S1 S2 S3 S4 & SPRINT (62-73)
The original Elan 1500 was introduced in 1962 as a roadster. After a very short production run of just 22 cars the engine was enlarged and the car was redesignated the Elan 1600. An optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupe version in 1965. The two-seat Lotus Elan replaced the elegant, but expensive to produce Elite.
It was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 1,600 lb (726 kg), the Elan embodied the Chapman minimum weight design philosophy. Initial versions of the Elan were also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. The Elan was technologically advanced with a DOHC 1557 cc engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent suspension.
The Elan 1600 of 1963 was replaced by the Elan S2 in 1964. The S2 gave way to the S3 in 1965 with a fixed-head coupe now offered alongside the 2-seater sports. The S4 followed in 1968 and the Elan Sprint was introduced in 1970. Production of Sprint ceased in 1973.
The Lotus TwinCam engine was based on Ford Kent Pre-Crossflow 4-cylinder 1498 cc engine, with a Harry Mundy-designed 2 valve alloy chain-driven twin-cam head. The rights to this design was later purchased by Ford, which renamed it to "Lotus-Ford Twin Cam". It would go on to be used in a number of Ford and Lotus production and racing models.