Tuesday, August 14 2012
Fifty years of the Lotus Elan will be celebrated at this weekend's Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch (18/19 August) both on and off track. The diminutive roadster epitomised the swinging 60s and its enduring popularity will be commemorated with a special race organised by the Classic Sports Car Club.
Originally intended as a replacement for the Lotus 7 but eventually succeeding the Elite, the Elan became an instant hit, cementing the reputation of Colin Chapman's company amongst the discerning motorist. Its backbone chassis also formed the basis of every car from the factory until the Elise in the mid-90s.
The Elan is also remembered for its novel pop-up headlights and good looks that inspired the Mazda MX-5 in the 90s. Its popularity amongst the care-free baby boomer generation was secured when it was featured in the cult TV series The Avengers, as the car of choice for Emma Peel. Performance and racing versions were also produced, as well as a 2+2 coupé for the family-minded.
During the festival a huge collection of Elans will parade the circuit on the Saturday, whilst a special race for the classic will take place on the Sunday. Also taking pride of place at the event will be a very rare shooting brake conversion nick-named the 'Elanbulance'. Just two of the Hexagon-built cars were made.
The Lotus Festival will also feature a packed programme of racing including the Lotus Cup UK and Elise Trophy. Trade stands, a presence from both Lotus Cars and Classic Team Lotus, plus rally demonstrations, air displays and live music will complement the largest gathering of Lotuses in Europe.
Tickets for the Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch are available in advance from £17 with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.