Extra Lithe: 1967 Lotus Elan Coupe

By 1967, Lotus Cars Ltd. had established itself as a provider of lithe sporting machines, making the most of small engines, fiberglass & backbone-style frames. The Elan was an attempt at selling a “real” sports car as opposed to a kit, and the coupe was more refined than the convertible version. This project car is listed for sale here on eBay and has a starting bid of $8,000 — which would seem more reasonable to me if it weren’t a little lighter than it should be. It’s located in Los Angeles, California.

The car appears to have little to no damage to the fiberglass body and is complete with most trim, lights, and glass. I was quite surprised to find replacement “LOTUS” letters for the missing ones on the trunk (boot) here for a reasonable cost.

Elans are quite delicate looking in person and the coupe roof accents the basic shape beautifully with a sloped B-pillar and rounded rear window. Unfortunately, the car wasn’t rolled out of storage for further pictures–if you want a better idea of what one looks like check it out here. Don’t confuse the 2+2 Elan with this coupe–this is strictly a two-seater and is somewhat smaller than the extended-chassis 2+2. In 1964, Car and Driver had this to say about the Elan: “It fits like a Sprite, goes like a Corvette, and handles like a Formula Junior.” Quite a good description!

I’m not sure whether this car is a former parts car for someone that needed interior bits or a stalled restoration project without all the components. Either way, you are going to have to do some creative sourcing here as the seller states that the only items included in the auction are pictured. A quick look on eBay leads me to believe that Elan gauges are both more difficult to find and a lot more expensive than boot letter sets!

Here’s the real problem–no engine comes with this Elan! Although many flavors of small, Ford-based four-cylinders will fit, this Elan would originally have had the 1558 cc DOHC version. I’ve seen many folks fit the later “big valve” engine for more power–hopefully, that means the buyer of this project can find a more original engine at a somewhat reasonable cost. What do you think about this project Lotus–and have you ever owned an Elan?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Parts, parts, parts! Must be the same seller of the ’56 T-Bird in LA. Wouldn’t pay the 8K for it because the engine, if you can find one, is going to cost more than that. It does look good for rebuilding but the cost is going to put the buyer upside down.

    Like 1
  2. Bob Minnis

    Agree with bobhess, the engine, a good rebuilt or “new” engine will run north of $10k.
    I owned at one time the first Elan 1963, imported into the US (26-104). It was “breathed” on by Chinetti in Long Island. It was the most fun car I ever owned. Wish I kept it.

    Like 1
  3. John Walsh

    Sorry to say. I collect Lotus and this one is overpriced, even by UK standards. A good big valve engine will cost as much as the car, then interior at another 4/5k plus dash etc, etc.

    Like 1
  4. Mark Member

    How about a Miata motor swap?

    Like 1
    • tonywa28

      a good bit too tall I suspect. I have a spare T/C engine, but there’s a lot to do here…..

  5. Howie Mueler

    Ended, no bids, no surprise.

    Like 1

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