1963 Lotus Elite

Type 14 Coupe 1.2 L

Vehicle values by condition

Condition 4
#4 cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped.
Condition 3
#3 cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior.
Condition 2
#2 cars could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 cars that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws.
Condition 1
#1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best car, unmodified, in the right colours, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours.
Insurance premium for a
1963 Lotus Elite Type 14 Coupe 1216
valued at £55,200
£289.85 / year*

History of the 1958 - 1963 Lotus Elite

When Lotus unveiled the Type 14 Elite at Earl's Court in 1957, it signaled a change. No longer would Lotus be seen as just a race and kit car manufacturer, but now also one that produced cutting edge road cars. Lotus founder Colin Chapman felt that for this production car, traditional aluminium or steel construction would be too costly so he designed an ingenious glass fibre monococque body structure comprised of three pieces with steel frame members and suspension pick-up points actually embedded in the glass fibre itself.

The Elite’s exceedingly lovely body was penned by Chapman’s accountant Peter Kirwan-Taylor and resulted in an elegant two-seat coupe that had a drag coefficient of only 0.29. The anointed engine was a 1,216cc Coventry Climax 4-cylinder known as the FWE, which produced 75hp and was a mix of the FWA head and FWB block. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a 4-speed MGA gearbox or optional ZF box. Suspension was double wishbones in the front and "Chapman struts" in the rear and 4-wheel discs were utilized for braking at a time when other much more expensive cars were still using drums. The entire package was mounted directly into the glass fibre monococque, and while it created booming resonance and noise at around 4,000 rpm, it also imbued the car with fantastic feel and handling on the road, which lent itself to many race applications including LeMans, where the Elite performed well.

Almost 1,200 Lotus Elites were built from 1957 to 1962 including race versions as well as those delivered as kits. Those produced up until 1960 with Maximar-built bodies are known as S1 cars. In July of 1960, S2 cars started being delivered with revised suspension as well as bodies now being built by Bristol plastics, although a few Series 2 cars still have the lighter Maximar body shells. Shortly after that the S2 "SE" appeared, and these not only benefitted from an extra 10hp, but also had an improved ZF 4-speed gearbox. SEs can be identified by a silver roof, regardless of body colour.

The Lotus Elite has garnered a reputation over the years for being fragile, and while the Type 14's strong race history largely disproves this, they are known for glass fibre cracking and failure around suspension pick-up points especially in earlier Maximar bodied cars, which generally are lighter, more brittle. Potential owners should be aware that repairs in the areas where steel tubing is embedded in the glass fibre are expensive and can lead to significant restoration costs; however the Type 14 Elite is of historic importance to collectors due to its beauty, race history, and its status as a benchmark that signaled a change at Lotus. This is the car that many consider to be the most elegant, attractive, and important Lotus in the marque's history.

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