Lotus Elite 501 to 503

Lotus Cars have three vehicles called the Elite:

  • the small two seat coupĂ© made in the late 1950s.
  • the two door four seat grand tourer made in the 1970s.
  • the 2+2 coupĂ© that was revealed in 2010 and should have gone into production in 2014.

This article looks at the 1970s Lotus Elite and it was one of my favourite cars as a teenager.

Lotus Elite attribution Charles01
Lotus Elite attribution Charles01

This front engined, rear wheel drive car

started with a four cylinder 1973 engine producing 155 bhp when it was launched in 1974. Originally it had the option of a four or five speed gearbox and an automatic transmission was also offered from 1976. From 1980 a 2.2 litre engine was used.

It is a good looking car with the very low drag coefficient of just 0.30 (claimed). There were three versions:
501 – the standard car
502 – with air conditioning
503 – with air conditioning and power steering.

In 11980 the S2 version was introduced (Type 83) to replace the earlier Type 75.

Production stopped in 1982 and, in total, 2,535 cars were made.

How Big is A Lotus Elite 501?

Length 4470mm
Width 1820mm
Height 1210mm
Curb weight 975kg (the car was built of fibreglass on a steel chassis.)

How Big Is A Front-Engined Sports Or GT Car?

Scale Models Of The Lotus Elite

The first Lotus Elite is well represented by scale models but this second version is largely overlooked. Like the Jensen Interceptor, I’d like to see interest in this car revived. I have seen:

1:36 Corgi
1:43 Spark

I’ve made it easy for you to check what models are available at what price from these websites:


Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Collectable Diecast – a specialist model retailer in America

Please check the search results carefully and change the criteria if necessary. I can’t separate out the three versions of the Elite

Is The Elite One Of The Sexiest Cars Ever Made?

What are the sexiest cars from 1960 to 1974? Vote for up to TEN of your favourites. (Blue links take you to detailed pages)

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Click To See The Other Sexiest Cars

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