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Lotus Evora meets the Lotus Elan +2 from 1968: family reunion

Rossen Gargolov
Lotus Evora meets the Lotus Elan +2 from 1968
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'It's the very mean, the eternal yesterday', Friedrich Schiller once wrote in his Wallenstein Trilogy - and thus coined the concept of the yesterday. Today a popular phrase for people who convulsively cling to habits.

This is what the British lightweight sports car has become

They are available in the Porsche Fan base: 'A four-seater Porsche that drives as well as a 911? Never works.' The Gran Turismo Panamera has proven that it can. And at Lotus, too, those who are backward-looking will soon speak up again. 'A Lotus with a back seat that weighs over a ton? Oh God, what happened to the British lightweight sports car. Long live Colin Chapman', the shocked critics are when looking at the youngest Lotus offspring Evora say.

Lightweight guru wants Lotus for the family

It was Lotus company founder and racing car -Constructor Chapman himself, who had the idea of ​​a 2 + 2-seater coupé, which was unthinkable by purist Lotus standards. In 1962, the lightweight guru wanted a car that could accommodate his growing family. Chapman calculated that there must be similar considerations among Lotus drivers. With the presentation of the Lotus Elan +2 in June 1967 his idea took shape. More than 40 years later, the Lotus Evora the sports car stage with the same ambitions as its historical ancestor.

Time for a small family reunion. Fresh and lively, the Lotus Evora with the curved roof shape in the Zagato style travels straight from Great Britain to its automotive grandfather. The Lotus Elan +2, built in July 1968, is enjoying its old days as part of an exclusive British classic car collection in Heidelberg. A quick look through the round, vacuum-operated pop-up headlamp eyes is enough and he agrees with the Evora: Get out of the dry underground car park, into the drizzle and the tumult of the bends of the neighboring Neckar valley.

Evora with V6 mid-engine and 280PS

The newcomer pulls ahead boldly with a subtle engine rattle and craves speed. A V6 mid-engine with 280 HP is hidden under a plastic cover for the Lotus Evora, which is mounted transversely in front of the rear axle to reduce weight. The power development of the 3.5-liter vacuum cleaner is initially reserved by the British, before the fiery red rear-wheel drive car from 4,000 rpm lets its temper flash with a hoarse screeching.

With 5.6 seconds, the Lotus Evora still misses the factory specification by half a second when sprinting to country road speed. Only at 4,700 tours is the maximum torque of 350 Newton meters from the Toyota-manufactured engine available. The twin-cam unit with 1,558 cubic centimeters of displacement under the red-painted GRP body of the 68 Elan also flirts with foreign genes. The cast-iron engine block, the crankshaft and pistons come from Ford and are also used in the Cortina. Lotus developed the matching aluminum cylinder head with two chain-driven, overhead camshafts. 'I actually wanted to use the twin-cam engine for my Super Seven, but the vigor was too good as a spare parts donor,' reveals car collector Frank Fischer. The Lotus Elan +2 escaped cardiac death, which was believed to be safe. Luckily.

Elan with 115 HP in 8.9 seconds to 100 km /h3>

That's how he plays here 115 hp in-line engine with twin Weber carburetors installed alongside the front axle in the coupé his heart-rending four-cylinder symphony. But the Lotus Elan +2 doesn't just have a powerful voice. The factory specification of 8.9 seconds for the sprint to 100 km /h still seems credible today. The chassis and the relatively direct rack and pinion steering of the right-hand drive, as well as the crisp four-speed gearbox with short shift travel, do not convey the feeling of sitting in a sports car that is over 40 years old. The conspicuously inclined three-spoke sports steering wheel with the legendary, yellow Lotus logo is more likely. 'Typical Chapman, he just saved himself a universal joint and installed a continuous steering column,' says Lotus Elan fan Fischer with a smile.

Even if the Lotus Elan +2 was around 300 kilograms heavier than, for example, the two-seater Elan roadster presented in 1962 (internal type 26), the Lotus developers were very economical with unnecessary extra pounds with the 2 + 2 Elan around. The classic, which was also available as a kit from the beginning of its career until 1968, is still a lightweight compared to the brand new Evora at 889 kilograms. At 1,404 kilograms, lightweight construction philosopher Chapman would probably have suddenly got chills. Except for the Lotus Europa SE (1,010 kg), the last ten Lotus models tested by sport auto were each below the magical one-ton limit.

But just as soon as the tester Colin Chapman would probably have given theconvincing performance of the novice recovered. With a perfectly coordinated sports suspension (Bilstein damper and Eibach springs), the Lotus Evora waves largely neutrally through the Neckar valley and, with its precise steering, sucks in one curve after the other through its honeycomb gully. The brake system from AP Racing with internally ventilated discs (350 and 332 mm) impresses with perfect response and easy-to-dose pressure point. The Lotus Evora waves to its historic Lotus Elan + 2 predecessor with a hilarious tail swing before it makes the return trip from the meeting of the generations.

Evora Hockenheim lap time: 1.14.4 minutes

Not without making a stop in Hockenheim. After three laps of the small course, the clock shows a time of 1:14.4 minutes. Only the Lotus 2-Eleven (1.11.9 minutes) and the Lotus Exige Cup 260 in the individual test (1.12.8 minutes) were faster among the top ten Lotus models tested by sport auto - you can see all lap times here in Hockenheim. During the rush of times, only the third gear of the otherwise precisely working six-speed transmission, which is sometimes slightly scratchy when shifting in a hurry, is unpleasant.

The new mid-engine racer also masters the next task with flying colors, although it is outside of Lotus' core competence. A laptop bag, two trolleys, a bulging sports bag, an impractical square gift and a handbag are waiting for a place in the Lotus Evora for a weekend trip. The owner of the handbag naturally also wants to take a seat on the passenger side in the perfectly matching Recaro shells, but comments on the heavy luggage with skepticism: 'It never fits in the car.' Waiting patiently, the Lotus Evora swallows all of the cargo, surprising its critics. Colin Chapman's idea from the sixties could hardly have been implemented better than with the latest Lotus creation.


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