Rare Ragtops – A Pair of Lotus Elans Graced Kiawah Island, SC Cars and Coffee Today

Rare Ragtops - A Pair of Lotus Elans Graced Kiawah Island, SC Cars and Coffee Today GIF

A few fun facts about the very-rare Lotus Elan series three, of which less than 600 total were ever imported to the United States:

— it was designed by Peter Stevens, who later designed the McLaren F1

— the turbo-charged engine and super-wide layout of the chassis gave the Elan much more speed on tracks and in corners than its MX-5 contemporary

But prices nearly double the MX-5 meant the Elan was doomed to a niche fate in many core markets. As much as the badge appealed, the front-drive layout was hard to admire when Mazda had just proven beyond a doubt that rear-drive could be affordable — and reliable.

So to find these rare Lotuses parked nose-to-tail in the sun today was pretty special. Of the 559 cars sold in the US, all are the turbocharged engine and all carry the subtle but classy rear spoiler. These two are in about as good of shape as can be imagined, and it is good to see them out enjoying some fine weather for Cars and Coffee.

Lotus Elans Grace Kiawah Cars and Coffee

Red Lotus Elan

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White Lotus Elan

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Rare Ragtops - A Pair of Lotus Elans Graced Kiawah Island, SC Cars and Coffee Today GIF