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Feb15

Rare Rides: The 1991 Lotus Elan, With Power by Isuzu

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The Rare Rides collection has featured a pair Lotus-associated gadgets earlier than. The first was this Isuzu I-Mark RS, which was an Isuzu with some Lotus badges on it. Then got here the Elite, which was an actual Lotus. Immediately we check out the Elan, which mixes it up with Lotus badges and an Isuzu engine.

Lotus first used the Elan identify in 1962, making use of it to a tiny roadster that delighted driving fanatics. It was enjoyable, light-weight, easy, and might be modified and raced. 1967 noticed the introduction of a brand new Elan, the so-referred to as Elan +2. The quantity on the finish signifies the addition of two further seats that in all probability shouldn’t have been included.

This +2 Elan, just like the Elite linked above, was a part of a push upmarket for the Lotus model. Much less give attention to lightness, extra concentrate on luxurious and bringing passengers alongside for the experience. The +2 existed concurrently (solely as a coupe) till the demise of the unique Elan, persisting by way of 1975.

After an possession change, Lotus determined to mud off the Elan identify another time for a brand new roadster. It was the flip of the Nineties, and the 2-seat roadster was experiencing a rebirth by way of the model new Mazda Miata. Lotus’ mum or dad, Common Motors, needed a bit of the motion, and the Common spent round $fifty five million on the venture. It was an quantity barely greater than the finances for many prior Lotus automobiles.

Referred to as the M100, the brand new Elan stemmed from the M90, a fiberglass improvement prototype courting again to the Eighties. On the time, Lotus was not underneath the affect of GM and meant to promote the car by way of Toyota dealerships. However the concept was to not be. Improvement on the M100 started in 1986, and the brand new car was manufacturing-prepared in 1989. Common Motors mandated the brand new car be fascinating to U.S. shoppers, and requested Lotus to conduct in depth testing. Upon manufacturing, Lotus drove every new Elan 30 miles round its manufacturing unit monitor to make sure no points previous to cargo.

In contrast to the Miata, Lotus opted for entrance-wheel drive, claiming it was all the time quicker in a small, light-weight roadster. This Elan can be the one entrance-drive vehicle ever produced by the model. Power got here by way of a 1.5-liter inline-4 engine sourced from the Isuzu Gemini, and modified by Lotus. Naturally aspirated and turbo variations have been out there, offering 132 and 164 horsepower, respectively. All got here outfitted with a 5-velocity guide transmission.

The Elan was costly to construct, and a excessive asking price mixed with entrance-wheel drive and a small dealership community harm the roadster’s possibilities — particularly in North America. Between 1989 and 1992, three,855 Elans have been made, with simply 559 despatched to america. The Elan wouldn’t see a alternative from Lotus till 1996, with the debut of the brand new Elise. However different events took an curiosity within the final Elan.

After British manufacturing ended, Lotus bought its rights to one of many events — Kia. The Korean producer tweaked the interior and back lights barely, changed the engine with its personal 1.eight-liter turbocharged 4, and put the car into manufacturing in South Korea. It was made between 1996 and 1999, bought because the Kia Elan. 1,056 Kia Elans have been produced.

Immediately’s Rare Journey involves us from Atlanta. In wonderful situation, it asks $sixteen,800.

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