Colin Chapman wanted a road car that was easier to build and with less fragile and costly componentry than the troublesome Elite. It was hard to achieve torsional stiffness in an open car with a glass fibre monocoque, so, with designer Ron Hickman, he devised a clever folded-steel backbone chassis to stiffen the GRP shell while adding a minimum of extra weight.
With soft, long-travel suspension, it made the Elan one of the best-handling cars ever, with a fine ride too. The new Lotus was announced in October 1962.
For the engine, Chapman and his friend Walter Hayes at Ford conceived a dual-overhead camshaft conversion of its new over square small ‘four’. It was to be used in Chapman’s latest model and in a saloon that Hayes wanted to boost Ford’s image with race wins.
Former Coventry Climax designer Harry Mundy drew up the brilliant twin-cam head and JAP was contracted to build the engines; assembly moved in-house in ’67.
Hickman’s styling was simple yet elegant, with faired-in bumpers and pop-up headlights. A Coupé was added in ’65, styled by John Frayling, but Hickman again took charge of the Elan +2, a longer, wider and more sophisticated fixed head for families.
While all of this was going on, Lotus was winning F1 World Championships and moving its factory wholesale from Cheshunt to Hethel. Up until the +2S of ’69, all Elan’s were also available in kit form for home assembly.
This 1968 Lotus Elan Coupe with the 1600cc Twin Cam engine with the side draft Weber carburettors finished in French Blue paint and Red Leather interior. Fitted with a factory sunroof. The car is supported with a large history file. The car was totally nut and bolt restored to the highest standards and is in outstanding condition throughout, just a stunning motorcar. Fully documented.