LOTUS ELITE S1 (1974-80)
2-door 4-seater sports hatchback.
First of new generation Lotus road cars from Hethel, still built around backbone frame, but much bigger than before on 98ins wheelbase. Glass-fibre body with concealed headlamps and sporting-estate shape including glass hatchback. Power by new 16-valve/160bhp 2-litre engine, still an important Lotus building-block today. Five-speed transmission, even an optional automatic (few sold), all-independent, and all disc brakes. A striking car with 125mph top speed, but always overshadowed by more charismatic mid-engined Esprit. Gave rise to fastback Eclat on same chassis. The Elite today looks remarkably dated alongside Lotus's current Excel, but it's a full four seater and relatively inexpensive now.