PH Blog: another Elan anniversary

After all the bad news from Hethel over the last few months it's been nice to have been (cautiously) a little more celebratory about Lotus recently. We had Matt Bird's first impressions of the Evora 414E and the tech behind it and it's hard not to feel real pride at the fact beleaguered Lotus is - despite it all - up there with the might of Porsche in the development of next-gen hybrid supercars. The 918 Spyder is a more polished and powerful statement but there's something engagingly British, like the Bloodhound, about the Lotus project. And it's hard not to feel hopeful about the possibility of selling the tech on to mainstream carmakers and guaranteeing a future income that could keep things afloat.

Jim Clark flies the flag for his employer
Jim Clark flies the flag for his employer
While we're celebrating Lotus's ingenuity we owe PHer Zeast a debt of gratitude for pointing out a more poignant Elan-related anniversary than the one we used as a flimsy excuse to link to a vid of Diana Rigg flouncing about in an Elan. Flimsy but most valid!

Anyway while the show debut we were trying to pinpoint was apparently October 15 for the 50th anniversary of the press unveiling of the Elan at Earl's Court, yesterday would've been the 80th birthday of Ron Hickman. Hickman's death in February last year was picked up on by the mainstream media for his invention of the Black & Decker Workmate, my own of which I was using just this weekend! Sadly I don't have an example of Hickman's more exciting work, namely the Lotus Elite and Elan he played a key part in the development of. But it's a good excuse to share some of the period pictures of the Elan Lotus sent to me (including one of Hickman's design sketches), further celebrate 50 years of the Elan and salute one of the men intimately involved in its creation.


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  • BSC 25 Oct 2012

    Chrisw26 said:
    Are there 50 Elans amongst the Pistonhead following?
    Hope so. Here's mine.

  • dinkel 23 Oct 2012


    Another delve into Harry's Garage. evo's Editorial Director and Founder Harry Metcalfe shows us around his 1972 Lotus Elan Sprint, he takes it for spin and explains why this 40 year old sports car is still very "evo" Follow us on twitter @evomagazine @harrym_evo

  • WillBrumBrum 23 Oct 2012

    If Ron was 80 and the Elan was 50 years old, that means it came out when he was 30. So he was head of design at Lotus and designed it when he was 28... impressive.

    Plus I remember when I worked for him for 3 months on a retro fitted hard top for the Caterham 7 (I was 19, he was 68) and he let me drive his V12 Jaguar. We got back to his house afterwards and his accountant went ballistic... "Ron, you can't just let that kid drive your cars like that, he's not insured!" But neither Ron nor I seemed to care.

    I also remember on another occasion when we went into the local DIY shop to buy a saw... we ended up spending around £350 on various bits and pieces. He was like a kid in a candy store. Strangely though, he always bought more than one of everything... and then if he didn't like it when he got home he'd take them back (or get me too).

  • johnnymaestro 23 Oct 2012

    Here is mine. Currently being restored for the end of this year. Has been sat for the last 10 years or so.

  • crusty cobb 23 Oct 2012

    Chrisw26 said:
    Are there 50 Elans amongst the Pistonhead following? Here's mine.


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