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