there were two Elans, the 60's version with the sheet metal X chassis and the later one from the 90's.
Liked both. The 60's Elan was initially offered as a kit in the USA and later only as completed cars. regardless, they are still one of the nicest driving front engine rear drive cars to this day. It is surprising that a car this light rides and drives as well as it does. This was such a leap from what most of what the UK car designers were doing and producing at the time. My most memorable ride in an Elan was from a neighbor (1980's) who stuffed a Cosworth BDA into one, up rated the suspension and complete with real race tires. It was a "street car". All I can say, wow that was a quick little car.
The later FWD Elan is a truly mis-understood sports car, it is far better than most car folks know or understand. It is usually dismissed as a sports car due to it's FWD configuration, I say, drive one and tell me it's FWD? There was a automotive journalist who wrote negatively about the FWD Elan for years and to the protest of many a Lotus fan, demanded for him to drive one and stop writing negatively about the Elan since he has never drive one. Well, the day came when he actually drove one. Not only did he like the car, he ended up owning one and now writes rather glowing stories about the FWD Elan. Sound Familar? I have a history with this car too, the owner of one the companies I consult for has one and we have spent time in this Elan, indeed, it is far better than most car folks know or want to believe.
I have driven many a Lotus over the years from horrible beaters to new, even the beaters still have that wonderful Lotus steering feel. I many ways, the X comes close than most and as Pat mentioned, if the X was 1600 pounds, not 2000 pounds how different things would be.
It's interesting how many car folks dismiss Lotus for being fragile an being built like a crude garage concoction, there is much truth to these claims, but one cannot ignore the engineering, innovation and rather special chassis dynamics found in many a Lotus. Keep in mind, they are a absolute tiny car company and it is amazing they have bee able to survive all these years under the most difficult conditions. They have been bought and tossed like a used Kleenex and still have the passion to design and build interesting cars to this day.
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