The Lotus Elan is a range that first got off the ground in the early 1960s, going through two revivals in the intervening years if you consider the recent announcement of a new iteration made in 2010.
The first Elan was released in 1962 and was a convertible roadster, introduced so that Lotus would be able to replace the outgoing Elite. This previous model was expensive and had problems with reliability, which were two issues which it hoped to remedy with the Elan.
The Elan sported a 1558cc engine and independent suspension across all four wheels, as well as disc brakes all round, which for the time made it quick technologically advanced.
A maximum of 126bhp was revealed in tests at the time, with a 120mph top speed and a 0-60 time of around eight seconds. In 1967 the Elan +2 was launched, this time with an additional two seats in the rear which could comfortably house extra passengers.
By 1975 both the Elan and the Elan +2 were no longer in production, with a total of around 17,000 produced altogether.
In pop culture the Elan appeared in TV hit The Avengers, with brunette bombshell Emma Peel regularly seen as the character behind the wheel.
The Elan name was left in limbo until 1989 when the M100 iteration was brought to market by Lotus.
This new Elan was built to be very light thanks to its use of a fibreglass body and it took advantage of Isuzu components, which meant that it was very reliable. Lotus was by this point owned by General Motors and a major investment was made by its parent company in order to get this model off the ground.
A 1.6 litre engine delivered 162bhp and a top speed of 137mph to the new Elan, with a 0-60 time of around six and a half seconds boasted by Lotus.
The Elan was a relatively slow seller upon its initial launch, with many blaming the recent arrival of the Mazda MX-5 for its sluggish performance. In fact Mazda had been inspired by the Elan of the 1960s and the MX-5 played more on this nostalgia in its design while being more affordable than the Lotus alternative.
In 1994 the Series 2 Elan was launched, but it was only made in limited numbers, with just 800 being sold before the model was mothballed in 1995.
Lotus is now set to launch a third revision of the Elan brand in 2017, this time with a V6 engine and performance credentials which will allow it to stand up to similarly specified cars from Aston Martin and Porsche.
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