.00£14,500.00£15,000.00

Interesting Fact

In its early days Lotus sold cars aimed at privateer racers and trialists. Its early road cars could be bought as kits, in order to save on purchase tax, this kit car era ended in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:

“The sixties saw a change in sports car design with light weight, aerodynamic machines making their way to the fore front. These cars made excellent fast road tools as well and with people buying it was a great era for the Lotus Elan.”

mark says

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