Everyone has their ultimate vehicle wish list, and ours is littered with a smattering of models both obscure and asinine. One of the more mainstream sweethearts is the original Lotus Elan. Collin Chapman's wonderchild remains an impressive performer even today, thanks to its feathery curb weight and the impressive performance on hand. As you may recall, EVO Magazine pitted editorial director Harry Metcalfe's 1972 Elan Sprint against vehicles like the Toyota MR-2 and Mazda Miata back in the early 2000s. Metcalfe still has his tiny yellow convertible and was kind enough to bring a camera along for the roadster's first run of the spring season.

Weighing in at around 1,500 pounds and packing a surprising 126 horsepower, Metcalfe says the car is still good for sprints to 60 mph in a tick past six seconds. Unburdened by pesky life-saving hardware like crumple zones, steel reinforcements, airbags or any electronic nannies, the plucky little fiberglass creation is also a pretty smart handler even though the model is now officially 50 years old. Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.



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  • 22 Comments
      donnieorama
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Unburdened by pesky life-saving hardware like crumple zones, steel reinforcements, airbags or any electronic nannies..." That sounds like every car I drove up until about 1987. And I'm still on this earth.
      Drizzy
      • 2 Years Ago
      40... Still impressive.
      RodRAEG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Damn that thing has got to be a hoot to drive.
      KAG
      • 2 Years Ago
      For such a tall guy he fits in that tiny car without half his head hanging out. Still a amazing car.
      Mark S
      • 2 Years Ago
      The first MR2s were about 10 HP less and 1000 lbs more. I'm somewhat envious.
        rtkewley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark S
        Don't be. The MR2 is considerably less likely to a) disintegrate and/or b) burst into flames, as well as offering modern levels of safety, emissions, etc. The owner's almost creepy level of enthusiasm aside, the Elan (really, all Lotuses of that era and on into the '90s) was a flimsy, poorly built, and generally awful car.
          CarsInDepth.com
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          You've obviously never driven one. There's a reason why both Gordon Murray and Jay Leno consider the Elan their favorite sports car.
          theychargetoomuch
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          The lotus esprit's of the late eighties and on that were outfitted with gm Ignition and fuel injection were very well built, reliable cars. Zero to sixty times as low as 4.5 seconds made it one of the fastest cars of the day.
          etaoin shrdlu
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          I had a 1972 Elan Sprint from 1974 until 1992. I did have problems with it, including an electrical fire under the dash. I had to drill a hole in the bottom of the trunk so that rain water could drain out after it got in. I had to be real careful closing the hood - excuse me, bonnet - so that the catch did not come down on the back side of the latch, where it was difficult to free again. There was a period where the engine ran too rough to drive the car, and the mechanic could not solve the problem, so the car sat undriveable for several months. Then it ran just fine again without anything being done to it. The thick lacquer over the dash split and cracked horribly. The generator was too weak to power everything all at the same time. There were a number of other minor problems. But it was worth it, because that was one fun car to drive. I wish I still had it. I am almost 59 years old now, and that Lotus remains my favorite car that I've ever owned.
      Mark_H
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know about this car til I saw them fix one up on Wheeler Dealers recently. Now I love them.
      Dinsdale Drummond
      • 2 Years Ago
      not even roll-over bars
      Tahoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've owned 2 Elans and still have one. Mine is a '64 S2 RHD. I've owned a Healy, Sunbeam Alpines and Tigers, an Alfa Duetto, and a couple of MX5's. The Elans are just incredible cars that will put a smile on your face every time you drive one. They handle excellent, are quick, and get impressive fuel mileage. I'll only mine when I can't drive anmore and maybe not even then.
      Chayil
      • 2 Years Ago
      How I yearn for such a car. Small, compact, lightweight. The Elan and other Loti back in the 60's were a counterpoint to the American made leviathans cruising the streets of America. As a kid, my dream car was a Cobra. I ended up buying a Camaro for my first car because it was the smallest car Chevrolet made at the time. Sadly, Lotus has moved away from Colin Chapman's mantra of light weight and the Elan embodies the spirit of said designer.
      ilikedags
      • 2 Years Ago
      best handling car ever. soft springs and skinny tires ftw!
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love Elans. I'd consider getting one one day if I weren't so tall. I don't know about the regular convertible's top, but I've tried fitting in a Coupe and it didn't really work. On the other hand, I know I can fit in that red Countach...
      Edward
      • 2 Years Ago
      I remember taking onr of these for a spin. I smoked a hot rod Olds in a little stoplight drag. Boy, were we both surprised!
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