Test Lotus Elan +2
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Lotus Elan +2, bolted to the asphalt

A hoarse sound lifted me from my lethargy. It was 4 pm on a warm March day when "Whispers" burst into my ship with the Elan roaring. From the upper deck I could perfectly feel every stroke of the car's mechanics.

I immediately got up from the chair, and just at that moment the music stopped. I was hesitant for a moment (was it a dream? I thought), as I approached the interior window that allows me to see the ship. No, it was not a dream, there was the beautiful Lotus Elan +2 bristish green. It is curious but from above you can perfectly appreciate the ideal size of the car.

When going down, «Susurros» welcomes me with a wide smile while giving me the keys to our mount for the next few days… And the thing is, gentlemen, I am lucky enough to be able to run a regularity rally through Galician lands with this little boy, no more, No less. At the moment I have to take care of taking it to the field where it will be loaded by a truck heading to Vigo. I go over to observe him closely; The truth is, I know his lines by heart, there are several rallies that I have raced against him, which has allowed me to examine him many times.

The front is squat, very flat, even pointed; it shelters under its hood the willful engine with its two huge double Dellorto carburettors. The side line is very beautiful and classic, I have always liked it more than that of its two-seater brother, with a long wheelbase it wins whole (for me, eh?). The rear with the exhaust outlet in the central area seems incredibly sporty to me. The only one but that I put to the whole is painting, which being made of fiber, it is impossible to keep it perfect.

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The british revolution

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The car of "Whispers", its owner, is the story of a dream. He wanted a true classic that would allow him to participate regularly with a certain solvency, and at the same time serve him to make small outings with his family ... Lotus's line and history captivated him, especially since he read the romance that existed between Jim Clark and his little sports car ...

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In 1960 the team of the brilliant Colin Chapman decided to give a new twist to its initial concept of light car, with a very favorable power-to-weight ratio, to expand its range; or rather, to replace the Elite (1957-63) that was sold as the first fiberglass monocoque -Polyester- and whose main virtue was the low weight of 640 Kg coupled with a small Coventry Climax mechanics.

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Test Lotus Elan +2

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Thus, Ron Hickman will be ultimately responsible for the design team of the new sports car, whose initial conception is a light two-seater equipped with a simple general-purpose engine that is inexpensive to acquire and maintain. To do this, Ron's team designs a steel chassis in the shape of a "Y", cheaper to manufacture than the Elite monocoque and around which they will fix a simple fiber body made up of just five main parts.

For October 1962, Lotus presents its Elan at the London Motor Show, whose mechanics will be the reliable Ford 166 E (1558 cc) engine with a double-camshaft Lotus cylinder head. The initial power was 106 Cv, but in later evolutions it would reach 160 Cv. With a weight below 700 Kg -specifically 688-, it was an authentic missile capable of doing the 0-100 in less than 8 seconds and with an initial top speed of 175 km / h.

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Test Lotus Elan +2
Lotus cylinder head sharpens robust Ford drivetrain

A moderately comfortable limpet

The next day I take the car around 11 in the morning to travel a section of highway, another of secondary road and, finally, load it into the truck. I'm late, I think as I get on, while I step on the clutch and turn the key; instantly the four cylinder comes to life with a thunderous welcome. Without rushing, I let him warm up for a couple of minutes while I take a phone call. I hang up and, as if I've driven it all my life, I walk off the polygon onto the highway.

Strolling around I realize how smooth it is to carry it and the excellent set-up it has; does not jerk or complain. I see that the temperature gauge is already in place, so entering the double track I put my right foot on the accelerator: the sound of the engine transforms into one of the most beautiful melodies. racing I've heard. Second, third, fourth, fifth… I look at the speedometer and I don't believe it, in less than 10 seconds I'm almost out of the law. I lift my foot and set it to 120, around 3.200 rpm. The Lotus changes, it no longer sounds, it is even comfortable; in fact, I travel this road for 40 km and I don't even know it.

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When leaving the track, I rush the change in the conventional route, climbing up to around 7.000 laps. Taking advantage of a couple of roundabouts to check the car's excellent grip, I find that it is very difficult to make the rear axle slip. I link the curves with incredible ease, without a doubt one of the strengths of these sports cars is the quick reactions of the motor-steering combination, but in a good way: it is not nervous, but sweet, responding their mechanical organs with immediacy. The truth is that the limited-slip differential helps a lot.

Beautiful interiors, right?

I arrive at my destination and only 40 minutes have passed. In the end I was on time, so I stop the engine and stare at the exquisite wooden dashboard. If there is something that defines it, it is the words Deportivo and Británico. An incredibly comfortable leather-wrapped steering wheel, with the Lotus logo in the center, reveals two large gauges, RPM and speedometer ...

To our right and in the center of the dashboard, the gauges for fuel, temperature, oil pressure, water, etc., and below them a large number of push buttons dating back to the seventies. In the populated dashboard there is even room for two electric windows, a luxury for that time. It is a delight to behold, I love it, it is elegant and sporty at the same time.

Livability and life on board are two of the Elan +2's strengths. Access is really good thanks to its wide door and despite the low body height. In the back area, the entrance is somewhat more difficult, and you will be able to travel with relative comfort if you do not exceed 1,70 meters in height.

Inside gives an unusual feeling of spaciousness, Maybe it's because the transmission tunnel clearly divides the driver and passenger space, but in any case it is quite pleasant. The seats that you see in the photos are not the original ones, which are jealously guarded by "Whispers", but some buffers that hold a little more in the rallies ...

 

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Antonio Silva

Written by Antonio Silva

My name is Antonio Silva, I was born in Madrid in 1973. Thanks to my company I have been able to know first-hand all the national vehicle factories and a few of the European ones, as well as many of the component factories, this being nothing but an incentive more for my hobby ... View all

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