You Need This: The Return of the Elan

When Lotus announced the return of the Elan, many were surprised at its front-wheel-drive configuration, despite all the effort Lotus put into explaining why front-wheel drive was the better performance choice. Only 539 of these Elans were imported into the United States according to Lotus Elan Central, and today one of them is for sale on our forum.

This 1991 Lotus Elan isn’t a pristine example, but it has been mechanically maintained very well. The seller is asking for $6500.

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irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
7/12/18 3:48 p.m.

Surprised to see such a low number, considering I've seen 5 or 6 of them in the wild over the years (mostly in the 90s and 00s I guess). 

Or, perhaps I was just seeing Mercury Capris from the early 90s, lol...

 

But seriously, always thought the Elan was a neat-looking car, not knowing much about them.

te72
te72 Reader
7/14/18 12:33 a.m.

Neat cars, and the price seems fair (that's Miata money in my experience... for a Lotus.), but for the life of me, I can't figure out what they were on about. Remember all the great FWD sports cars over the years?

 

I can maybe think of three, the Dodge K-cars that Shelby got ahold of, the Integra, and the Mazdaspeed3.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
7/14/18 12:46 a.m.

A Lotus for $6500 is astonishing, and it's kinda tempting on those grounds alone... The experience!

That said, I'm totally on the "WTF with the FWD, Lotus!?" bandwagon... I wouldn't be surprised to be surprised, but it doesn't seem right.

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
7/14/18 6:44 a.m.

That design hasn't aged one bit..!

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
7/14/18 6:50 a.m.

On the rumor that this was going to be put into production, I was saving all of my $$$ to buy one. When they anounced the  switch to FWD, they lost my sale. There is no story or rationalization that would sell me a FWD sportscar and Lotus should have known that at the time. Seems I am not alone in this belief.

 

And right on time, with all that cash in my pocket, along came the Miatalaugh

 

Pete

jnoiles
jnoiles New Reader
7/14/18 7:01 a.m.

Awful things.  FWD was a huge mistake.  The designers knew it at the time too.  

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
7/14/18 8:31 a.m.

Before the Elise, that was known as "The Reliable Lotus."  They are a very good car, and FWD does not slow them down or hinder them a bit, per those that own them.  There are a few things that are becoming unobtainium.  I forget exactly what, body parts, I think.

gjz30075
gjz30075 HalfDork
7/14/18 11:44 a.m.

Just to keep things in perspective, this is the M100,   and the REAL Elan was produced from  '62 to '73

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
7/14/18 3:43 p.m.

At some point the added weight (much of it rotating!) starts to become a major factor on small cars with lowish power.

Is the "true sports cars are RWD" argument as dogmatic as "true sports cars have manual transmissions"?

 

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 UltraDork
7/14/18 9:20 p.m.

Wanted one several years ago but couldn't really afford one. Now, they are interesting but just can't justify it anymore. Not as competitive anymore. FYI, also sold overseas as a Kia.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
7/15/18 6:45 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

Mid engine RWD solves that problem. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
7/15/18 2:19 p.m.
te72 said:

Remember all the great FWD sports cars over the years?

 

I can maybe think of three, the Dodge K-cars that Shelby got ahold of, the Integra, and the Mazdaspeed3.

CRX

mtn
mtn MegaDork
7/15/18 3:11 p.m.
Greg Smith said:
te72 said:

Remember all the great FWD sports cars over the years?

 

I can maybe think of three, the Dodge K-cars that Shelby got ahold of, the Integra, and the Mazdaspeed3.

CRX

MINI, Mini, Civic Si, gti, arguably Scirocco/Corrado...

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
7/15/18 10:42 p.m.

This is the first time i've seen one of those that was the right mix of price/condition for me to actually consider it. Except that it's already sold, of course. 

Taber10
Taber10 New Reader
7/16/18 3:20 p.m.

OK,  You missed the opportunity to get a LOTUS for under $10 Grand......

The handling is great--I don't do any competition in any of my sports cars.  When the M100 came out, for the same money--right at $40 Grand--you could have had three Miatas, a really nice Corvette, a Porsche 944 S or who knows what else.  Now, you would have a LOTUS, and a sports car even rarer than that 91-94 Mercury Capri esp. if you are only considering a turbo like the M100.

te72
te72 Reader
7/16/18 10:07 p.m.

Greg Smith, mtn, you guys make good points. I hadn't even really thought of those.

 

Still, something just feels wrong to me to have power understeer. Can't quite place why, but I couldn't do it for a sports car. Even a commuter is pushing it for me, hence why I've only owned one fwd in the last 20 years.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
7/16/18 10:44 p.m.

I haven't experienced much power understeer that wasn't intentional after learning the basics (some of it the hard way) as a teenager.  It's not like you have to do it. I'd say most of the fast autoX runs i ever made involved relatively little understeer of any type.

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
7/17/18 6:08 a.m.
mtn said:
Greg Smith said:
te72 said:

Remember all the great FWD sports cars over the years?

 

I can maybe think of three, the Dodge K-cars that Shelby got ahold of, the Integra, and the Mazdaspeed3.

CRX

MINI, Mini, Civic Si, gti, arguably Scirocco/Corrado...

Also, any number of Peugeot, Citroen, and Renault models from the '80s and '90s. The French really got the lightweight, FWD hatch formula down.

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