Lotus Elan Plus 2
|1967 to 1975|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||1,557 cc Lotus TwinCam I4 (petrol)|
|Transmission||4-speed manual (all-synchromesh)|
|Wheelbase||96.0 in (2,438 mm)|
|Length||169.0 in (4,293 mm)|
|Width||66.0 in (1,676 mm)|
|Height||47.0 in (1,194 mm)|
An Elan +2 was introduced in 1967 with a longer wheelbase and two more rear seats. The Elan +2 embodied the Lotus spirit: It was a fast and agile sport coupe. It combined the performance and reliability of the Elan "Coupe" with genuine 2+2 passenger comfort. Tested maximum power: 108-126 bhp (net) (depending on the model); top speed: 120 mph (190 km/h), 0–60 mph in 7.9 seconds, 0-100 mph 21.8 seconds. 5,200 Elans +2 were made: fewer than 1,200 of these cars remain in the roads today. Their relative rarity, beautiful lines, impressive performance and practicality are the main factors for the rising interest on these cars among collectors.
The Elan ceased production in 1973 and the Elan +2 in 1975, succeeded by Elite II and Lotus Eclat. An estimated total of 17,000 original Elans and Elans +2 were built. Because of its successful design and rigorous attention to cost control on the body, chassis, engine and the transmission, the Elan went on to become Lotus' first commercial success, reviving a company stretched thin by the more exotic and expensive to build Lotus Elite with fiberglass monocoque body/chassis and all-aluminium Coventry Climax engine; and enabled funding of the Lotus success in racing over the next ten years.
This generation of the two-seater Elan was famously driven by the character Emma Peel on the British television series The Avengers. In 2004, Sports Car International named the Elan number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s. The original version of the car was designed by Ron Hickman, who also designed the first Lotus Europa as part of Lotus' GT40 project bid and made his fortune having designed the Black & Decker Workmate.
The original Elan is usually credited as being the design inspiration for the highly successful 1989 Mazda MX-5 (Mazda Miata in North America). Two Elans were intimately evaluated by Mazda in the process of designing the MX-5.