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Lotus Elite 1957-1963

Lotus Elite 1957-1963 1 Lotus Elite 1957-1963 2
Lotus Elite 1957-1963 3 Lotus Elite 1957-1963 4

The Lotus Elite was the first Lotus sports car designed for road use and eventually successful on the track. It was fitted with a monocoque structure in fiber glass renforced resin with some metall element embedded. Only 988 Lotus Elite were made.

The Elite development started in 1956 and the car was unveiled at the 1957 London Motor Show. Two years of work was required before the Elite could enter in full production. At the time of its introduction, it was the only small British sports car with an overhead camshaft engine, four wheel disc brakes and advenced fully independent suspension. The selected engine was an all aluminium Coventry Climax unit; this engine had been originally developed as the power unit for portable fire pumps, meaning it was designed for light weight and reliability.

The first Elite or Lotus Type 14 was an ultra light two-seater coupé produced from 1958 to 1963.

The Elite was launched somewhat prematurely for supporting financial backing and the need to prepare a new factory in which to assemble the car. The Lotus workshop in Hornsey was not sufficient and the Company was moved to entirely new premises at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

The selected engine was produced by Coventry Climax. It used chain-driven overhead camshaft. It was a 1.216 cc 75 bhp four cylinder unit. It was connected with a four speed close ratio gearbox.


Lotus Elite 1957-1963 5 Lotus Elite 1957-1963 6
Lotus Elite 1957-1963 7 Lotus Elite 1957-1963 8

The curvaceously styled body - the work of Peter Kirwan-Taylor and aerodynamicist Frank Costin - although possessing an admirably low coefficient of drag (0.29), made few concessions to comfort or noise suppression, not that that is likely to have bothered the Elite's customers, for whom its 112mph top speed and superlative handling were of far greater importance.

Although it was primarily intended for road use, the Lotus Elite was eventually used in racing events. At the 1958 Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting five Lotus Elite were entered. Jim Clark had a race-long battle with Colin Chapman, Lotus founder. In the closing stages a slower car spun right in front of Clark and Chapman slipped through to win.

At 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours a privately entered car driven by Peter Lumsden and Peter Riley finished eighth overall and first in the 1500 cc class. Two weeks earlier, the same car had won its class in the Nurburgring 1.000 km race.

Suspension, steering and brakes are all basically as on the 1957 Formula 2 Lotus. Front suspension is by double wishbones and co-axial coil spring damper units. The rear suspension is of the Lotus strut type, with the drive shaft providing lateral location. On the Series Two Elite the suspension was improved.

In 2017, one 1959 Lotus Elite S1 Competition Coupe was sold for Euro 93.680 (£ 85.500) at Bonhams Auction Sale in Goodwood.

Source Sports Cars in Profile -The Lotus Elite by David Phipps-Profile Publications Ltd 1967 and Bonhams 2017


Wallpapers of Lotus Elite:

Lotus Elite Lotus Elite




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