Journal: Film Gallery: The Lotus Elan +2

Film Gallery: The Lotus Elan +2

By Ted Gushue
January 10, 2017

Our latest film features the often overlooked 1972 Lotus Elan +2, a car which here at the Petrolicious HQ we literally can’t stop staring at. From a distance you could forgive someone for overlooking the Elan, but as your gaze lingers shapes start to emerge. For me, I start to see shades of Toyota 2000GT in the front, and a dash of Renault Alpine in the back.

It’s lithe, it’s slippery looking. It’s got character.

If you’ve missed our film today, check it out below:

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Ben Jones
Ben Jones(@ben_jones)
5 years ago

My dad had one of these growing up, when he bought it, it was finished in a Citroen grey, this was then changed for a nice calypso red. He did a full restoration of it, unfortunately due to family difficulties the car had to be sold soon after the restoration was complete and at the time I was too young to ever get chance to drive it. I would love to find out what happened to it and one day get chance to drive it!

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer(@jack-straw)
5 years ago

Lordy, the +2 is a pretty little thang but I don’t see any Alpine or 2000 GT there.

Thanks for the profile. I had some experience with an S2 roadster in the late sixties but had completely forgotten this variant.

wing nut
wing nut
5 years ago

Loved this car as a child and its stablemate the Europa. Simple, elegant lines with a dash board that, to me, was always quintessentially English and like most Loti exceptional handling.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Honestly Gushue it must be that youth thing once again coming into play . Because in reality I’ve never known anyone worth their salt in the Gearhead universe thats ever ‘ over looked ‘ the much loved and much vaunted Lotus Elan +2 .

In as far as your stylistic analysis is concerned . Sorry Ted ole bean but I just aint seein it . Fact is it looks like a Lotus design and only a Lotus period from every angle , stem to stern .

Reasons ? Both the 2000GT and the A110 have much more complex lines and sculpturing in comparison to the Elan’s somewhat … albeit not in a negative way slab sided – simple front – and almost verging on the generic rear view .

But the fact is … she’s a Lotus thru and thru . Neither trying to be anything else nor attempting even a semblance of pretense . So what is it that absolutely defines the Lotus design ethos of the Chapman era ? Function first and foremost . Without allowing the form to interfere with the function in the slightest . e.g. The very epitome of the Shaker zeitgeist in automotive form

Ted Gushue
Ted Gushue(@tedgushue)
5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

I don’t disagree here – I’m thinking it’s more just not frequently in the public conversation. For instance…we haven’t done anything on the Elan +2 in forever. I want that to change, it’s gorgeous.

5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

You know, a lot of people seem to dislike you quite a bit here, and often for a good reason, too. But when you are right, you are pretty darn right. The design analysis in the article is really shallow, like saying that G-wagen and Bugatti Type 57 are very similar because they have four round things.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay(@christophergay)
5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

The Shakers produce(d) architecture and furnishings with exceptional craftsmanship, resulting in products that are the epitome of “form follows function”. Nothing superfluous, everything that is needed. Their work is inspirational to many artisans and craftsmen, and I refer to them often to my students. I believe GS is referring to the less is more aspect of these cars and Chapman’s work in general. One might suggest that the build quality does not compare to the Shaker ethos of building something to last forever, but a Formula 1 only needs to last one race (or, at least, that’s how it used to be).

The Shakers have a rich history, but that reaches far beyond the context here at Petrolicious. 🙂

I can see Ted’s references to the Alpine and the Toyota, no doubt. It’s just that for those of us who grew up around these, the Lotus is what it is, and the references themselves become superfluous. Again, we are back to context and points of reference, dictated by our respective ages and experience. I don’t think anyone’s wrong here, we just have different points of references.
Things like this also happen when I reference, say, Zeppelin, to my young students.

The nice thing about being in touch with the younger generation, is that it keeps the dialogue alive and I can recognize that we are all still students.

OK, back to “work”.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Christopher Gay – You are correct in your assessment that the quality of Lotus is not quite up to Shaker standards .. but your definition of Shaker philosophy is not quite accurate so to you and

Ian Paul … I give you this . The very essence of Shaker philosophy and what is at the very core of their craftsmanship can be expressed simply and concisely [ yeah I know … not usually my style ] in their own words ;

” First and foremost make it function . Then without sacrificing or losing a single aspect of the items original function make it as beautiful as you possible can ”

Which other than Lotus’s legendary lack of quality … fits Lotus’s design ethos to a tee

JB21 – Whether or not I endear myself to some folks is of little or no concern to me . Nor should it be to anyone else . The only thing that is important is are my facts [ in this post truth – post facts world ] accurate and are my opinions at the very least plausible and defensible . Suffice it to say unlike the 350 lb orangutan in the room popularity is not my goal … in life … my music … as well as my writing .And if that hard line that some might mistakingly construe as Elitist should offend someone ? So be it . My condolences to them for their inability to discern fact from fiction and quality from pretense. FYI ; When it comes to automotive journalism and critique LJK Setright and Robert Hughes are my major influences . Style ? A Kit Bashed combination of classic journalistic writing with a healthy dose of Tom Robbins and a modicum of Hunter S Thompson