The Elite was Lotus boss Colin Chapman's first attempt at a road car, and first appeared in 1957. It was also a technical revelation, being the first car to be built with a fiberglass moonquake which helped keep its overall weight down. It used independent suspension all round, with wishbones and coils at the front, and struts at the back. That gave the Elite a firm ride but incredibly nimble handling, while the lightweight bodywork meant performance was excellent, albeit at the expense of a noisy cabin. A Special Equipment version, dubbed SE, appeared in 1960 and came with a close-ratio gearbox and increased power output, while power was increased again in 1962. Lotus sold nearly 1000 Elites before the model was replaced by the cheaper and even more entertaining Elan in 1964. The Elite was a successful racer too, with six class wins at Le Mans in six years.
Lotus Elite Specifications
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