The Central Feature installation at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed will be occupied by Lotus, which plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lotus Elan.
Unveiled at the 1962 British Motor Show, just as Sixties fever hit the world, this small two-seater eventually became one of the best-selling Lotus models ever. In fact, only the Elise managed to surpass its popularity. The Elan's top rivals at the time included the Jaguar E-Type (XKE in the US), AC Cobra and Ferrari GTO.
An ultra-modern, lightweight and fast sports car, the Elan featured a fibreglass body and four-wheel independent suspension. It also stood out from the competition with power windows, a heater, and carpeting. In 1967, a +2 coupe made its debut, followed by the more powerful Lotus Elan Sprint in 1973. The latter accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds, a highly respectable time back then.
Lotus built a little more than 17,000 units of the Elan, ''mother'' of the Elise and inspiration for the Mazda Miata (MX-5). Production ended in 1972, and the +2 coupe survived two more years.
Fifty years after its introduction, the Elan is still very much coveted by car collectors around the world.
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