I've been waiting (for a year!) for the final Jay Leno video on the demon-tweaked Lotus 26 R his shop has been building. Leno has alluded to the car being finished, but we still haven't seen it. Except in this short "bystander" video:
But in double-checking the website, I came across this video of his "only slightly modified" Elan, which I hadn't seen before:
Jay waxes poetic about how fast the Elan was and is. I wish I'd had a chance to drive one. I can attest to how fast they were back in the day. The Alfa GTZ I crewed for raced against one at Mid Ohio at an SCCA National in June, 1964. This C Production event turned out to be a three-horse race: the GTZ, a Porsche 904, and a Lotus Elan. The rest of the grid finished half a lap or more further back.
The GTZ was an all-out race car built to compete in the FIA's 1.6 liter GT class: tube frame, superleggera aluminum body, 5-speed box with racing ratios, factory-tuned engine making 175 horsepower. The 904 was a less "to the max" race car but with its 4-cam racing engine, it ruled the 2 liter GT class in Europe. In the States, in C Production, "acceptable modifications" were allowed to the Elan, but it was essentially a production car.
The race was won by the 904. Although the GTZ led, it just didn't have enough torque to get away from the 904, and finished second about 3 car lengths behind. The Elan retired.
But for 70% of the race, the Elan had no trouble staying in touch with the leaders, sometimes threatening second, although it was giving up 50+ horsepower. It gained yards and yards on the leaders though the Carousel onto the pit straight, where I was watching.