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Long Shots: The 1990’s Lotus Elan

LongRoofian November 9, 2012 All Things Hoon 17 Comments

So, this olelongrooffan is sitting in my new cube the other day, yeah, I actually now have a cube with a window which allows me to see potential customers entering the lot at the same time as my fellow sales dude.  But, more importantly, it allows me to see the vehicles entering our parking lot and, if desired, check them out.  Well, when I spotted this one entering the lot, I knew I would be sharing it with my fellow Hoons.

Yes, it is a late model Lotus owned by the very gentleman whose has a particular interest in unique British automobiles.  No, I’m not talking about standard run of the mill Triumphs and MGs.  No, he owns a Daimler 250, an Austin Gipsy, a Morgan Plus 4, this one and many more I am sure. Hell, during BiketoberFest this olelongrooffan saw him cruise by on a vintage Triumph motorcycle with an equally vintage sidecar.  I guess he does love him some all things with British mechanicals.

Other than the new Fiat 500 with the canvas sunroof I have seen him sporting around town in, this is the newest vehicle I have ever seen him drive.  And it is PMY to say the least.

Yeah, another sweet ride in Bob’s livery.  This one was developed at a cost of $55 million while under GM’s stewardship and contained an Isuzu power plant.

Although this ragtop possesses a Continental Classic Motors Hinsdale dealer plate, a quick google search did not show a website for that firm. All things wiki does mention there were only 3,855 built between 1989 and 1992 with only 559 brought here to these United States of America.  Yeah that dude has some rare shit that is for sure.

After capturing these images, I wandered back into the parts area of my workplace and asked Bob if he owned any cars with a fixed roof?  He pondered my question and responded with, “Yeah, I’ve got an E Type someplace.”

I think he does it just to make this olelongrooffan even more jealous.

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2012/longrooffan

  • dukeisduke

    So this is a local guy? And did he just buy it? I'm wondering because it's wearing Illinois plates.

    • mnm4ever

      Many people in Florida keep their cars registered in their "home" state for tax reasons or whatever.

    • He has a home up in Illinois, one down here in Daytona Beach and another in North Carolina. He told me he has so many cars that he can't remember which ones are at which house.

      • wisc47

        Now that's just rubbing it in.

        • Yeah but he is the most unassuming guy you could ever meet. It's difficult to get him to talk about his cars. Me? I wouldn';t be able to shut up about them.

          • wisc47

            Well, at least he isn't full of himself, then. Personally, I can't shut up about the one car I own now.

  • TX_Stig

    I used to work with a lady that had one of these with the turbo, and she was foolish enough to let me drive it. For all the talk that people have about how impure a Lotus it is, it was a blast to drive. One of the better FWD cars I have driven.

  • I really like these, flawed and overly-wide they might be. I've never seen one in the metal- or plastic.

  • alain

    i saw one of these last week in the bay are in brg, i didnt know so few were made!

  • NoKetchup

    weird with the IL plates! I saw a hardtop one a month back in chicago… it was one of those moments where its "I know what that is but I'm confused because I have never seen one before in person".

  • Hopman

    I have not only seen one, but actually driven one too.

    A couple of years back I did a temp job as a hostler for a wholesal auto auction in NH. This was sticktlt a dealer to dealer place. My job was to help check in the cars then drive them to their assigned spot to be run through the sale.

    It wasn't a bad little ride. Needed a bit of body work, but it reminded me of a FWD Miata.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Please, these are Isuzus that Lotus breathed on a little. They're fantastic for an Isuzu, but pretty crappy for a Lotus.

    • bhtooefr

      The only thing Isuzu is the powertrain. The rest is all Lotus (and some GM partsbin, AFAIK, but the chassis is all Lotus).

      • Van_Sarockin

        Well, fuck me. Between Isuzu and GM's ownership of Lotus, I'd thought this was a little suspension development tweaking. Still, there's GM, so it's cursed.

  • Joe Dunlap

    Puts me in the mind of a Mazda/Mercury Capri of the same vintage.

    • bhtooefr

      Except the Mercury Capri was a turbo 323 with the roof cut off, this was a Lotus, but with an Impulse's drivetrain put in the front… for handling purposes (see, if you don't put big power through the front wheels, and you care about absolute peak grip, FWD can actually work better than RWD).

      And, from what I've read, most of the complaints about the Elan were, it was 3x the price of a Miata, and was less fun to drive (note, however, that it wasn't because it handled poorly – it was because it handled TOO well. End result, from my understanding, the Federal Elan got mods to make it better on poor American roads, that happened to make it a bit more oversteery, and the S2 Elan got the same mods because they made it more fun to drive, AFAIK.)

      An Elan is definitely a car I'd like to drive in anger down a back road some time. The Capri, not so much.