Introduction

The Type 26 Elan was first seen at the London motor show in 1962, and went on sale in 1963. The original Elan was a two seater, front engined convertible. Continual development over the next 12 years resulted in additions to the model range. These additions included a 2 seater coupe and a 4 seater 2+2 coupe. In total 12,224 Elans were built, making the Elan the most sold car from Chapman's era.

Following on from the Elite, with it's expensive to build fibreglass monocoque bodyshell. The Elan maintained Lotus' use of fibreglass for the vehicle body, but utilised a steel backbone chassis. It was the first production car to employ 'pop up' head lights. The car was styled by Ron Hickman who later designed the Black and Decker workbench.

The first 22 Elans were equipped with a 1.5l Ford engine block (109E) and a Harry Mundy designed head. When Lotus introduced the more powerful 1.6l Ford engine (116E) all the original 22 cars were upgraded. During the production life of the Elan it's engine power was increased from 100bhp to 126bhp. The 4 speed Ford gearbox was only replaced by a 5 speed Austin gearbox at the very end of production.

Information Sources
The good source for Elan information on line is Best Elan (see link below).

Other good sources of information are:

'The Lotus Book' book by William Taylor (ISBN 1-902351-00-2)
'Lotus the Legend' book by David Hodges (ISBN 0-75252-074-1)
Statistics
Please see below for the Elan's statistics. Please note that the source of the performance data is sometimes official Lotus Cars data and sometimes independent magazine review data.

Name Production Years Max. Power bhp Max. Torque lb.ft Top Speed mph 0-60mph sec Comment
S1 1.51 1962-1963 100@5700rpm 102@4500rpm 115 9.0s All 1.5l cars were upgraded to 1.6l.
S1 1.6l 1963-1964 105@5500rpm 108@4000rpm 115 7.1s Increased engine capacity give more bhp and lb.ft
Type 26R 1964 140@5500rpm ?@?0rpm 115 9.0s Competition/racing version
S2 1964-1966 105@5500rpm 108@4000rpm 109 7.5s Improvements to brakes and updated interior.
S2 SE 1966 115@6000rpm 108@4000rpm 118 7.5s More powerful engine and close ration 4 speed gearbox.
S3 1965-1968 105@5500rpm 108@4000rpm 112 7.4s Fixed head coupe.
S3 SE 1966 115@6000rpm 108@4000rpm 120 6.8s More powerful engine and close ration 4 speed gearbox.
+2 1967-1968 118@6250rpm 104@5000rpm 120 7.9s Extended chassis allows a 2+2 seating arrangement.
S4 1968-1968 105@5500rpm 108@4000rpm 112 7.4s Squared off wheelarches and a bonnet bulge to clear the carburrettors.
S4 SE 1968 115@6000rpm 108@4000rpm 120 6.8s More powerful engine and close ration 4 speed gearbox.
+2 S 1968-1971 118@6250rpm 112@4600rpm 121 7.7s Squared off wheelarches and a bonnet bulge to clear the carburrettors.
S4 SE Stromberg 1968-1969
110@6000rpm 104@4000rpm 122 7.8s Use of Stromberg carburettors for US emission regulations
S4 SE Weber 1969-1971 118@6000rpm 108@4000rpm 121 7.5s Use of Weber carburettors
Sprint 1971-1973 126@6500rpm 113@5500rpm 121 6.7s Most desirable model with the 126bhp large valve engine.
+2 S 130 1971-1972 126@6500rpm 113@5500rpm 121 7.4s +2 with the large valve engine.
+2 S 130-5 1972-1974 126@6500rpm 113@5500rpm 121 7.4s Finally a five speed gearbox.