Owning a Lotus Elan

Experiences of a Lotus Elan owner …

Once upon a time I owned a Lotus Elan S4 Se convertible, it was bright yellow and was superb. In some ways it still remains the drive of my life.

It was the one with the hump on the bonnet to allow for the Stromberg carburetors, woeful in comparison with the normal Webbers, but Chapman, always trying to save money here and there had done a deal. Still the hump added a certain something to the Lotus Elan S4′s looks.

It had beautiful lines. The Lotus Elan sprint which was to follow kept the shape but lost the hump. It was the perfect driving machine, light, surprisingly soft ridden, very direct steering which let me drive very fast in complete control.

Those doughnuts! Anyone who drove a Lotus Elan knew engaging the clutch and the accelerator on starting off was not enough, unless done correctly the car would stall. However a bit of practice soon sorted out the problem.

The Lotus Elan S4 had a superb gearbox (Ford), a wonderful engine (Ford) and many other bits from other cars, Lotus spares were expensive, but if you looked around you would soon find the same part came from an Austin Maxi and cost far less. Other parts came from Triumph but they were pricey too.


My particular car was strange as it was a black badge model. The badge was put on as a tribute to Jochen Rindt, who was the only posthumous Formula 1 racing champion. However the odd thing is he was 1970 champion and my car was a 1969 Lotus Elan S4. Somewhere along the line, someone, time, somehow the badge appeared.

I remember once driving with a Lotus Elan sprint, we were racing between Uckfield and Tunbridge Wells, I would catch him on the bends, I also knew the road well, but he would leave me on the straights, absolutely brilliant. His was a hard top in Gold Leaf colours.

Those Strombergs were a pain too, they were forever going out of tune. Unlike the Webbers they were just not right for the car, Colin Chapman obviously thought so too as he dumped them as soon as he could!

When on song the Lotus Elan was the absolute tops for its day, I sold my 1973 MG Midget, a lovely car in its way, in order to buy my dream car ‘Sunshine’ and it was as different as chalk and cheese. I truly loved that car, just hated the bills!

In another article I will tell you about the 2 Lotus Elan + 2s that followed. One should have killed me, the other nearly did! Meanwhile, whenever you drive, please, please, please wear a seat belt.

Davidsway. Cars are my thing. Please check out http://davidsway-lotuselans4se.blogspot.com

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