Monday 25th March 2019,
Inopian

Lotus Elan Plus 2 1967 – 1976

The problem; a car maker is producing a very successful two-seater sports car but needs to make an equally popular four-seater version. Why not just make a small sports saloon? In the 1960`s sports cars were very popular but inevitably the young enthusiasts got married and had children (not necessarily in that order) and needed seating space for a couple of offspring. This section of the motoring public was being lost to `sensible` cars.

The MGB-GT was a fair effort though not very big. The Plus 2 E type worked but was a styling disaster. Colin Chapman had a secret weapon, the genius, Ron Hickman, designer of the lovely Elan. He was asked to solve the problem. The Elan was hugely successful and loved by millions. It`s earning power had gone a long way to financing Lotus`s racing campaigns at a time when sponsorship was hard to come by. Hickman quickly realised that stretching a pretty car would only produce an ugly one.

The classic shape of the Elan was sacred, it could not be modified, like the E type, by just raising the roof-line. The main criteria was that whatever shape he designed, the car had to be an Elan under the skin. His creation was startlingly beautiful.

The steel back-bone chassis of the Elan was lengthened. Proportions were preserved by increasing the wheel-base. The styling was reminiscent of the Elan but quite different. The retracting head-lamps were now mounted on top of the bodywork, not in the wings. The boot was slightly bigger, the result was exceptionally attractive. The interior was, like the Elan, smart and well-designed. The rear seating was good-looking but of necessity, quite small and confined. It was roomy enough to solve the children problem.

Ron Hickman had succeeded where others had failed. As a designer he is an `unsung hero`. He also liked to make furniture. A famous story tells of a day when he was making a wardrobe at home and sawed through a dining-chair that he was using as a saw-bench. Oops! Concerned by the possibility of running out of chairs, he designed the `Work-mate` folding work-bench, patented it and licensed Black & Decker to build it. It has sold millions of units.

The chassis;

Colin Chapman`s back-bone chassis was extended to give a longer wheel-base and increased boot space. The mechanical specifications of the running-gear were identical to the Elan.

The Body;

Ron Hickman`s design used a one-piece glass-fibre shell with two doors and 2+2 seating. As far as we can discover, a drop-head coupe was never offered by the factory but drop-heads do exist, presumably modified after-market. There were, and still are, several companies that would undertake such work. The bumpers were chromed. The Elan Plus 2 tipped the scales at 889 kg resulting in power-to-weight ratio of 133 bhp per ton.

The Power-train;

As the Elan, the Ford-Lotus twin-cam 1600 cc lurked under the shapely bonnet. It produced 118 bhp and 108 ft/lbs of torque with a compression ratio of 9.5 to 1. Twin Weber DCOE carburettors supplied the fuel and Ford`s 4-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox sent the power to the deDion rear axle. There were a few more versions of the Lotus Elan +2, like the +2S which was lighter, +2S 130 with more power and a +2S 130/5 with a 5-speed gear box.

Driving impressions;

With a top speed of 120 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 8.9 seconds the Plus 2 was only a little slower than the Elan. Lotus used lots of sound-absorption material in the body-shell which greatly improved the in-car noise level. Like all Lotus products it was fast and lively, the handling was excellent and the servo disc brakes made it very safe and predictable. The only down-side was the noise from the back-seat… `Are we there yet?`

Beautiful and impressive, the Lotus Elan Plus 2 was every bit as good as the Elan but with it`s own individual character. Elan Plus 2 production finished at 1600 cars.

Lotus Elan Plus 2 1967-1976 Specifications
 
Body Type2+2 seater Fixedhead/Drophead coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDiscs
RearDiscs
Dimensionsmminches
Length4293169
Width167666
Height119447
Wheelbase243896
Cargo Volume193 L6.8 cu. Ft.
Engine1.6i Ford-Lotus DOHC 8V (Elan +2 1967-1971)
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1558 cc95.1 cui
Power88 Kw118 bhp6000 RPM
Torque146 Nm108 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight133 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed196 km/h122 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph8.9 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban1223.5
Extra-urban6.444.1
Combined8.533.2
Gearbox4 speed manual
Weight865 kg1907 lb
Engine1.6i Ford-Lotus DOHC 8V (Elan +2S 1967-1971)
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1558 cc95.1 cui
Power88 Kw118 bhp6000 RPM
Torque146 Nm108 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight136 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed196 km/h122 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph8.4 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban11.724.1
Extra-urban6.146.3
Combined8.334
Gearbox4 speed manual
Weight865 kg1907 lb
Engine1.6i Ford-Lotus DOHC 8V (Elan +2S 130 1971-1976)
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1558 cc95.1 cui
Power94 Kw126 bhp6500 RPM
Torque153 Nm113 ft. lb5500 RPM
Power/weight146 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed198 km/h123 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph7.5 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban12.123.3
Extra-urban6.543.5
Combined8.632.8
Gearbox4 speed manual
Weight865 kg1907 lb
Engine1.6i Ford-Lotus DOHC 8V (Elan +2S 130/5 1971-1976)
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1558 cc95.1 cui
Power94 Kw126 bhp6500 RPM
Torque153 Nm113 ft. lb5500 RPM
Power/weight133 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed204 km/h127 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph8.7 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban12.323
Extra-urban6.742.2
Combined8.832.1
Gearbox5 speed manual
Weight946 kg2086 lb
GD Star Rating
loading...
Lotus Elan Plus 2 1967 - 1976, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditEmail this to someone

About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

View All Posts

I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

Leave A Response