M100 Editions

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The M100 went through 2 major editions and a number of variants during production.

Basic Differences

Series 1: Elan M100 SE

  • Produced between 1989 and 1992
  • 15" Wheels
  • Around 4500 assembled
  • Turbocharged

Naturally-Aspirated variant

There was a a small number (129) of Series 1 cars that were NA (did not have a turbocharger). These were sold exclusively in the UK.

US variant

There was a seperate US variant of the Series 1. It was different in the following ways:

  • 16" Wheels
  • 'Stage 2' body with alterations to the rear spoiler and front-end shape

Series 2: Elan M100 S2

  • Produced between 1994 and 1995
  • Slightly reduced power compared to Series 1
  • 800 assembled

Series 2 Info

When Bugatti came across a warehouse full of Isuzu engines it decided to make a further limited production run of Elans. This model became known as the 'Series 2' and had a number of changes. Larger, more fashionable 7" X 16" wheels were fitted in place of the European 6.5" X 15"s, together with minor changes to dampers and suspension components to accommodate the heavier wheels. Lotus engineer John Miles gave CAR Magazine the impression he was 'somewhat pained by this concession to style.' Stiffer bushings were used in the rafts to give a firmer ride and the power steering was re-valved to give improved feel. The British motoring press particularly welcomed this. A catalytic converter was also fitted in a new Bosal exhaust system which slightly reduced the engine torque, and output power by 10 BHP. The rear suspension top link was also re-designed to reduce cost.

CAR Magazine on driving the S2 said "The Elan has never been about pure muscle; it's about balance, precision and sheer dynamic ability and the S2 has these qualities in abundance. Truth to tell, I can hardly detect the changes in the Elan's suspension, except for the fact the car's ride is now harsher at low speeds. So awesome was the original car's cornering ability that exploring the chassis' limit was almost impossible. That hasn't changed." Numerous other changes were made to the internal trim including the seats, window controls, centre console and the steering wheel. The soft-top also received some attention to its sealing rubbers in an effort to stem the leaks. S2 Elans are nearly always seen in metallic colours, which certainly look very eye catching when combined with their larger wheels. Unfortunately their performance although still swift suffers with the engine’s power loss and extra kerb weight when compared to the Series 1. 0-100 times for the S2 are some 4 seconds adrift, and all the in-gear incrementals are beaten by its predecessor. The S2 was however a great sales success and gave Lotus a much needed injection of cash.

Visual Differences

There are a number of basic changes to the car's external appearance which can quickly indicate whether the car is an SE or S2. The most obvious difference being at the rear where you should find either 'Elan SE' or 'Elan S2' printed.

However some car ads fail to disclose the version, and don't include an image of the rear of the car. So other quick visual differences are:

Steering Wheel

The design of the steering wheel changed between the SE and S2 models. The North American version of the SE wheel (not pictured) featured an airbag, which was not present on any of the the european models.

SE Steering Wheel Design
S2 Steering Wheel Design

Alloy Wheels

The 7-spoke SE Alloy wheel design is much fuller in appearance compared to the 5-spoke S2 wheels

SE Alloy Wheel Design
S2 Alloy Wheel Design

See Also