The Lotus Elite was Lotus’s first ever GT car and was what really launched Lotus into the forefront of racing. When it debuted in 1958, no one had seen anything like it. The Elite boasted a paltry curb weight, thanks to its unit-body construction that was 100 percent fiberglass, instead of the more typical fiberglass body-on-steel frame construction.
The powerplant was manufactured for Lotus by Coventry Climax, and varied in power, depending on the Elite’s options. This 1,216 cc engine pumped out between 75 and 105 horsepower, and threw power to the rear wheels via an MG -built 4-speed early on or a 4-speed ZF trans in their later years. That may not seem like much by today’s standard, but for a 4-cylinder of the late-50s and early-60s, that was amazing. Plus its lightweight body created a weight ratio ranging from about 10 pounds per horsepower to 20 pounds per horsepower.
The Elite’s body was a thing of beauty, as it looked very quirky, but boasted a 0.29 drag coefficient, which is better than even the 2002 Acura NSX with its 0.30. Its long nose and rounded cabin just added the the car’s character, but its backside just didn’t fit in with the rest of the car.
Regardless of the super-skinny wire wheels and tires, the Elite Series II actually handled pretty well. It can attribute this to its 4-wheel independent suspension, which was unheard of at the time, with dual wishbones upfront and Chapman struts on the rear. These are similar to MacPherson struts in construction, except that they use a drive shaft and light radius rod in place of a lower control arm.
Also revolutionary for the era was its use of 4-wheel disc brakes and inboard brakes on the rear. These inboard brakes help reduce the vehicle’s unsprung weight, keeping the spring and strut movement more stable.
Click past the jump to read about the Elite Series II’s pricing.
At the 2010 Paris Auto Show, Lotus unveiled the impressive Elan concept with the full intention of bringing it back in production form by 2013. Be it blind passion or just a mere oversight, Lotus failed to notice that their new concept bared a strong resemblance to their Evora model, so the company is putting the concept on hold indefinitely.
This may sound a little familiar considering we had already heard that the Elan was headed back to the drawing board for looking too much like the Esprit Concept revealed at the same auto show. This begs the question as to whether or not the Esprit will also be delayed because of the same issue, but apparently that is not the case. The Esprit and the Elite will share many of the same components, including a V8 engine that is rumored to deliver around 550 horsepower. This engine will be mated to either a standard dual-clutch transmission or an optional manual.
However, before those puppies are born, Lotus will be working on updating the apparently inspiring Evora with some aesthetic changes and new trim levels to align it with the rest of the "Lotus New Era" range. The Elise and Exige will also be seeing the light of day, but will do so with newer versions "more usable for every day". The production Exige will finally be revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
Lotus ’ plan of reinventing its brand after years of mediocrity is looking less and less like wishful thinking after the company officially released initial details of their future hybrid supercar, the 2014 Elite.
It’s been widely known that the British sports car maker is aggressively pushing to remake their entire portfolio to cater to a more upper echelon consumer base and if everything goes according to plan, the 2014 Elite should be the first of many aggressively designed sports cars the company is looking to introduce to the market.
Word has it that the Elite will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces around 500-plus horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of just under 200 mph at 196 mph. If these numbers are anywhere close to what the production version of the Elite will be capable of, then you can expect the supercar, with the aggressive backing of the company, to be a player in a market long dominated by the likes of Aston Martin , Audi and Porsche . Even the car’s expected price tag - £115,000 – is right up there with the Porsches of the world.
As for the new – and aggressive – design of the car, the man behind it, designer Donato Coco, left no stones unturned in giving the Elite a more aggressive approach by adding some depth to the car’s front fascia. As somebody who noted the two-dimensional looks of prior Lotus vehicles, Coco’s design of the Elite is about as good as it can get for a brand looking to be edgier and more upscale that what its previous reputation suggests.
Updated 10/13/2010: Lotus revealed today new images of the future Elite sports car. Check them out!
Updated 12/22/2010: Lotus has revealed some new studio photos of the Elite. Check them out in the gallery!
When it comes to the Hennessey Venom GT people have heard a lot, read a lot, and seen lots of images, but there are only a few people around the world who will actually have the chance to see or even drive it. Jay Leno, of course, is one of those people that will have the pleasure of being in the Venom GT’s presence.
In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the star was able to get comfy cozy with none other than the Venom GT. Accompanying the sports car to Leno’s stage was Joan Hennessey , who tries to explain the technology behind this amazing car, and the decision to base it on a Lotus Elite and not on a Dodge Viper as most of us expected. Of course, Jay Leno couldn’t resist the temptation to show everyone what the car is capable of on the track, a place that seems to be the perfect place for a car like Venom.
We have already reported that Lotus is preparinga convertible version for the 2014 Elite sports car, but today we actually get to see every angle of the beautiful vehicle, including the clean hardtop as it tucks itself away neatly behind the rear seats, and the 2+2 coach cabin.
As with the coupe model, the future drop top Elite will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces around 542 HP with a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph. An R version will develop an amazing 612 HP. The 2014 Lotus Elite convertible will also be offered with F1 inspired technologies like KERS as well as a twin-clutch transmission that help improve fuel consumption. The hybrid will offer emissions as low as 215 g/km.
The car is a long way away from becoming a prototype, but it is already rumored that the roof will be made of a combination of metal and glass. This will allow lots of light to enter the cabin when the hood is in place, but will facilitate keeping the overall weight down. The top will be fully electric and will tuck into a space behind the rear passenger seats.
Like with the coupe version, the future roadster will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces around 542 HP with a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph. An R version will develop an amazing 612 HP.
The new model will be priced at £115,000 ($180,000 at the current exchange rates) and should go on sale in 2014.
A few days ago, Lotus released the initial details of their future hybrid supercar, theLotus Elite . Being since this is one of the first cars Lotus has introduced as part of their brand reinvention, it comes as no surprise that artists have already taken the vehicle to the next level by providing us with a rendering of what the Lotus Elise would look like if it was bound for the track. Maybe even a trip to LeMans .
This rendering takes the supercar to the next level by providing it with what looks like touches of carbon fiber throughout the length of the car, more than likely to help reduce the car’s weight. New side vents have also been added, as well as a new hood vent to help cool down the engine. This photo also shows a new front grill, rear spoiler, and side skirts. The yellow from the standard model’s brake calipers has been extended to dual yellow stripes going down the car’s bonnet.
The standard Lotus Elite comes powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces around 500-plus horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of just under 200 mph at 196 mph. We would obviously expect the track version of the Elite model to produce slightly higher numbers than these.