The Lotus Elite Launch - Press Release 14 May 1974

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Marcus
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Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 22:29
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Location: Peterborough

The Lotus Elite Launch - Press Release 14 May 1974

Post by Marcus »

It is difficult to believe that it was nearly 50 years ago that the Elite was launched to the world on the 14th May 1974.

There is reference to the fact that it took three years to develop and cost Lotus £750,000 ( a Google search inform me that £100 in 1974 are equivalent to £969 in 2021) so this equates to £7,250,000 today. I wonder what the new Emira has cost Lotus Cars to develop and put in production?

Lotus inform the world that the design exceeded, by a considerable margin, all the world car safety standards - what an achievement for such a small company.

Reference is made to the fact that the nose of the car is as low that is legally possible. What a contrast we have with the current range of vehicles in production today.

We are informed that Elite was the first car to use a bonded aluminium radiator.

The windscreen is only 5mm thick, and forms a structural part of the car. ( The press release fails to mention of how difficult it is to replace a windscreen without damaging the surrounding trim material! )

The Elite has an internal rear window - to this day, has any other car followed this design?

Dunlop developed special tyres for the Elite - 205 / 60 VR14

Mention is made that the seat belts recoil into hidden pockets in the door pillars - this is something that we just take for granted today

There is a page on the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, a subject which I understand very little about – however, I do wonder what the comparative figures are for todays large SUV’s. Perhaps the Elite is the ideal shape to make into an EV, as it has such a low frontal area and excellent aerodynamics.

There is a page on comparative car prices of 30 April 1974 – the E Type V12 is listed at £3,199 and the Elite 501 at £4,568 – some 43% higher, but was it 43% better?

I have also added an interview that Oliver did with Classic Car Weekly published in Nov 2019 in which reference is made to the design of the car - " We were a small team who didn't need meetings every few minutes - we just shouted to each other across the garage"

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richardw
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Posts: 2005
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 15:06
Model: Elite S2.2 Automatic
Colour: Essex Blue
Year: 1981
Location: Worcestershire

Re: The Lotus Elite Launch - Press Release 14 May 1974

Post by richardw »

Absolutely brilliant Marcus - I have never seen the original UK press release before, only a copy of one for (I think) The Netherlands. The pricing comparison is particularly interesting.

The interview with Oliver was conducted on our stand at the Classic Motor Show in 2019. I’m pretty sure it was the last interview he gave before he became ill early in 2020.

Thank you so much for posting this.

Cheers, Richard
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