1967 Lotus Elan S2 Roadster: One of the Greatest Sports Cars Ever Heads to Auction

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1967 Lotus Elan S2 Front

More than a half-century later, the Lotus Elan’s lightweight design is a benchmark for the sports car world.

When we look at the power figures for the leading performance cars in today’s market, it is hard for many people to see the classic Lotus Elan as one of the greatest sports cars ever. With just 105 horsepower, pretty much every single car sold in the United States has more power than the Elan, but this isn’t a car designed to dominate the straightaways. This tiny little roadster was engineered to carve through the corners like nothing else on the road and 57 years after the Elan was produced, it is still one of the most well-respected sports cars when it comes to handling.

While flipping through the incredible collection of vehicles for sale on the Coys website, we came across this gorgeous 1967 Lotus Elan S2 Roadster that will be sold to the highest bidder at the upcoming auction in the Netherlands. This car appears to be a flawless example of the classic Elan, complete with racing numbers on the doors which pay homage to the road car’s impressive on-track abilities.

The Legendary Elan

When Lotus introduced the Elan for 1962, it was the company’s first road car to utilize a body-on-frame design. The body was comprised of fiberglass and it was bolted to a steel chassis, which carried the drivetrain and the suspension components. This approach essentially allowed the company to take the underpinnings of a race car and apply a road-friendly body and cockpit while also keeping curb weight low.

To be exact, the Elan S2 Roadster shown above tips the scales at just 1,420 pounds, which is about a third of what a 2019 Dodge Challenger weighs. That low curb weight played a key role in making the Elan such a sharp-handling vehicle, but it also allowed the company to run a small, lightweight engine without a concern of being under-powered.

Small Engine, Big Performance

The Elan S2 headed for the auction block this weekend is powered by a 1,600-cc Ford four-cylinder engine, but it is topped by a unique Lotus twin-camshaft cylinder head. That head and camshaft combination is the secret to getting peak performance from the tiny Ford engine and at 105 horsepower, the Elan packed the power needed to compete with the best sports cars in the world at the time.

1967 Lotus Elan Engine

For those who like numbers that are a bit easier to quantify, the Elan was capable of dashing from a stop to 60 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds while a quarter mile run took just 15.7 seconds. Again, those are not great numbers by today’s standards, but those were comparable to what many of the ill-handling American muscle cars of the era offered in terms of acceleration numbers. In other words, the Elan was as quick as your average muscle car, but it out-handled just about anything sold in the world for road use.

Rare Left-Hand-Drive

Being a British sports car, the majority of the Lotus Elans built had the steering wheel on the right side, but the car being auctioned off by Coys later this week has a rare left-side-drive configuration. That would make this an ideal classic cruiser for someone who lives in the United States, or a European collector who wants an Elan that is even more unique.

1967 Lotus Elan Interior

This car is finished in familiar British Racing Green with an all-black interior accented nicely by the wooden dashboard, which is really the ideal look for a classic British sports car.

According to the auction company’s website, this classic Lotus is expected to sell for roughly $42,000 to $48,000 US dollars, so in the grand scheme of legendary historic sports cars, buying this 1967 Lotus Elan will not break the bank.               

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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