The flyweight Lotus Elan is regarded as one of the best-handling cars ever made, which is some tribute, given it was designed in the 1960s. Created by Lotus founder Colin Chapman, it used a simple backbone chassis and fitted Triumph Herald independent front suspension with Chapman's own patented struts on the independent rear. The car was supposed to use a glass-fibre moonquake, but in order to test prototypes quickly, they had a separate steel chassis. It worked so well that the Elan went into production like this, with a glass-fibre body. The engine was from the Lotus Cortinas of the time, starting out as a 85ci (1.4-liter) unit but later changing to 95ci (1.5-liter). The power was exceptional but it was the car's 1515lb (687kg) that made it so lively. In corners it didn't under- or oversteer, but tracked on a line around bends and gave huge levels of grip even on 6.4-inch (165mm) tyres.
Lotus Elan (1971) Specifications
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