More than any other of Colin Chapman’s roadgoing creations, the Lotus Elan inspires a kind of devotional fervour that borders on the religious.
Once the cult has taken hold, few seem to return to the world of ‘normal’ sports cars.
It’s not hard to see why: the Elan had giant-slaying urge combined with the cerebral driver appeal of a deftly wielded surgeon’s scalpel, making most of its rivals look like butchers’ cleavers.
Considered to be the quickest point-to-point means of land travel available in the ’60s, and still among the finest-handling cars ever, it was a vehicle stripped of all that might be considered extraneous to raw driver appeal, yet sufficiently civilised to have a wider audience than its beautiful but troublesome predecessor.
From 1962-’73 the Elan put Lotus on the map as a serious builder of sports cars, and Colin Chapman did great business with them both as kits and fully built ‘production’ cars, his entrepreneurial skills being second only to his engineering genius.