Lotus Elite Types 75 and 83
|1974 to 1982|
|Production||1974–1982 2535 made|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door station wagon|
|Engine||2.0-litre I4 2.2-litre I4 (from 1980)|
|Transmission||5-speed manual 3-speed automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,490 mm (98 in)|
|Length||4,470 mm (176 in)|
|Width||1,820 mm (72 in)|
|Height||1,210 mm (48 in)|
|Curb weight||975 kg (2,150 lb) (approx)|
From 1974 to 1982, Lotus produced the 4-seat, considerably larger Type 75 and later Type 83 Elite.
Lotus' first saloon car was front engined with rear wheel drive. Like all production Lotuses since the Elan, the Elite used fiberglass for the hatchback bodyshell, mounted on a steel backbone chassis evolved from the Elan and Europa. It had 4-wheel independent suspension using coil springs.
The Elite was Lotus' first car to use the 907 aluminium-block 4-valve, DOHC, four-cylinder, 1973cc, developing 155 bhp. (The 907 engine had previously been used in Jensen-Healeys.) The 907 engine ultimately became the foundation for the 2.0 L and 2.2 L Lotus Esprit powerplants, the naturally aspirated 912 and the turbocharged 910. The Elite was fitted with a 4 or 5 speed gearbox and from January 1976 automatic transmission was optional.
The Elite had a claimed drag co-efficient of 0.30 and at the time of launch it was the world's most expensive four cylinder car.
Elites were available in 4 main specification variations, 501, 502, 503, and later on 504.
501 was the 'base' version.
502 added air conditioning to the specification of the 501.
503 added power steering to the specification of the 502.
504 added automatic transmission to the specification of the 503.
The Elite was the basis for the Eclat, and the later Excel 2+2 coupes.
Regarding performance, the Elite and the related Éclat are notable in that the stock kerb weight is not much over 2,000 lb (907 kg). Once the motors reach their power band, both acceleration and handling are impressive for cars of the era.