Really Early: ’64 Lotus Elan Series 1
This is the essential 1960s British sports car – the tiny Lotus Elan – and it remains a benchmark for nimble handling. With its pop-up headlights, curved windshield, and roll-up windows, it was a symbol of Swinging London. So hip the cat-suited character Emma Peel in The Avengers television series, chose to drive an Elan to emphasize her vitality and independence. That could be said of anyone who wants a Lotus Elan. It will also signal that person is under 5′ 10″ tall. The Elan was built with a backbone frame and a fiberglass body, and had four-wheel independent suspension. Its Ford 1600-cc four-cylinder engine developed 105 hp and featured Lotus’s own twin-cam head. Weighing only 1,420 pounds, early cars could do 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds, with the quarter-mile in 15.7 seconds at 87 mph. Like today’s offering, Elans were roadsters until 1965. Today’s Elan is an early Series 1 example, one of the earliest we’ve seen. In late ’64, Lotus began offering a full-width dash with glove box, oval tail lights, the battery in the trunk, and optional knock-off wheels. This one is either one of those late ’64s (how early is “early” for an Elan chassis number) or a transition car because it has the newer dash but retains the original small rear tailights. We are also a bit curious why this one has a drooping rear muffler system. Most Elans we see have a single pea shooter through the middle of the rear valence or some other neater solution. We can’t quibble about the added fuel cell either. Regardless, a well-maintained Elan or a fresh rotisserie restoration by a respected shop is a joy to own. So this is one you should consider if a pure sports car experience is what you are looking for. The ask is a whopping $39,900. Click here for the listing.