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Lotus Elite

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Lotus Elite

The Lotus Elite was introduced in 1957 at the Earls Court Motor Show, and was very well received by both the press public alike. The sleek and stylish bodywork was of an all fibreglass monocoque construction. This had considerable strength, yet was very light at the same time giving the car outstanding performance and handling. Mechanically the Elite featured an all aluminium four cylinder single overhead camshaft engine from Coventry Climax which drove the rear wheels via an MGA gearbox. Suspension was independent both front and rear. A Series II version of the car was produced from mid 1960 with revised rear suspension and improved interior. The Carburettor on this car had been changed to up the power output to 85 bhp. Further versions of the car were to be produced, including a "Special Equipment" model of the series II which featured had an all synchromesh 4 speed ZF gearbox and a more highly tuned version of the same 1216cc Coventry Climax engine. In this guise the Elite was capable of topping 120 mph and had a 0-60 time of under nine seconds. The Elite ended its life in 1963 after just over 1000 models had been produced.


Specifications (standard Series 1 model)



Years Produced


Body Type

2-door, 2-seater sports, fibreglass monocoque construction


12ft 6in


4ft 10in




Coventry Climax 1216cc 4 cylinder inline, Single overhead camshaft


75 bhp @ 6100 rpm


77lb ft @ 3750 rpm


4 speed manual (MG) with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and top

Driven Wheels



Discs front & rear, hydraulic operation

Front Suspension

Independent, Upper & Lower wishbone, anti-roll bar

Rear Suspension

Independent, Chapman strut


Performance (standard Series 1 model)



Top Speed

115 mph

0-60 mph

12.0 seconds

Fuel Consumption

30 mpg approx


Useful Links

Club Lotus

Lotus books at

Lotus Cars Official Website