Care and feeding for the DOHC
The sportsman who acquires any device of a high-performance nature, often finds himself host to an endless parade of maintenance expense. This traditional truth seems to apply equally to horses, dogs, women, and motor cars. As a result, the knowing enthusiast displays understandable concern when appraising any creature of uncommon capability.
In the case of the Lotus dohc engine, there appears to be a happy departure from this tradition. This exotic performer has a most conservative appetite for maintenance luxuries, and can be supported quite comfortably on modest means. A large portion of this attractive condition is attributable to the basic engine design. Low cube, high-tick engines require very busy valves. This mitigates in favor of an intimate relationship between valve and cam with the least possible amount of linkage.
The dohc provides a cam for each side of the head and the cam lobes drive directly on the tappet cups. This layout also permits an optimum form for the combustion chamber, and greatly improves breathing, thus utilizing the full capabilities of the twin Weber carburetors. All in all, one has a very tidy and efficient machine in the Lotus dohc, and one that should be running long after the hairy over-bores have cast their last piston.
Inverted start for Lotus
To us, the relationship between the touring sports car and the pure racing machine has always seemed much closer than the kinship between sports cars and their more prolific cousins, the passenger machines. However, the swelling surge of mass interest in sportier vehicles is a tribute to the persuasiveness of the world's leading passenger car builders. In fact, the starting grid of the local supermarket is already a glut with vehicles bearing exotic nomenclature once reserved for the Grand Prix circuit. While this pot of passion, pleasure and commerce has been a-brewing overseas, the folks at Lotus have been busily tunneling from the other end.
Since their beginnings, the Lotus works has been principally concerned with out-and-out competition machines, and only recently began putting up cars that could be legitimately called street vehicles. It does not require an overly elasticized imagination to recognize the performance potential in adapting proven racing designs to the more tractable configurations of a touring sports car. At any rate, that's how it came about at Lotus.
In the Lotus Elan roadster, the discerning autoist will find unmistakable evidence of current Grand Prix and GTO engineering and design applications. He will also find this machine provides a degree of combined performance unmatched by any production roadster, regardless of price. If our attitude seems a bit provincial, perhaps, it's because we have never tried to please everyone.
Watch out for the girls
There was a time when the ownership of a high- performance motor car was exclusively a masculine prerogative. Young ladies participated in sports motoring only upon invitation and displayed appropriate feminine demeanor and grace. But with the coming of such civilizing influences as socialized medicine, barbed-wire and universal suffrage, many great have been grievously eroded. Unless bold measures are taken this last bastion of male domination may succumb to the malignancy of togetherness. In the past, the Lotus people have staunchly upheld established traditions by building vehicles that required a degree of masculine expertise in their operation, and were sufficiently costly to dissuade any casual interests. These cars also maintained a level of audio and olfactory sensations, plus a spartan indifference--that appealed primarily to the machine-oriented male. But with the introduction of the Elan much of this differentiating ground has been cut away. Here is a thorough -going, race-bred machine with full Chapman suspension and a 105 bhp Lotus Ford dual overhead cam engine that will turn sixty in eight seconds flat and hit a hundred in twenty plus -right off the show room floor. The cornering, braking, and handling of this car cannot be matched by any other production roadster regardless of price. Yet the machine is utterly tractable, runs so quietly that it is possible to enjoy the radio while traveling, and is priced so democratically that even shop clerks and working mothers could, with moderate privation, afford it. For those men who wish to preserve a great tradition, there is one last favorable thought-it will be some time before Elan production comes abreast of the demand and your order may keep another vehicle in the proper hands.
You can't please everyone
It is quite impossible to build a motor car that will please everyone, so the next best thing is to build one that will have particular appeal for a few. The Lotus Elan will accelerate to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and push 100 in 20 seconds and that's with the stock factory layout and standard tune. The twin cam Lotus engine is undoubtedly the quickest and quietest 1600cc engine ever offered in a production roadster and the handling, suspension, and braking clearly reflect Lotus experience in designing formula machines. From the standpoint of performance, reliability and styling we feel the Elan is a very satisfactory machine. However, the proper all- two-seater must contain certain traditional elements. To this end, care and consideration have been lavished on certain spartan touches that will strike to the heart of the "old school" motor sports enthusiasts who's memory book is stuffed with Rileys, Morgans, and Bugattis. The collapsible P.V.C. hood is of the non- variety and will afford the autoist ample opportunity to demonstrate his manual dexterity. 1:1 True to the classic form, there are no window winders. Raising or lowering the windows that repose within the doors is done in a manner reminicent of early railway coaches and excursion steamers. While this is not quite like snapping in the side curtains, it does give one a sense of participation. To be sure there are concessions to advances in engineering and design, such as headlamps that fold up and down vacuumatically from a flipper on the oiled teak facia, electric two-speed windscreen wipers that provide ample viewing openings for both driver and passenger, and avant-garde bumpers of foam filled plastic that don't dent and rust at the slightest shunt. El It is in the engine, chassis, and running gear that the boldest innovations have been permitted. The mating of the Lotus dohc head to a specially designed Lotus/ Ford block is by no means the result of casual thinking in the parts locker. The combination of a sturdy four cylinder block and a thoroughly sophisticated dual cam head with twin Weber carbs has resulted in a standard street de-tuned 1558cc engine delivering 105 bhp at 5700 and red lined at 6000-6500. Top speed is 115 and the close ratio four speed synchro gear box delivers smooth, spirited performance throughout the range with exceptional tooth through the 2600 to 6500 segment. Advance orders are now being accepted for delivery in late '63 or early '64; the price of the car is $3,922 P.O.E. West Coast, including synchro four speed close ratio gearbox, 1558cc dohc engine with twin Weber carbs.
Lotus '63, a vintage year
This year the season dawned with bright promise for the green cars from Cheshunt (it always starts that way) and after wins at Holland, Belgium, France and England, Lotus had shown enough early foot to have the brass ring hanging on the peg at Monza. A win would clinch it with races to spare, but one couldn't help remembering a very soggy-pudding day in South Africa when the championship had dribbled out the distributor drive. El During the Monza race, Hill and Gurney swarmed about Jimmy Clark often leaving him to draft along behind. But this time all the little wiggly jiggly bits stayed in place and Jimmy peddled home in front. One can scarcely imagine the self-restraint needed by the Lotus folks to maintain an appropriate British aplomb. Chapman layed it all to Clark, Clark beamed appreciatively at his machine and a voice in the background muttered something about safety wire and cotter-pins. All and all it was a smashing day.
Coming on the tail of the industrial revolution at Indianapolis this was the signal for considerable jubilation both at home and abroad. As yet we have not received any requests for bobbly-headed dolls cast in the likeness of Chapman or Clark, but auto sales have been quite brisk. In a good many cases, transactions are being conducted completely by post or telephone. 0 In peering round at the back side of things one must recognize that Lotus is by no means a giant among auto builders and future deliveries will be limited by production capacity. The reputation gained by Lotus in racing is not likely to be cast aside for hurriedly mass produced vehicles. If you have been contemplating a Lotus you may find the wait has become a bit longer, but when you do get your machine it will be an honest representative of a championship Marque. You will be further pleased to note that the price of victory has not been added to the cost of your car.