The sales description Lotus Elite was used by the manufacturer Lotus for two different sports car models.
Elite ( Type 14, 1957-1963 )
Lotus Elite Fastback
The first Lotus Elite ( Type 14 ) was a very light, two -seat coupe. The 1957 was introduced at the London Motor Car Show coupe was produced from 1957 to 1963.
The Elite is the first mass-produced car with a monocoque body made of glass fiber reinforced plastic. The drag coefficient of 0.29 with a fairly aerodynamic bodywork was designed by Peter Kirwan -Taylor and Frank Costin. It is composed of three shells. Two of which form the outer skin and the third motor and the inner space. The material was still relatively new, and the elite components were laminated glass fabric and polyester by hand. The windshield frame and A-pillar was reinforced with a curved steel insert, the engine and front suspension were sitting at a laminated subframe. The body is considered to be prone to breakage at the point of load application and the successor model Elan got one, albeit slight (34 kg) frame.
When he was introduced at the London Motor Show in 1957, was the elite of the only sports car manufactured in England with an overhead camshaft. The motor housing and aluminum cylinder head was originally developed for a portable fire fighting pump and therefore very easy. The short-stroke (67 mm/76 mm) four-cylinder in-line engine has dry liners, three crankshaft bearings and two parallel hanging, operated by bucket tappets Valves per cylinder with a displacement of 1216 cc. The crankshaft drives a straight-tooth spur gear pair at half speed an intermediate shaft which passes on the strength of a chain to the cam shaft and a screw gear drive on the distributor shaft with the oil pump. Inlet and outlet are located on the same side of the cylinder head, the combustion chambers are wedge-shaped. With a compression ratio of 8.5:1, it provides 55 kW (75 bhp ) at 6100 rpm. Over the entire construction period only, this engine was offered, but there were different levels of tuning with up to 77 kW.
The manufacturer Coventry Climax was then a leader in racing engines, but earned his living with motors for forklift trucks and fire engines. Some individual pieces were - even after the official construction of the elite - built with the Lotus Twin Cam engine, and in the U.S. there were relatively many conversions on Ford Kent engines, because after the insolvency of the importer, the Coventry - Climax engines Jay Chamberlain had no functioning parts supply more.
Over a four-speed gearbox transmits the power to the rear wheels. The front wheels are suspended from twin A-arms, the back is a " Chapman - axis" installed, so wheel-guiding struts with the drive shafts as wishbones and trailing arms, later a triangle -shaped trailing arm ( with two suspension Punken on the wheel and one on the center front ). The brakes are without power, hydraulically operated discs Girling on all wheels, rear inside.
The elite were prepared from the total of only 988 pieces, was designed as a sports car and has been successfully run in the race. The Elite took first and second place in its class at Le Mans 1961-1963.
Elite ( Type 75/83, 1974-1982 )
Lotus Elite II
The second series had nothing in common except the name with the original car and was produced from May 1974 to December 1982.
This first Lotus Combi Coupé had to address a front engine, rear wheel drive, independent suspension and should be considered as a four-seater families of the upper middle class. Like all standard sports cars since the Elan, and Elite II has a fiberglass body on a central tube frame made of steel sheet. From 1980, this was galvanized. Only with the Elise one deviated from this type of construction.
From 1974, power steering and air conditioning was available as optional equipment. Originally equipped with a five-speed manual transmission vehicle was available in early 1976 with automatic transmission. The Elite II is the basis for the four-seater Eclat and Excel.
The Elite II is the first Lotus with the 907 engine. The inline four- cylinder engine with aluminum cylinder block has two overhead camshafts and 1973 cc, and generates about 118 kW (160 hp). The 907 engine ultimately became the basis of Esprit engines, both for suction and turbo versions.