Elite Eclat and Excel 1974 to 1992
Lotus Elite Eclat and Excel 1974 to 1992
Lotus in the 1970s was a company on the move. Both in competition and manufacturing it had already become far more professional, and much less of a kitcar 'garagiste' operation. With the Elite it began producing a model aimed squarely at the daily-driving, wealthy business owner, rather than weekend racers. It was targeting Ferrari's and Porsche's customers, with a larger, better equipped and more luxurious car. A 4-seater coupe, with a shooting-brake type hatch, and modish wedge styling, and a very modern engine. It should have succeded; but, its looks weren't universally loved, it didn't appeal to Lotus's traditional customer base, and its build quality and reliability weren't good enough for Porsche customers. The platform did have longevity though, and it kept Lotus going through a difficult period. Updated over time, with a larger engine and styling changes until production ended in 1983.
The Eclat was a coupe version of the Elite, built to appeal to those that didn't like the shooting brake style, and (initially) be a cheaper alternative. Ironically, it was this body style that outlived the Elite, and in 1982 developed into... The Excel, which had a revised drivetrain, based on Toyota parts (the companies were working together at the time), and a 1980s styling facelift. Wider box arches were added in 1984, and later models (SE and SA) brought more power and an automatic gearbox. Like Porsche's front-engined 70s cars (that shared a similar market), this range of cars had very extended lifespans, as their manufacturers struggled through a difficult period for sportscar makers.
All Elite models (S1 & S2.2) were specified with a 205/60VR14 radial tyre.
Early Eclat's (520 spec.) with a 13-inch wheel were supplied with 185/70HR13 tyres, all S1 and S2.2 models with 14-inch wheels had a 205/60VR14 tyre.
Excels from 1982 to 1986 with 14-inch wheels were fitted with 205/60R14 tyres. Then a 15-inch wheel was fitted, and the standard fitment was a 215/50VR15 tyre.