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JohnRgt

Leno's 1969 Lotus Elan

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The Elan is one of legendary car designer's Colin Chapman's masterpieces. I love how Leno modified the engine in his '69 so it can rev all the way to 9500rpm!

Video Link (18:08)

(Mrs Peel drove one of these things.)

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What a beaut! That's exactly what it reminded me of -- my Miata.

Supposedly, Mazda "took apart" two of these things when they designed the marvelous first generation Miata.

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It was the '89 Miata that sold me on getting one, but by the time I got one, they had just gone to the next generation with the '01. Still a really fun, reliable little car. Mazda really did it right, and boy are their owners loyal. Have any Forum members driven an Elan?

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John, she is a beauty and the car is nice too. :D

You must know she is Diana Rigg, of The Avengers fame! She was my favorite part of the Avengers when I was a kid. :lol:

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The Elan is one of legendary car designer's Colin Chapman's masterpieces. I love how Leno modified the engine in his '69 so it can rev all the way to 9500rpm!

Video Link (18:08)

(Mrs Peel drove one of these things.)

Not trying to be willingly contrarian here and maybe it's because I am more familiar with these things being European, but I see them as archaic pieces of junk??

Now an e-type jag, I get

E-type

A 1960 Ferrari, I get

Ferrari

even a Jensen Interceptor, I get

Jensen

But the Elan? A modest little car which doesn't inspire much passion or enthusiasm in me

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But the Elan? A modest little car which doesn't inspire much passion or enthusiasm in me

It's a driving enthusiast's car. The weight, the balance between power and grip, the immediacy of the experience has rarely if ever been replicated. (Google "Gordon Murray" to get a feel for the credentials of the man Leno quotes.)

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John, she is a beauty and the car is nice too. :D

You must know she is Diana Rigg, of The Avengers fame! She was my favorite part of the Avengers when I was a kid. :lol:

I did not recognize her, but thanks for pointing it out.

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But the Elan? A modest little car which doesn't inspire much passion or enthusiasm in me

It's a driving enthusiast's car. The weight, the balance between power and grip, the immediacy of the experience has rarely if ever been replicated. (Google "Gordon Murray" to get a feel for the credentials of the man Leno quotes.)

And the only way to really judge that is by driving one. Jay tried to show how it feels in the clip, and did a pretty good job of it, but you don't know until you've been behind the wheel. Btw, did it sound to you like it was over revving? If I only heard the engine, I'd probably think it was a motorcycle.

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But the Elan? A modest little car which doesn't inspire much passion or enthusiasm in me

It's a driving enthusiast's car. The weight, the balance between power and grip, the immediacy of the experience has rarely if ever been replicated. (Google "Gordon Murray" to get a feel for the credentials of the man Leno quotes.)

Yes, fair point, my assessment was purely visual.

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Yes, fair point, my assessment was purely visual.

Just visualize Mrs Peel behind the wheel in one of her cutting edge outfits, Stussy...:lol:

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Yes, fair point, my assessment was purely visual.

Just visualize Mrs Peel behind the wheel in one of her cutting edge outfits, Stussy...:D

You will get me in serious trouble with the now heavily pregnant and sometimes hormonal Mrs Stussy88 :lol:

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I started poking around on Mr. Leno's website and what got my interest was the steam cars. Now, those look like amazing pieces of straightforward engineering. I love elegant things like that where it's simple in principle and then you build an amazing machine around the idea.

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Both the Elan and the MkI Miata - the "MX-5" as you people on the other side of the pond refer to it - made evo's ten best drivers' cars of all time list. Considering some of the other masterpieces on that list - Ferrari F50, Porsche 996 GT3, the glorious, unequaled, I-love-it-so-much-it hurts Pagani Zonda F - that's a heck of an achievement for a 40-year old car and one of its mass produced disciples. (See issue 135, which is just getting to US mag racks this week.)

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More on the first generation Miata/MX-5:

Buy a convertible for £1000 or less – that was last year’s evo Grand Challenge.
It really was a cracking little car. When we rolling-roaded it we found it was still pumping out 106bhp, just 9bhp down on what it should have had when new, and at Bruntingthorpe it hit a remarkable 117.4mph (more than 3mph up on the manufacturer’s figure). Best of all though was the drive to Land’s End (evo 130). On the tumbling, twisting Cornish lanes it was an absolute joy, communicating every little slip and slide, steering with a clarity and immediacy that you’d struggle to match in any car, at any price.

Link to the evo article

The one criticism I hear over and over again about early Miatas is that they don't have a lot of torque, which forces drivers to keep the revs silly high tackling their favorite roads. One solution to this issue is a low output, bolt-on supercharger. They don't cost much and, as long as the owner doesn't go for a lot of boost, the car's character and balanced aren't adversely affected. Keeping the torque increase to a minimum would also avoid the need for expensive chassis adjustments, adjustments that could easily disturb what makes these cars so much fun.

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